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Things to do in Lisbon in the Summer

Lisbon is a sun-drenched city where summer vibrates with life despite the heat. I have been to Lisbon several times now including at the end of May/beginning of June when the temperatures soared into the 100s and even with the heat index being what it is there are still plenty of things to do in Lisbon in the summer!

This guide is your passport to experiencing the best of Lisbon and its surroundings during the summer months. Whether you're exploring ancient monasteries, paddleboarding in crystal-clear waters, lounging on golden beaches, diving into the rich world of museums, or savoring local culinary delights, Lisbon offers a treasure trove of things to do that promise refreshment and cultural enrichment.

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Nestled among rolling hills and the scenic coastline, Portugal's capital is not only a hub of historic charm and lively streets but also a gateway to stunning natural landscapes and pristine beaches. I am sharing things to do in Lisbon and the surrounding area.

These destinations are all accessible by train or a short car ride, and offer the perfect blend of leisure and exploration, ensuring your Lisbon summer is filled with unforgettable moments and cool escapes from the heat.

Let’s dive into a curated list of must-do activities that promise to keep you cool while soaking in Lisbon's rich culture and breathtaking landscapes.

Alfama Lisbon Cityscape

Discover the Grandeur of Jerónimos Monastery

Begin your adventure in the historic Belém district, where the Jerónimos Monastery stands as a testament to Portugal’s Age of Discoveries. This architectural masterpiece, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a marvel of Manueline decoration, a unique Portuguese style that blends Gothic, Renaissance, and Moorish influences.

As you wander through its cloisters, you'll be enveloped in a serene coolness, a welcome respite from the summer heat. The monastery is not just a feast for the eyes; it’s a journey through Portugal's maritime glory, hosting the tombs of Vasco da Gama and Luís de Camões.

Tickets & Tours: Get Your Guide | Viator

Monastère Jéronimo Lisbon
Interior shade of the Monastère Jéronimo

Explore Lisbon's Rich Museum Scene

The array of museums in Lisbon offers something for every interest, from ancient art and history to modern and contemporary movements. As you traverse the city from one museum to another, you'll find that each visit enriches your understanding of Portugal's complex tapestry of cultures and eras, all while keeping you comfortably cool.

Museu Nacional do Azulejo

One cannot talk about Portuguese culture without mentioning its iconic azulejos (ceramic tiles), and the Museu Nacional do Azulejo is dedicated to this art form. Housed in the former Convent of Madre de Deus, the museum displays an exquisite collection of tiles dating from the 15th century to the present day.

The evolution of azulejo art is beautifully laid out, showcasing the intricate craftsmanship and creativity that define Portuguese tilework. The cool, quiet halls of the museum offer a respite from the summer sun, allowing visitors to leisurely appreciate the stunning displays.

I did the Tiles and Tales Tile Workshop and Private Tour which includes a ticket to the National Tile Museum and had a BLAST painting my own tile!

Pena Palace in tile

Gulbenkian Museum:

A cultural treasure trove, the Gulbenkian Museum houses an eclectic collection ranging from ancient Egyptian artifacts to modern paintings. The museum's serene gardens provide a cool, shady retreat to ponder over the artworks and enjoy a peaceful moment away from the city's hustle and bustle.

MAAT – Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology

For those with a penchant for modern and contemporary art, architecture, and technology, the MAAT is a must-visit. Situated along the banks of the Tagus River, its striking building is a piece of art in itself, featuring a futuristic design that seamlessly blends into the riverscape.

Inside, the museum hosts a dynamic array of exhibitions that encourage reflection on current societal and technological issues. The cool, spacious interiors of MAAT provide a stimulating environment to explore new perspectives and innovations.

Outside, Mr. Misadventures and I did plenty of sunrise AND sunset shoots here. The building is a great photo subject!

MAAT Museum in Lisbon
MAAT Museum

Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga

The National Museum of Ancient Art, or Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, is Portugal's answer to those with a taste for the classical. It houses the most significant public collection of Portuguese art from the Middle Ages to the 19th century, including paintings, sculptures, metalworks, and textiles.

Notable works include The Panels of Saint Vincent by Nuno Gonçalves and The Temptations of St. Anthony by Hieronymus Bosch. The museum's rooms are a cool haven, where the richness of Portugal’s artistic heritage can be enjoyed in contemplative quietude.

Museu Coleção Berardo

Located in the cultural center of Belém, the Museu Coleção Berardo is a contemporary art museum that features an impressive collection of modern and postmodern art. From Picasso and Warhol to Portuguese contemporary artists, the museum offers a comprehensive overview of the major art movements of the 20th and 21st centuries.

The air-conditioned galleries provide a refreshing environment to explore the works of some of the most influential artists of our time.

