Wondering what to do in Lisbon when it rains? Lisbon is usually a sunny city, but if you happen to stop by during a bad weather spell, there are plenty of fun indoor activities that will keep you dry.
First, a bit about Lisbon’s weather. It rarely pours for days at a time in Lisbon. Instead, rain comes in bursts and it’s normal to shift between overcast clouds, thunderstorms, and pristine blue skies in a matter of hours. I visited the city a few weekends ago, and we had a torrential downpour, followed by a gray drizzle, followed by blaring sun that dried it all up in less time than it took to eat lunch.
Wet days are more common during the winter months, so it’s a good idea to have a few of these Lisbon rainy-day activities in your back pocket if there’s inclement weather in the forecast.
Here are 17 things to do in Lisbon when it rains and two rainy-day itineraries to help you have a memorable trip, no matter the weather.
17 Lisbon Rainy Day Activities
Time Out Market
Time Out Market is a massive food hall in the center of the city and it’s the perfect place to grab a bite if the weather won’t cooperate. Inside, there are shops, bars, and a lively atmosphere. There are all types of cuisines to choose from (I usually end up splitting my time between Asian Lab and Manteigaria), and it’s worth seeing at least once on your visit to Lisbon.
Lisbon Oceanarium (Oceanário de Lisboa)
Rain or shine, the Oceanário de Lisboa is always a good time. Located in Parque das Nações on its own island in the Tagus River, this aquarium welcomes about a million guests per year, and it’s easy to see why. There’s a beautiful underwater forest, a friendly otter exhibit, and a giant deep ocean tank where you can see mantas, rays, sunfish, and sharks.
Pavilhao do Conhecimento (Science Museum)
The Pavilion of Knowledge science museum is also located in Parque das Nações right next to the Oceanário de Lisboa, making this a great two-stopper for your rainy day in Lisbon. Explore exhibitions about science and technology with many hands-on activities, perfect for families.
MAAT is the Lisbon Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology and admission gives you access to art galleries as well as the Central Tejo Museum of Electricity. It’s located in a beautiful building right on the riverfront, and you can swing by the cafe for coffee with a (covered) view after visiting the exhibitions.
You can get through the galleries and exhibitions at MAAT pretty quickly so it’s best to couple this visit with an exhibit at the neighboring Cordaria National Museum or National Coach Museum. If the weather decides to cooperate, make sure to check out the MAAT rooftop for a beautiful view of the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge.
Cordaria National Musuem
Across the street from MAAT, you can catch an exhibit at the Cordaria National Museum. The Cordaria National Museum is an event space that has interesting art exhibitions on rotation. A friend and I recently went here to see Steve McCurry’s Icons photography show on a rainy day and we loved it. Parking is easy and you’re close to other fun activities in Belém. The space is managed by the EGEAC so you can check them out for the latest shows.
National Coach Museum
The National Coach Museum is located in Belém and features an impressive collection of coaches, carriages, and cars that date from the 16th through the 19th century. The collection has been growing since the museum began in 1905, and visitor reviews describe this exhibition as unlike anything they’d seen before.
Jeronimo Monestary (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos)
The Jerónimos Monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is widely revered as one of the best places to see in Portugal. Dating back to the 1500s, the Jerónimos Monastery is absolutely massive with elaborate architecture and stunning grounds. You can enter the chapel for free but it’s worth buying a ticket to visit to see the whole thing. The Monastery is closed on Mondays.
LX Factory has a little bit of everything. You can buy books at Ler Devagar (that cool bookstore you may have seen on Instagram), taste a slice of Lisbon’s best chocolate cake at Landeau (it’s so good that’s the only thing they serve), listen to live music, buy flowers out of an adorable renovated bus, and even try your hand at axe throwing. LX Factory used to be an industrial warehouse compound but the whole area has been repurposed into an entertainment area. Lots of spaces are inside so you don’t have to worry if the weather turns sour.
Have you ever tried axe throwing? I’m terrible at it! But it’s a ridiculously fun time. Axe throwing is kind of like bowling, but more intense. You’ll get an actual axe and throw it down a lane at a wooden target with different games projected on it, like darts, tic tac toe, or zombie target practice.
Grab some friends next time the skies turn gray and head to USAxe in LX factory to see who among you would fare best in a zombie apocalypse. (Lesson learned, I’ll need to make myself valuable in some other way than axe-based defense.)
Museu Nacional do Azulejo (National Tile Museum)
Want to learn more about the beautiful painted tiles all around Portugal? These are called Azulejos and you can dive deep into their history at the colorful Azulejo Tile Museum. The museum is housed in a convent that dates back to the 1500s, so you can walk back in time while admiring the breathtaking tile work.
Reservatório da Mãe d’Água das Amoreiras
Located in the neighborhood of Amoreiras, you’ll find the small but fascinating Amoreiras Mother of Water Reservoir with a unique history. It marks the end of the Lisbon aqueduct system and inside is a small museum that often does exhibitions. You can see the reservoir and aqueduct, and sometimes there will be special shows like displays of Monet, Ancient Egypt, and Frida Kahlo. You can see upcoming shows here. The museum offers free admission on Sundays.
