October in Lisbon is the month of yellow leaves, wool cardigans early in the morning and late in the evening, hot tea (or coffee) in the Autumn sun, and an occasional drizzle. Once in a while Summer will make an attempt to return and show off with slightly higher temperatures. In average, it’s a mild weather month (an average of 20 C/68 F degrees) that has you starting to wish for anything baked, like “bacalhau (salted codfish) à lagareiro” (or the not least delicious version made with octopus) intensely seasoned with virgin olive oil and garlic. The days begin to become smaller and the sun sets in a fast descending ball of orange light.
As the temperatures begin to drop, the lower tourist season begins to set in — the streets are less crowded, the pace for sightseeing slows down. Most locals have returned to work from their vacation time abroad, so the traffic returns to what it is on the rush hours between 7 am and 9 am, and between 5 pm and 8 pm. Expect these to be the times when the public transports will also be packed.
This combination of weather and more deserted tourist hot spots makes it the ideal time to visit Belém (the National Coach Museum, the Jerónimos Monastery, the Modern Art Collection at the Berardo Museum, the Belém Tower) and take the time for a stroll by the Tagus, taking in the view of the river, the calm of the marinas, the setting sun. You can venture into the 8 Km walk from the Belém Tower to Terreiro do Paço, or simply make your detour into one of the many restaurants and cafes on the city’s waterfront, at the docks in Alcântara.
If you’re looking to take a break from touring and want more out of Lisbon than just sightseeing, by mid month on the 16th, for ten days, new documentary films are shown at Doc Lisboa as they compete for the award of Best Documentary, both National and International, for Feature Films and Short Films. Theaters will be premiering plays from writers Edmond De Rostand (at Maria Matos), Tim Etchells (at Centro Cultural de Belém), David Mamet (at Teatro da Trindade) and Pier Paolo Pasolini (at National Theatre Maria II).