When is the best time to go to Portugal?
Portugal has something for everyone: striking natural beauty, trendy cities, beautiful villages and incredible cuisine. From the beaches of the Algarve region to the quaint charm of Sintra, there is something to do no matter your interests. In the hot summer, you’ll encounter an abundance of people on the streets, and in the winter, surfers will enjoy epic waves. The transitional season of spring and fall can offer travelers the best of winter and summer activities.
Wondering which time is best for you? Here’s our recap of that topic.
The season: July to August.
If you’re interested in a beach vacation in the Algarve region, this is when ocean temperatures will be at their highest. On the other hand, keep in mind the large number of tourists (not just here, but in other coastal resort areas as well). During the high season, lodging prices can go up by 30%.
This is a good period if you like the heat, as July and August are the hottest months in Portugal. Scorching heat will not be uncommon.
Transition season: April to June, September to November
The blooming flowers and temperate weather are perfect for hiking and other outdoor activities. In June, there are several lively festivals. The number of tourists is quite moderate, as are the prices in the hotels. However, the water in the ocean is still cold.
This is a great time to enjoy cities like Lisbon and Porto before the tourists hit.
Low season: December to March
The days get shorter and rainy, and there are frosts at altitude. Prices go down, tourists are almost gone, but some attractions have limited hours and many beaches are closed for the winter. The ocean water is cold, but big waves will delight surfers.
A peaceful enough month to travel, but the weather can be chilly and somber. Three Kings Day marks the end of Christmas festivities (they fade out sometime by January 6).
Winter brings a decline in the number of tourists on the streets and in hotel prices. The weather is rainy, especially in the north. Temperatures in the coastal regions are cool but not excessive. In the interior, however, the month can be seriously cold. Many resorts are closed until spring.
Key events: Carnival, Fantasporto Film Festival, Essencia do Vinho Wine Fair.
March days are rainy and cool throughout Portugal, although the sun is already appearing in the south. Prices remain low and tourists are scarce (and scattered across the country).
Spring begins, bringing with it warmth and sunshine in both the north and south. In late April, there is a massive bloom of wildflowers in the southern part of the country.
Key events: International Chocolate Festival, Holy Week (Holy Week), Ovibeja Agricultural Fair.
Pleasant sunny weather and the as yet absent crowds of tourists make May an ideal time to travel. The beaches in the Algarve region are awakening from hibernation and welcome the rare travelers who pass by.
Key events: the Cantarinhas Fair, the Student Festival “Queima das Fitas”, the Festival of Crosses, the Feast of the Sea, the Feast of the Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima.
The beginning of summer is one of the busiest periods in the country, because the festival schedule is so busy. The weather is warm and sunny. Despite the fact that the number of tourists is starting to grow, there is still time before the real excitement.
Key events include the Serralves Museum Festival, Fado no Castelo Traditional Music Festival, Corpus Christi and Blood Festivals, MED Mediterranean Music Festival, Vaca das Cordas Traditional Bull Run, June Holidays, Saint Anthony Festival, Saint John’s Festival, National Agricultural Fair, Folk Saints Festivals.
The heat of summer arrives, which attracts tourists to resort regions like the Algarve or Madeira. Lisbon and Porto also see an increase in the number of holidaymakers, which leads to a maximum price increase in July and August.
Key events: Medieval market, Canais street art festival, Mares Vivas music festival.
The thermometer goes crazy in August and the best way to escape the heat is to visit the beaches. This is the busiest month in terms of tourism, so rooms should be booked in advance.
Key events: Feast of St. Walter, Sudoeste Music Festival, Seafood Festival, Feast of Our Lady of Agony, San Mateus Fair, Folkfaro International Folk Festival, International Folk Festival in Gulpigliares, Feast of Our Lady of Healing.
The peak of the tourist season lasts until mid-September, when warm weather still guarantees that the beaches are full. By the end of the month things change a bit: the number of tourists drops and prices start to go down.
Key events: Procession in honor of the Blessed Virgin of Nazareth, the three-day festival of the New Fairs.
The weather gets colder and the chance of rain increases (especially in the north). But it’s a great time for outdoor recreation in southern and central Portugal.
The north and west coast may be humid and cold, but the south and Alentejo are still sunny. Prices during this time are great and there are hardly any tourists.
December means cold and rain. A small number of travelers do venture to the south of the country, but keep in mind – almost all resorts will be closed for the winter.
Climate and weather in Portugal by month
Portugal is an attractive country in every way. It has everything that can interest the tourist: chic castles, famous beaches, rocky mountains, great traditional food and wine. Even the climate contributes to the constant increase in the number of tourists: mild throughout the year, it pleases with lots of sunny days. But the weather can be deceptive.
Portugal’s climatic zones
The different regions of Portugal have very different climatic zones. The reason for this is the differences in terrain, geography and proximity to the sea.
In general terms the country can be divided into three parts according to the climatic zones:
This region is dominated by a Mediterranean climate, so summers are dry and hot, and winters are mild. Not much snow falls in winter, but it rains a lot.