Museu Calouste Gulbenkian
Travel around the world and back in time at the Museum of Calouste Gulbenkian, one of the best museums for art in Lisbon. The museum itself is tucked away in a green space near Parque Eduardo VII and the São Sebastião metro station, but if the weather isn’t ideal for park-going, the inside is a great place to spend some time. There are over 6,000 works of art, including exhibitions about ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Armenia, as well as paintings, sculptures, and decorative works. Admission is free Sunday after 2:00 pm and they’re closed on Tuesdays.
Cinema Sao Jorge
Catch a show at the historic Sao Jorge Cinema on Avenida. The cinema has been open to the public since 1950, and today visitors can watch cultural and art films in an old-school building that’s won architectural awards. Whether they’re hosting indie documentaries or foreign film festivals, there’s always something interesting on at Cinema Sao Jorge.
Escape Room at Escape Hut Lisbon
In an escape room, you’ll work with a group to solve puzzles and unlock clues in an immersive environment. Escape Hut Lisbon has excellent reviews and they offer three different puzzles. For each experience, you’ll be locked in a room and have an hour to solve riddles and games that lead you to the “key” and your escape. Escape rooms are great activities no matter the weather forecast and this one is conveniently located near Praça do Comércio.
Pastel de Nata Baking Class
A Pastel de Nata is a classic Portuguese pastry, and what better way to beat the rainy day blues than taking a delicious baking class? I took a Pastel de Nata baking class on a rainy day in Porto and it was a highlight of our trip! This 2-hour Pastel de Nata cooking session has top reviews.
Traditional Portuguese Cooking Class
Likewise, a cooking class is a fantastic way to get acquainted with traditional Portuguese cuisine from the comfort of a warm, dry kitchen. I’ve done cooking classes in several destinations while traveling and it’s a great way to meet friends, learn what to order when you go for dinner later, and impress your loved ones with amazing new recipes when you get home. In this three-hour cooking class, you’ll make a three-course meal while enjoying Portuguese drinks.
El Corte Inglés Shopping Center
Sometimes the best way to spend a rainy day is to head to a shopping mall, and El Corte Inglés is one of the best in Lisbon. It’s an absolute monster of a store with seven levels, covered parking, and a bustling food court that’s so large I’ve never seen end to end.
Where to find indoor events and exhibitions in Lisbon
You can also check activity and booking sites for seasonal events that are on while you’re in town. Here are a few of my favorites:
Fever: Fever is a website with the latest events, shows, and activities in Lisbon. This is where my friend and I found out about the Steve McCurry photography exhibit and there are also light shows, immersive experiences, and other activities on a rotating basis.
Visit Lisboa: Like Fever, you can check out Visit Lisboa for events and exhibitions that are currently on in Lisbon. Learn about music and film festivals as well as other activities like Cirque du Soleil, Comic-Con, and other things happening for a limited time.
MeetUp: If you’re traveling solo or looking for a way to meet other travelers while visiting Lisbon, MeetUp had group activities like game nights, wine tastings, dinner gatherings, and educational sessions. I’ve attended a few board game events through MeetUp in Lisbon and there are often plenty of indoor activities to choose from if the weather looks bleak.
Two full-day itineraries for what to do in Lisbon when it rains
If you have a full day to spend in Lisbon with rain, here are two itineraries you can use to maximize your time and see some great sights around the city.
Lisbon has excellent public transportation so you can stay (mostly) dry while getting from place to place. Buying a ticket directly on the bus or tram costs €2 but if you’ll be in the city for longer you can also buy a refillable Zapping card at the kiosks in the metro station. The Zapping card costs €5 but reduces the cost of each ride to €1.35.
There are also several rideshare options in Lisbon which may work out to be a better price than public transit if you’re traveling with multiple people. I usually check both Uber and Bolt to compare prices.
Option 1: Art and History
Kick off the day by seeing an exhibition at MAAT, The Coach Museum, or the Cordaria National Museum. After, head to the Jerónimos Monastery which is 1km away (about a 15-minute walk if you get a break in the rain or a five-minute tram ride on line 15E toward Algés Jardim.)
Spend some time exploring the monastery, one of Portugal’s most popular tourist attractions, then cross the street to grab a Pastel de Nata at the world-famous Pastéis de Belém. You can also pop over to see the Belém Tower while you’re in the neighborhood.
Next, head to LX factory for an afternoon filled with shops, restaurants, and other fun activities under the iconic Ponte 25 de Avril Bridge. Take the tram 15E toward Pç. Figueira and get off at Estação De Santo Amaro. LX Factory is less than a five-minute walk from this stop.
In the evening, attend a traditional Portuguese cooking class or catch a film at the Cinema Sao Jorge.
Option 2: Science and Adventure
If you’re visiting with kids or want a break from historical attractions, an alternative rainy-day itinerary is to head toward Parque das Nações to visit the Lisbon Oceanario and the neighboring Pavilhao do Conhecimento Science Museum. If you need a bite, head to Honest Greens for a healthy lunch.
Later in the day, head to Escape Hut. Escape games are a great activity for the whole family, and Escape Hut is located in the city center so if you do get some good weather you can see the sights after. Wrap up the day with dinner at the Time Out food hall.
Even though Lisbon is best known as a sunny weather city, there are still plenty of fun things to do if you’re visiting on a rainy day. Don’t forget your umbrella, and have a great visit!
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