First, yes, it does rain in Lisbon. Sorry, I know it’s a similar realization to when you found out Santa doesn’t exist — but fear not, there’s still plenty to do.
Go to a Museum
Museums, obviously. When outside isn’t an option, take a stroll around some of the most interesting museums in the country. Unlike other cities, Lisbon’s museums generally have an entry fee, but it is minimal for what you get.
Here are some to get you started, but there are dozens more to choose from.
Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga
Even if you speak no Portuguese, you may be able to guess what “arte antiga” means. And the museum does what it says on the tin — a selection of the more classical pieces of the art world. This is the place to see Lisbon’s pride and joy: a triptych by Hieronymus Bosch. Well worth a visit, and the vast rooms and intricate painting will keep you plenty busy as the rainy day passes by.
Go straight from the masters to the moderns by heading to MAAT. While technically not the modern art museum of Lisbon (that would be MNAC), it holds some of the newer, larger exhibitions passing through the capital. It’s in Belém, so it can be paired with other museums such as EDP Central (actually part of it), Museu Coleção Berardo, and the Maritime Museum.
Museu dos Azulejos
Can’t see Lisbon’s beautiful tiles because of the pissing rain? See them inside instead along with the history of why they’re here and examples of some of the best tile artists currently working in the country.
If you want to know how to do it all on the cheap, check out Atlas’ guide.
Get Blind Drunk
Ok, so maybe it’s not the best idea to get completely sloshed, but when the rain is pouring, the wine should be too. Stay indoors and try some of the best wine in the world, whether by the glass or the garrafa.
If you want to stay in that swanky Airbnb you booked but still taste the delights of cheap yet quality wine, then read our guide to the best Portuguese wine under 10€. For harder stuff, see our guide to buying quality booze in Lisbon.
However, if you fancy watching the rain trickle down the window of a bar while pretending you’re in a soul-felt indie movie, there are plenty of places to do that too. Here are some to get you started:
Escape into the warm embrace of an Art Nouveau speakeasy. Watch the rain pour in their central courtyard from the comfort of deep-seated chairs and ornate tables. With well-made cocktails and an uber-comfortable atmosphere, you can pass the hours with ease.
With almost all the walls being made of glass, this is the perfect place to gaze wistfully in Cais. They also have a rather good selection of beer to taste as you watch the rain and pedestrians fall.
From all the windows to windowless: this place has been kicking for decades and is the definition of cozy. Wood-paneled walls, small tables, and seemingly smaller chairs will let you forget your weather worries as you admire their selection of whisky.
Sometimes you want to know a little more about the wine you’re guzzling, so go take a tour! We recently took a tasting workshop with One Hour Wines, and while these guys try to get rooftop tastings as often as possible, when the heavens open, they’ll be inside, so you can wet your whistle and not your wig.
Stuff Yourself Silly
Rain means comfort food. Drippy cheese and potatoes, possibly a dumpling or two. Things that you’d never eat on a date because of the gluttonous shame and the overly-high chance of needing a bib.
Fondue, raclette cheese over potatoes, and great wine. Need we say any more? When the weather is rubbish, a pot of melted cheese is sure to chase away the rainy-day blues.
This themed restaurant was voted “Best Place to Feel Like You’re in the Southern USA” on Atlas’ Best of 2019 list, and one of the reasons was their mac ‘n’ cheese. Comfort in a bowl. If you’re cheesed out, they also have a BBQ sauce made with marshmallows to keep the drizzle at bay.
Café da Garagem
This place may be a better choice for dessert rather than a full meal, but it ticks all those bad-weather boxes: a massive glass wall, luxurious chocolate cake, and cozy decor. Curl up, read a book, drink some wine, and listen to the wind whip by.
Suck it up, it ain’t that bad
One serious upside to it being rainy is that it scares lots of people away. Take this opportunity to see Lisbon’s famous sites as nobody else does — dripping with water. But seriously, umbrellas are cheap, as are kagools, and you can still troop around the streets with about 95% less people. Just beware the cobblestones.
Don’t want to buy an umbrella or a crappy single-use raincoat? There are plenty of second-hand stores with reasonably priced waterproofs, with Humana in Baixa being particularly handy.