Oceanário de Lisboa:

Dive into the underwater world at one of the largest aquariums in Europe. The Oceanário de Lisboa offers a mesmerizing experience with its vast tanks teeming with colorful marine life, including sharks, rays, and playful penguins. It's an educational and refreshing escape that captivates both young and old.

I love a good museum and this one is amazing!

Tickets & Tours: Get Your Guide | Viator

Oceanarium of Lisbon
Oceanário de Lisboa

Discovering Lisbon's Coastal Gems: Beaches to Visit

Lisbon's summer allure is its proximity to some of Portugal's most beautiful beaches. The Lisbon coastline and its surroundings boast a variety of sandy retreats, each with its unique character. Here's a guide to additional beaches that promise sun, surf, and sand, providing the perfect seaside escape during the warm summer months.

Galapinhos Beach in Arrabida
Galapinhos Beach in Arrabida

Praia de Galápos

Praia de Galápos, nestled within the Serra da Arrábida, is a hidden gem that boasts some of the clearest and calmest waters in Portugal. Its sheltered location makes it an ideal spot for swimming and snorkeling, away from the bustling crowds.

The beach’s fine white sands and surrounding lush greenery create a picturesque setting for a day of relaxation and sunbathing. Remember to bring your sunscreen and a good book!

Praia do Tamariz

Located in Estoril, just a short train ride from Lisbon, Praia do Tamariz is not only convenient but also a favorite among both locals and visitors. Its picturesque setting, complete with a castle overlooking the beach, makes it a charming spot for a day under the sun.

The beach is well-equipped with amenities, including sunbeds, umbrellas, and a variety of bars and restaurants, making it ideal for a comfortable and relaxing day by the sea.

Praia da Adraga

For those willing to venture a bit further from Lisbon, Praia da Adraga, located in the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, is a must-visit. Its rugged cliffs and natural beauty make it one of the most scenic beaches in the Lisbon area. The beach is a bit more secluded, offering a peaceful atmosphere for those looking to escape the more crowded spots.

The powerful waves here also attract surfers and bodyboarders, adding a lively vibe to its otherwise tranquil setting.

Carcavelos beach in Lisbon
Carcavelos Beach

Praia de Carcavelos

As one of the largest and most popular beaches close to Lisbon, Praia de Carcavelos offers plenty of space for everyone, from sunbathers to sports enthusiasts. The beach is well-known for its excellent conditions for surfing, making it a popular choice for both beginners and experienced surfers.

With a wide promenade, numerous cafes and restaurants, and vibrant beach bars, Carcavelos provides a lively beach day experience with all the conveniences at hand.

Praia das Maçãs

Praia das Maçãs is a delightful beach located at the end of the historic Tram Line 28, which runs from Sintra. The journey to the beach is an experience in itself, offering picturesque views of the Sintra countryside. Once there, you'll find a wide sandy beach, a saltwater swimming pool, and a selection of seafood restaurants along the promenade.

The beach is well-suited for families, with gentle waves and plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained.

Praia do Guincho

Famed for its wild beauty and powerful waves, Praia do Guincho is a haven for windsurfers, kitesurfers, and surfers. Located near Cascais, this beach is surrounded by the dramatic landscape of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, offering breathtaking views and a sense of adventure.

The wind conditions here can be strong, making it less ideal for swimming but perfect for adrenaline-packed water sports.

Paddleboarding Adventures Near Lisbon

Speaking of water sports each of these locations not only adds variety to your paddleboarding adventures but also allows you to explore the diverse landscapes and seascapes that make the Lisbon area so captivating.

So, grab your board and set off to discover these magnificent spots. Each paddle stroke promises new sights, sounds, and the invigorating feel of the sea breeze, making your summer in Lisbon an unforgettable adventure on the water.

My experience paddleboarding in Portugal got me hooked on this activity and I have picked up my own paddlingboarding equipment! A vacation adventure can turn into a new passion!

SUP Stand up Surf girl with paddle

Cascais and Guincho Beach

A short train ride from Lisbon, the picturesque town of Cascais is not only known for its charming streets and luxurious villas but also for its fantastic watersports conditions. Guincho Beach, situated on the outskirts of Cascais, is renowned for its strong winds and waves, making it an exhilarating spot for paddleboarding, especially if you're looking to challenge yourself a bit more.

The dramatic coastline and the power of the Atlantic Ocean provide a thrilling backdrop for an unforgettable paddleboarding experience.

Tagus River

For a different perspective of Lisbon, why not explore its heart via the Tagus River? Paddleboarding on the Tagus offers a unique vantage point of the city’s monuments, bridges, and historical landmarks.

