Does it snow in Lisbon, Portugal?

Christmas tree on Commerce square at twilight in Lisbon, Portugal

Does it snow in Lisbon? 

Short answer: not much!

Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is most well-known for its South Europe destination and, subsequently, warm climate!

In fact, it’s generally characterised by mild, fairly rainy winters and warm, dry summers. 

But snow is not an impossibility, and has happened in the past!

I found myself wondering this when I visited Lisbon in the winter (and had glorious sunshine).

Whether you’re a first-time traveler planning a winter getaway or are just curious, read on as we look at the likelihood of snow in Lisbon!

Does it snow in Lisbon?

Snow in Lisbon is definitely uncommon, but it’s not entirely beyond the realm of possibility. 

The city’s proximity to the Atlantic Ocean means generally mild winters. When I visited in January, I had highs of 17°C (63°F) – which is basically a summer’s day in the UK!

But it has happened in particularly chilly periods. 

Why doesn’t it snow much in Lisbon?

Cityscape image of street of Lisbon, Portugal with yellow tram.

It’s all thanks to geography! 

Lisbon’s Southern Europe location means that the average temperatures are higher. 

It has a Mediterranean climate, marked by hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. 

Thanks to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, the city benefits from the warming effects of the sea. 

Some places in Portugal do see regular snow in the winter, but they’re at much higher altitudes than Lisbon at sea level!

In fact, Lisbon’s surrounding mountains shield it from colder northern winds. 

Even during the coldest periods, the combination of oceanic influence and prevailing weather patterns usually results in rain rather than snow.

When has it snowed in Lisbon?

Snow in Lisbon is a rare phenomenon, but there have been occasions when the city has witnessed it! 

Some instances that stand out include:

January 2006: A surprising snowfall briefly covered parts of Lisbon. It only lasted for a few hours though!

1954: A significant snowfall event took place this year, a rare occurrence that turned the city white for a short time. The snowfall was substantial enough to be recorded in local newspapers and it’s still talked about by older residents of Lisbon!

What’s it like when it snows in Lisbon?

So, as you can see, snow is very, very rare in Lisbon. 

In fact, if you experience it, you’ll be witnessing a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon! 

This means that it’s hard to say what it’s like when it snows in Lisbon. 

I imagine it to be quite similar to us in England – although we get snow most years, we still run around like headless chickens – basically expect traffic delays, businesses to close and plenty of people out enjoying the rare event!

Recommendations for winter travel to Lisbon

Lisbon, Portugal skyline at Sao Jorge Castle at sunset.

Winter in Lisbon offers a change from the bustling summer months; snow or not, it’s my favourite time to visit!

I’ve been to Lisbon in January and July, and way preferred my January trip

Why? No crowds, mild weather, and lower prices!

July was just far too sweaty, expensive and busy! 

Here are some of my best tips for winter travel to Lisbon: 

  • Pack a rain jacket: It probably won’t snow, but it may well rain! That said, I had glorious sunshine when I was there in January. But it doesn’t hurt to be prepared!
  • Plan some indoor activities: On the same thread, if it rains (or if it’s cold – or indeed if it snows!), you might want to spend some time indoors. There are plenty of museums in the city
  • Walk everywhere: Wandering around the winding streets of Lisbon is one of my favourite activities. The winter, when it’s not roasting hot, is the ideal time to explore. 

Check out my full guide to your winter trip to Lisbon by clicking here. 

Snow in Lisbon: or not!

It doesn’t really snow in Lisbon, but let’s be real: that’s not why you planned a trip there, is it? Instead, you can expect gorgeous winter sunshine, interrupted occasionally by the odd shower!

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