This region belongs to the subtropical climate zone. It is conditioned by the presence of mountains and the latitudinal location of the island. The whole year there is a comfortable temperature: +17 … +20 degrees, thanks to which the island is characterized by a long bathing season. The residents themselves call it the Island of eternal spring.
The average temperature is +16…+23 degrees. In general, the weather is unstable. The rainy season lasts from October to April and dry, clear weather from June to September. With the exception of Mount Punta de Picu, there is no snowfall in the area.
Weather in Portugal
Tourists try to visit Portugal in the summer, when the weather is moderately hot. Even during the day the thermometer does not exceed +30 degrees. The average temperature at night is +20 degrees. The water heats up to +23 degrees.
The rest of the time the temperature is still quite comfortable, but the snow, rain and fog often spoil the rest. The maximum rainfall is observed in winter and autumn.
Portugal is the sunniest European country. In the southern areas the sun shines up to 3000 hours per year.
Tourist seasons in Portugal
The beach season opens in April, when the sun is hot but safe. However, the water gets only up to +16 degrees, so only hardened tourists dare to swim. Only in May the water temperature becomes comfortable for swimming, reaching +20 degrees.
In general, Portugal – not the best choice for beach lovers: the water on the mainland is usually not warmer than +23 degrees, and along the coastline “walks” a cool breeze. If you really want to bask on the beach, the south of the country or Madeira should be your first choice.
November to April is the “low season” in Portugal. During this time prices for accommodation, food and tours decrease significantly. Given that some regions of the country are favorable to visit all year round, a holiday at this time can be not only pleasant, but also cheap.
Fans of mountain skiing will not be disappointed either: the ski resort of “Serra da Estrela” in the heart of the country awaits them. Superbly equipped, it will be interesting and beginners and professionals. Travel here is best from January to March.
What to take on a trip
Clothing and shoes should be packed, focusing on the season.
Lightweight things made of natural fabrics such as T-shirts, skirts and shorts are popular in summer. Given that the evenings can be cool, it is worth grabbing something warm.
In winter warm blouses and jeans are useful. And to visit the mountainous areas and warm jackets. Also in winter you may need an umbrella.
Separately about the shoes: it must be comfortable and without heels. As a rule, all the streets in cities have steep slopes and climbs and paved with tiles, so you can easily “lose” the heels. For summer they can be light sandals or flip-flops, and for winter in the mountains warm boots or boots.
Attention! Do not take a lot of things with you. Prices for clothing in Portugal are quite low, so you can buy everything you need on the spot.
Weather in Portugal by months
In December the temperature in the country +13…+20 degrees depending on the region. Often the rains are short.
Winter in Portugal resembles a prolonged warm autumn and is ideal for sightseeing tours.
This month is the coldest. However the grass is greener and the orange trees are in bloom. True, the fog is not uncommon.
January is good for skiing in the center of the country.
In February there is a slight warming.
During this time in Portugal there is a chocolate festival and a colorful carnival. And, best of all, hotel prices are at a minimum. In February you can have a great vacation in the resorts of the Algarve, or explore the beauty of the northern city of Porto.
The average daytime temperature is +14…+17 degrees and the night-time temperature is +8. The water temperature in the sea is +14…+19.
To visit Portugal in March should be at least to get to the festival “Torkato”. There you can take part in various competitions, dance, watch the most interesting performances and make a bet on the horse races.
Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, becomes one of the warmest capitals in Europe in April. In general in the country by this time the air warms up to +16 … +22 degrees.
This month is dry and warm, good for sightseeing tours.
It is getting warmer: the average thermometer reads +22 degrees. The water temperature is +19 degrees. In the north of the country at times it rains.
In different cities in Portugal at this time organized bullfighting. But the most spectacular of them takes place in Ribatejo.
The sun is getting hotter and hotter, but not too hot. The air warms up to +26 degrees. The sun shines for up to 10 hours a day in June.
Despite the fact that the number of tourists is beginning to increase, the large crowds have not yet.
In the middle of summer in Portugal in the heat of the beach season. And understandably: the water is warm, +23 degrees, the air is even warmer, +26 degrees. July is good for beach holidays, sports, excursions and travelling. Summer is the fishing season.
For those who like to relax properly, it is better to head for the resorts of the Lisbon Riviera. True, the main attractions are a bit far away, but the tourist infrastructure is excellent.
The last month of summer is the hottest: temperatures reach +30 degrees. The water near the islands warms up to +26 degrees and inland up to +24 degrees. The rains are extremely rare and short-lived.
The beginning of autumn is the ‘Indian summer season’ in Portugal. The weather is pleasantly warm during the day – 25 degrees. The water temperature is +22 degrees.
The waves are big and perfect for windsurfing.
And also at this time they gather grapes and organize a wine festival.
Both the water and the air cool to +21 degrees by this time. At times it rains.
The number of tourists decreases significantly. Prices for accommodation, food and entertainment begin to fall.
But in the city of Obidos held a famous festival of early music.
The air temperature drops to +17 degrees but it is a little warmer on the islands. The water temperature is not too conducive to swimming – only +20 degrees. It rains often.
This time is ideal for exploring the architectural and other masterpieces of the country.