What To Do On A Rainy Day In Lisbon

Don’t despair.

rainy day in lisbon
A rainy day in Lisbon. Photo by FABIO VILHENA on Unsplash

While summer beats any other season to visit Lisbon, given its warm, dry climate, sun, and beaches. This historical destination won’t disappoint you if you happen to visit in a rainier season. Here is your comprehensive list of indoor, weather-proof activities in Lisbon for when you find yourself stuck in your hotel room, gazing desolately out the window.

Lisbon: Rainy-Day Itinerary

Museum of Aljube

Portugal’s modern history is not so well-known to many foreigners. While Hitler and Mussolini bathe in the spotlight, the Portuguese dictatorship under Antonio Salazar lasted the longest in European history (1926-74.) And in any dictatorship, there is also a frontier of resistance. Learn the stories of the bravest people of recent Portuguese history, the intricate espionage and torture methods used by the police to tamper their efforts. As you enter this exhibition that hides nothing, be prepared for an intensely emotional journey of pain, sorrow, and the hard-earned victory of freedom.

Many videos and visual media are scattered throughout this intimate exhibition. FACEBOOK @museodoaljube

Livraria Bertrand

In business since 1732, this is the world’s oldest operating bookstore, providing to the Portuguese public for nearly three hundred years. While the currently standing bookstore is not the original (which was destroyed in the earthquake of 1755,) it is still quite magnificent in its long tunnel of books concealed behind its small, unassuming front doors. If you can find a copy of your favorite book from its modest English section, grab it, and have it branded by their special stamp (available in Portuguese, English, or if you ask politely, both) certifying that you got it from the world’s oldest bookstore. If you have time to spare, do check out the cozy café at the far back and get started on that first chapter.

rainy day in lisbon
Livraria Bertrand in Lisbon. PHOTO: Lyon Nishizawa

LX Factory

Only the highest forms of creativity are presented in LX Factory — out of respect of its former function, having been a significant textile factory since 1846. Now remodeled into a commercial venue, LX Factory is an eclectic blend of street art and quirky style. There won’t be any of your usual H&Ms and Zaras, but you’ll find everything from distinctly Portuguese wine shops, to vegan shoes, to gender-breaking art exhibitions – as well as plenty of delicious food options. Don’t forget to check out the Ler Devagar bookstore, home to an impressive collection of books, including a relatively comprehensive English section, as well as music records and eccentric art installations. Once the sky clears out, walk out toward the water to enjoy the sunset by the iconic 25 de Abril Bridge.

rainy day in lisbon
LX Factory Lisbon; Caption: LX Factory, Lisbon. FACEBOOK @lxfactory

Museum of the Orient

In this building you’ll find an impressive collection of artworks and artifacts from all over the Asian continent, including: Turkey, Japan, China, and India. Be wowed by the intricacies of centuries-old art and the connections you’ll find throughout items produced in different locations, thanks to Portuguese exploration. If you’ve never been outside of the West, come here for a fresh dose of inspiration. If you have been in Asia, come to see just how far-reaching the Portuguese were in their colonial aspirations.

Museum of the Orient Lisbon
A postcard sent by Wenceslau de Moraes from Japan, addressed to her sister. (Sent in between 1908 and 1913)  FACEBOOK @museudooriente]

Fado Houses

Many restaurants in the Alfama district turn into musical venues once night falls. Specifically, the music is called Fado, which is a genre of Portuguese folk music that was born in the 1830s and stayed popular throughout the dictatorship. These are songs of sadness, longing, and empathy — given these hard emotions, the best places to listen to Fado often tend to be pricier, where the occasion is more formal and respectful to the singers. Visit here for the fascinating history and meaning behind Fado and here for a couple of our recommended Fado houses.

Lyon Nishizawa


Lyon is a lifelong traveler, who looks at each destination as her next classroom and playground. She is fascinated by the stories, music, and languages of the world. Her parents are Japanese, but she spent her childhood in multiple cultures and identifies as a third culture kid.

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