How many times have you looked on the Internet to plan out your holiday itinerary only to find yourself overwhelmed by too many choices? We know it’s not easy, but don’t worry because we’re here to help! Here are 10 exciting things to do in Lisbon, Portugal in December that should make planning your trip a little bit easier!
1) Visit the Christmas markets
One of the most popular Christmas markets is the one at LX Factory. It has the perfect mix of traditional and modern Portuguese goods. The dimly lit space with a disco ball and chandeliers make it feel like a magical winter wonderland. There are also plenty of food stands offering everything from hot wine to authentic Portuguese pastries.
If you’re looking for something more low-key, then head over to Santa Luzia Market where you can find fresh produce and artisanal goods made by local artisans.
No matter what time of day you’re visiting Lisbon, there’s always something new happening so be sure not miss out on these 10 exciting things to do in Lisbon this December!
2) Go ice skating
Skating is a fun winter activity that can be done year-round. If you’re visiting Lisbon this winter, consider taking the opportunity to go ice skating.
The Vasco da Gama rink is open year-round and offers public skate sessions as well as private lessons for both adults and children. For those of you who want an exciting alternative experience on the ice, I recommend checking out the indoor skate park at Palhaços Skatepark or the outdoor one at Parque de Feiras e Exposições Santa Catarina.
3) See the holiday lights
Lisbon is known for its Christmas lights. From the historic city center to the Alfama and Mouraria districts, Lisbon’s streets are lit up with colorful displays that illuminate their ancient architecture.
This year, there are five amazing light displays you can visit: Cascais Christmas Fair from November 27th-December 23rd; Santa Claus Tree at Caldas da Rainha from November 22nd-December 16th; Lisboa Light Festival on December 1st and 2nd; Parque das Nações Light Festival on December 10th and 11th; Fábrica Santo António Light Festival on December 8th and 9th.
4) Attend a holiday concert
Lisbon is a city that buzzes with energy all year round. While it may be cold and dark for most of the winter season, there are plenty of ways to enjoy yourself and take in the festive atmosphere.
One way is by attending one of the many holiday concerts that are held during this time of year. Get your tickets early before they sell out and come listen to some live music while sipping on a hot drink. You can even sing along if you want!
5) Take a cooking class
1) Take a cooking class and learn how to make some traditional dishes. While you’re there, ask the chef what their favorite dish is and try it for yourself.
2) Explore the different neighborhoods by walking around and talking with the locals.
3) Get lost in a bookstore or library and read some of their fiction or non-fiction books. What are your interests? Do some research on new topics that may interest you.
4) Spend an afternoon visiting some of the tourist attractions including Castelo de São Jorge, Padrão dos Descobrimentos, Museu da Marinha and more.
5) Visit a Portuguese family over Christmas time for lunch or dinner to get the full experience of what Christmas is like for them.
6) Visit a winery
Portugal is known for its wines and at the Vinho Verde region you can find some of the best. Tour a winery and sample traditional Portuguese wine varieties such as Alvarinho or Loureiro.
The sweetest white wines are made from the grape variety Moscatel while the reds are typically made with Touriga Nacional and Alicante Bouschet grapes. You’ll have your choice of dry, medium or sweet wines so don’t miss out on this opportunity to try something new!
7) Go on a river cruise
A popular and fun thing to do in Lisbon is a river cruise. There are many different tours available, but the most popular one is the Batalha River Cruise.
It leaves from Praça dos Restauradores and takes you through the city center before passing by some of the most important sights on the river. You’ll see Belém Tower and Belem Palace (both UNESCO world heritage sites) as well as a variety of other popular tourist attractions. If you want an even better view of this famous Portuguese city, take a cable car up to Cristo Rei for panoramic views of Old Town.
8) Explore the city’s museums
-Lisbon is home to many museums and galleries that are worth exploring. The Museu Calouste Gulbenkian is a museum of art and archaeology with an impressive collection of artwork from around the world.
The Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian is a museum dedicated to European art from the Middle Ages through the 19th century. Visitors can admire European paintings by Rembrandt, Durer and Monet.
-The Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga (MNA) houses one of Europe’s most important collections of ancient art and has an impressive selection of works by artists such as Van Dyck, Titian, Rubens, Tintoretto and El Greco.
9) Shop for gifts at local boutiques
One of the things to do in Lisbon, Portugal in December is shop at local boutiques. There are so many stores with unique and local items that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. You can choose from a variety of clothing stores or jewelry shops. Plus, many of the boutique owners live on site so you can get personalized service and make some new friends too. If you’re looking for something special then this is where you’ll want to go. Visit open markets: In December there are several open markets around town where locals sell their crafts for everyone to see.
All the different vendors have an array of beautiful crafts made by hand including ceramics, handmade clothes, furniture, paintings, glassworks and more. Choose from something for your home or even yourself- one of these things to do in lisbon portugal in December will definitely put you into the holiday spirit! Wander through botanical gardens: If you need some fresh air then visit one of our five gardens such as Palmela’s Monastery Garden or Portuguese Park Botanical Garden where they also have interesting plants as well as trees.
10) Plan a day trip to Sintra
Sintra is a beautiful town located on the outskirts of Lisbon. The town’s main attraction is the Pena Palace, which was built by King Ferdinand II. Visitors will enjoy walking through the palace and exploring its many rooms.
It also has beautiful gardens with winding paths and exotic plants. Make sure you stop by Quinta da Regaleira for a stunning view of the city as well as some interesting architecture. Nearby attractions include Castle of the Moors and Monserrate Tower. Monserrate offers panoramic views of Sintra, Lisbon and the Atlantic Ocean.
If you have time to visit only one place in Sintra, we recommend paying a visit to the Pena National Palace. Built in 1838 by King Pedro IV for his mistress Dona Maria de Jesus de Agreda y Borbon.
A ride up their famous elevator-mirador offers incredible views from up above, but be prepared for queues and waiting times before entering into this magnificent site.
things to do in lisbon portugal in December