The waters here are generally calmer, making it suitable for beginners or those looking for a more relaxed experience. An early morning or late afternoon paddle provides not only cooler temperatures but also magical views as the sun sets or rises over the cityscape.

female surfer in bikini is riding a paddleboard


Another gem within reach of Lisbon is Sesimbra, a coastal town known for its calm, clear waters and beautiful natural surroundings. The area around Sesimbra is protected, resulting in rich marine life and excellent water clarity, ideal for paddleboarding.

Whether you're gliding over the water or taking breaks to snorkel, Sesimbra offers a tranquil escape where the sea's beauty can be appreciated up close. It’s also a great spot for paddleboard beginners, with several schools offering lessons and guided tours.

Costa da Caparica

Stretching south of Lisbon, the Costa da Caparica boasts miles of sandy beaches that are a haven for surfers and paddleboarders alike. The expansive coastline offers plenty of space for everyone, with various spots catering to different skill levels. The waters here can range from calm to challenging, providing a good mix for paddleboarding enthusiasts.

After a day on the water, the beachfront cafes and bars offer the perfect setting to relax and enjoy the sunset over the Atlantic.

Unwind in Lisbon's Green Spaces

Lisbon, with its vibrant culture and historic charm, also boasts beautiful parks and gardens. These green spaces offer a peaceful escape from the bustling city streets, providing both locals and visitors with a chance to unwind, enjoy nature, and soak up the sunny ambiance of Portugal's capital.

Jardim Botânico da Ajuda
Jardim Botânico da Ajuda

Jardim Botânico da Ajuda

The Jardim Botânico da Ajuda is not just a park but the oldest botanical garden in Portugal, offering a fascinating journey through centuries-old trees, rare plant species, and historical statues. Established in the 18th century as part of Ajuda National Palace, the garden was designed to educate princes in the natural sciences.

Today, it serves as a living museum where visitors can marvel at its collection of over 5,000 plant species, arranged in terraces adorned with baroque fountains and statues. It's a tranquil sanctuary where history and botany intertwine.

Quinta das Conchas e dos Lilases

Quinta das Conchas e dos Lilases combines extensive green areas with a rich historical background. This park, one of the largest in Lisbon, encompasses over 24 hectares of lush landscapes, including a large pond, diverse flora, and leisure facilities.

It's a popular spot for family outings, offering ample space for picnics, sports, and relaxation. The park's history dates back to the 16th century, and it features a mix of natural and designed elements, creating a harmonious environment for visitors to enjoy.

Monsanto Forest Park

Seeking a respite from the urban buzz? Monsanto Forest Park, often referred to as Lisbon's “lungs,” offers a vast expanse of greenery where you can hike, bike, or simply enjoy a picnic with stunning views over the city.

Estufa Fria
Estufa Fria

Estufa Fria

Discover the tranquil beauty of Estufa Fria, a lush botanical garden nestled in Eduardo VII Park. It's a serene oasis where you can wander among exotic plants, waterfalls, and streams, providing a cool retreat from the summer heat.

Celebrating the Saint Anthony Festival in Lisbon

If you are visiting Lisbon in June you do not want to miss the vibrant celebrations of the Saint Anthony Festival, a tribute to the city's patron saint, Saint Anthony of Padua. Known locally as the Festas de Santo António, this festival transforms the little neighborhoods of the city. It's a time when the warm summer air is filled with the sounds of laughter, music, and the collective cheer of Lisboetas and visitors alike.

Street of Lisbon decorated with sardines

The Heart of the Celebration

The festivities officially kick off on the night of June 12th, leading into Saint Anthony's Day on June 13th. However, the entire month is peppered with events and activities celebrating Portuguese culture and heritage. The historical neighborhoods of Alfama, Mouraria, and Bairro Alto become the epicenters of the celebration, adorned with streamers, balloons, and colorful lights, creating a festive atmosphere that's infectious.

My family is Portuguese and I loved going to Saint Anthony's festas in California!

A Gastronomic Delight

One of the highlights of the Saint Anthony Festival is the gastronomy. The festival is synonymous with the tradition of grilling sardines (sardinhas assadas), served on a slice of bread with a side of salad and enjoyed in the communal spirit of the festas.

Alongside this, you'll find stalls selling caldo verde (kale soup), bifanas (pork sandwiches), and a variety of sweet treats like the beloved pastéis de nata (custard tarts). The smell of grilling sardines becomes the signature scent of Lisbon in June, drawing food lovers from all corners to partake in this culinary tradition.

Grilled sardines in a herbal lemon marinade

Sweetening Your Lisbon Summer

It's HOT in Lisbon in the summer and one of my favorite ways to cool off is ice cream. The people of Lisbon actually lean more towards gelatos than ice creams, but there are plenty of spots where you can find both.

