Mar 07

5 things to do in Lisbon when it rains

by in ...with kids!, What to do

Rain, rain, go away / Come again some other day / All the lisboetas want to play…

The Portuguese tend to disappear off the streets when it rains, since—according to popular belief—getting a soaking will make you sick.

But if you don’t live here in Lisboa, you don’t always have the luxury of waiting for a sunny day. So what should you if it rains while you’re in Lisbon? Here are five of our favorite suggestions for rainy days:

Lisbon in the rain: damp, but still lovely

Lisbon in the rain: damp, but still lovely

1. Go out anyway– The weather in Lisbon is changeable, especially in the spring and fall. There are plenty of “rainy” days where you get hours of sunshine in between the moments of actual rain. If it’s not too cold, go out anyway, and explore Lisbon. Just take an umbrella. And if you get caught in a shower? Step into a café for tea or coffee and one of the many delicious Portuguese pastries… you know you wanted one… (well, at least, I always do!).

2. Visit the Oceanário – Lisbon’s Oceanário, located in the Parque das Nações (Oriente metro stop), is one of the largest aquariums in the world. The central “Deep Ocean” tank, where hundreds of species swim together in a space the size of several swimming pools, is fascinating for kids from 9 months to 99 years. My kids love the Oceanário, I love it, and my grandfather always wants to go when he comes to Lisbon. Don’t miss the Oceanário… even if it doesn’t rain!

3. Experience the Lisbon Story Center – The Lisbon Story Center, located in the Terreiro do Paço, is a multimedia experience where you can learn about the history of Lisbon from pre-Roman times to the present. There is a children’s version of the audio tour, which is very well done, but the youngest may find their interest waning towards the middle. Ages 7 and up is probably best.

4. Go to a museum – Lisbon has dozens of museums, everything from art to design to puppets, electricity, coaches or science. Whatever your personal interests, there’s almost certainly something that will interest you. Check out the list at for ideas. (Oh, wait! The museum at the Carmo church ruins is partially outdoors! Don’t pick that one when it’s raining…)

5. Watch a movie – If you prefer recent films, most of the main shopping malls (Vasco de Gama, Colombo, El Corte Inglés) have movie theatres. With kids, look for the letters “VO” (versão original / original version) to avoid a movie dubbed in Portuguese. On the other hand, the Portuguese Cinema Museum (Cinemateca Portuguesa, Museu do Cinema) shows classic movies from many countries, with tickets costing less than 3€. And last, but not least, Lisbon hosts several film festivals a year: IndieLisboa, Monstra, doclisboa, and MOTELx, among others. Check with the tourism office to see if there is a film festival going on during your stay.

Or, of course, if you don’t feel like braving the weather, stay in: read a book about Lisbon, play a game or just relax. You are on vacation, after all. We try to keep a stock of games and books at each of our holiday rentals, but feel free to ask us about additional options from our lending library.

What’s your favorite thing to do in Lisbon when it rains?

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