Man holding an ice cream in the street

Gelato Davvero

Praised for its authentic Italian gelato, Gelato Davvero stands out with its rich flavors and creamy textures. They have several locations across the city, including the scenic riverside area. This gelateria offers a wide range of flavors from classic chocolate and vanilla to more unique options like fig, ricotta, and even port wine. The quality of ingredients and the passion behind each scoop make Davvero a must-visit for any gelato aficionado.


A household name in Lisbon and beyond, Santini has been serving its legendary ice cream since 1949. The brand's longevity speaks to the quality and taste of its offerings. With a variety of flavors that mix traditional recipes with new, inventive ones, Santini's ice cream is a blend of history and innovation. Their cherry, passion fruit, and raspberry flavors are particularly refreshing during the hot summer months, offering a burst of natural taste with every lick.


Nannarella is another gem in Lisbon's ice cream scene, known for its authentic Italian gelato made fresh daily. Located near São Bento, this quaint spot draws crowds willing to queue for its sumptuous flavors. From classic pistachio and hazelnut to seasonal specials like mango and strawberry, Nannarella's gelato is a creamy, dreamy escape from the summer heat. The commitment to quality and authenticity makes it a standout in the city's culinary landscape.

For those seeking innovative and unique ice cream flavors, Mú is the place to be. This artisanal ice cream parlor experiments with unexpected combinations, such as olive oil and basil or chocolate and chili, alongside more traditional favorites. Mú's commitment to natural ingredients and inventive pairings makes each visit a delightful surprise. Their cozy shops provide a cool refuge, where the friendly staff are happy to let you sample the day's offerings.


Amorino brings a touch of artistic flair to the ice cream experience, with beautifully crafted gelato roses that are as stunning to look at as they are to eat. This international chain has a strong presence in Lisbon, offering a wide range of flavors made from organic ingredients. The ability to combine multiple flavors in one cone means you can create your own personalized treat. Don't miss their sorbets, made with real fruit, for a refreshing and dairy-free option.

italian gelato in lisbon

Iced Coffee in Lisbon: A Refreshing Summer Indulgence

As the mercury rises, the city's coffee culture adapts, offering delightful twists on traditional brews to beat the summer heat. Mostly. If you want a “café com gelo” in a very traditional coffee shop you will get an espresso with a glass of ice. You mix the two, and you've got your iced coffee.

There is also the mazagran, a cold, sweetened coffee drink that originated in Algeria. It's basically a lemonade with espresso! The Portuguese versions use espresso and lemon, and sometimes mint and rum.

Making espresso tonic

To get a “real” iced coffee drink that you would normally see in the United States, you will need to go to more modern coffee shops like Jeronymo Café or Cophenhagen Labs. From classic iced espressos to more inventive concoctions like cold brews infused with local spices or citrus zest, these coffee shops serve up invigorating options that are perfect for cooling down.

Glass with ice latte and black straw

Lisbon in the summer is a vibrant tapestry of cultural richness, breathtaking landscapes, and gastronomic delights. Whether you’re exploring the cool interiors of historic monuments or museums, embracing the water on a paddleboard, relaxing at the beach, or savoring local flavors, the city offers countless ways to enjoy its charm while staying chilled!

Read more about how to order coffee in Lisbon.

Fountain on Rossio Square in Lisbon

So, pack your bags, grab your sunglasses, and prepare for an unforgettable summer adventure in Lisbon.

How about you? Have you been to Lisbon in the summer? Do you have additional things to do or tips for beating the summer hear? Do tell!

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Alfama Lisbon Cityscape

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  1. Lisbon sounds amazing in the summer. What a lovely place to visit during the summer months. These all would be great things to add to an itinerary.

  2. Lisbon in the summertime is truly a dream destination! With its rich culture, breathtaking landscapes, and delicious food, there’s so much to explore. Iconic museums like the Museu Nacional do Azulejo and the Gulbenkian Museum should be on your itinerary.

  3. Exploring the Jerónimos Monastery sounds like a fascinating way to delve into Portugal’s history while staying cool amidst the summer heat.

  4. Those grilled sardines remind me of home. Yum! We’ve never been to Lisbon. I’d love to go someday.

  5. It’s my dream to visit Portugal, and your post has only fueled that desire. The way you describe the blend of leisure and exploration available in Lisbon and its surroundings makes it sound like the perfect summer destination!

  6. I’m impressed with all there is to do in Lisbon, from exploring historic neighborhoods to dining on delicious Portuguese cuisine. The city’s vibrant atmosphere, diverse attractions, and friendly locals make it a must-visit destination for any traveler!

  7. Thank you for sharing this informative guide to places to visit in Paris. I always wanted to visit Paris. I plan to visit it real soon.

  8. had been to Lisbon for a short visit long ago but during the winter.. we know there is lots to see there still and your post proves it.. so will definitely plan a trip