When is the best time to visit Portugal?
From beautiful natural scenery ranging from granite cliffs, rolling hills and beautiful beaches to ancient stone carvings, serene vineyards, magnificent ruins, spiritual cathedrals and rustic, wholesome food, Portugal beckons travelers with a wealth of options!
A buzzing destination, the best time to visit Portugal is during spring and early summer (April, May) and fall (September, October). Temperatures are pleasant and while there will be the occasional bout of rainfall, it is often not enough to throw your plans into disarray. The countryside is painted in the colors of springtime flowers from March to May, while September and October are perfect for vineyard visits and wine tasting. The summer months can get hot and crowded, while winters can get chilly and grey, especially in the north.
It is the coldest month of the year, with average high temperatures ranging from 48ºF – 59ºF. Many of the beach resorts are closed for winter, and city attractions operate for fewer hours. Many regions experience rain.
- Soak in the thermal pools of Furnas without the summer crowds
- Admire the Gothic style architecture of the Jerónimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Lisbon
Temperatures start to inch up with daytime highs in Lisbon touching 60ºF. Porto and the Douro Valley experience a fair amount of rain. In the Azores Islands, it’s the coldest time of the year.
- Brace yourself for a wildly good time at the Carnaval in Lisbon
Spring is in the air as temperatures rise steadily over the month. The average day time temperature in Lisbon is 64ºF. Northern parts of Portugal are still cold, and the waters of the Atlantic Ocean are yet to warm up.
- Set off on a day trip to Sintra from Lisbon and discover a fairytale town with royal palaces and lavish villas
- Head to one of Lisbon’s miradouros or viewpoints for unobstructed views of this stunning city
A beautiful countryside and temperatures in the mid-60s make April a great month to visit Portugal. Central and southern parts of the county see temperatures in the 70s by the end of the month. Just have an umbrella handy for that odd rain shower.
- Hike one of Algarve’s many coastal routes for some stunning views of the region’s sandstone cliffs and caves
- Explore the monuments of Evora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
With temperatures firmly in the 70s in most parts of the country and the peak tourist season yet to begin, May is one of the best times to visit Portugal. The resorts of Algarve start to open up after winter break.
- Explore Alfama’s cobblestone streets and hidden cafes, a quaint neighborhood in Lisbon
- The intricate baroque craftsmanship of Igreja de São Francisco, Porto’s most famous church, has to be seen to be believed
It’s the official start of summer. Temperatures across the country are in the 70s. This, combined with sunny days, festivals, and moderate tourist traffic makes June one of the best months to travel to Portugal.
- Hike, sail, and go on whale-watching expeditions at the Azores Islands
- Join the celebrations at the São João Festival in Porto, which includes some friendly head pounding with a plastic hammer
- Savor the flavors of grilled sardines at the Santo Antonio Festival in Lisbon.
July marks the beginning of the peak tourist season, and temperatures in the 80s sends locals and tourists to the beaches. Water temperatures are warm enough to swim in. Book ahead if you want to experience the sun-soaked beaches of Portugal.
- Head out to Galerias de Paris, Porto’s party street, for a night of food and fun
- Hop on an exciting Toboggan ride in Funchal
While Lisbon and Algarve are sweltering hot with temperatures in the 80s, it’s still pleasant in Porto and the Douro Valley with temperatures around 77ºF. At 75ºF, it’s the warmest month in the Azores Islands.
- Take a stroll down the Foz do Douro seafront promenade in Porto for unforgettable sunsets.
- Picture perfect beaches, adrenaline-pumping water activities, and a vibrant nightlife await you at Lagos.
Temperatures start to cool, but with plenty of sunshine-filled days, September is one of the best months to travel to Portugal. The seas are still warm, and you can explore cities without the crowds and heat of August.
- Lose yourself in a maze of streets and stairs at the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ribeira District in Porto
- Explore the untouched beaches and laid back charm of Alentejo
- Catch spellbinding sunsets at Cabo de São Vicente in Algarve
The northern regions see an increase in rainfall levels. Weather conditions in Algarve are still conducive to traveling with daytime highs in the range of 73ºF – 77ºF. Pack layers and rain gear if you’re traveling during this month.
- Go on a gastronomic tour in Porto
- Portugal’s wine country, Douro Valley, beckons with its breathtaking scenery and exquisite wine tastings
November brings colder temperatures and increased rainfall levels with it. The Azores Islands see up to 15 days of rainfall. Temperatures are in the low to mid-60s, and beach resorts close for the season.
- Be moved by a powerful Fado musical performance at Lisbon.
It is one of the coldest and wettest months of the year. Lisbon and Porto get into a festive spirit during the second half of the year with Christmas fairs popping up throughout the city.
- Huddle up at one of Lisbon’s many atmospheric wine bars
- Welcome the New Year with the biggest firework show in the world at Madeira Island
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Seasons in Portugal
Summer in Portugal runs from June to August with day time temperatures in the range of 75ºF – 84ºF . The beaches are the warmest during this time of the year, and the coastal towns are packed. This is peak tourist season in Portugal.
Fall season starts towards the end of September and runs through November. Pleasant weather conditions stay through most of September and October. Beach resorts stay open however the crowds are significantly less at this time. The northern parts of the country experience some rain during this time. Temperatures move to the mid-60s by the end of November.
Winter sets in December and brings in cold temperatures and rain, particularly in the North. In the coastal cities of Algarve, expect temperatures between 50 – 60 ºF from January to March.
As Spring rolls in by March, temperatures inch up from the upper 50s to the mid-60s. By the end of May, temperatures are in the 70s, along with dry weather and clear skies, providing perfect conditions for sightseeing.
Best Time for Sightseeing
If the cities are what you want to explore, then the period from March-June and September and October are the best months to visit Portugal. With schools closed for vacation, July and August are the most popular months to visit Portugal. If the perfect seaside vacation is what you are looking for, then head to Portugal’s many popular beach towns between July – September when the waters are at the warmest. While Madeira Island is a year-round destination, the Azores islands are perfect during spring and fall when temperatures are pleasant with fewer crowds. The Douro Valley is at its most beautiful during spring (April to June) and fall season (September to November).
What to Pack
The dress code in Portugal is smart casuals. Lightweight cottons and linens will keep you comfortable if you are visiting Portugal during its sweltering summers. Of course, if you are heading to any of the beach towns during summer, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat are a must. With plenty of attractions to visit, any trip to Portugal involves a lot of walking. So, plan on packing a pair of comfortable walking shoes or hiking sandals. Nighttime lows during spring and autumn can be chilly, so it’s wise to bring along a light jacket, sweater, scarf or cardigan. Also, pack an umbrella or rain jacket for those sudden downpours.
While those coming from colder climes might not find Portugal’s winter cold, weather conditions can get quite chilly due to rain. Pack a leather or denim jacket for those cold days though you might want to pack a winter jacket if you are visiting central or northern parts of the country.
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Alentejo is an expansive region where cork oaks, olive groves and vineyards grow, and several historic towns including the colorful Alentejo village, dot the picturesque landscape.
Cascais, voted European Youth Capital 2018, once a traditional Portuguese fishing town, is located 38 miles west of Lisbon.
Furnas is located on the eastern side of Sao Miguel Island in Azores, a 45-minute drive from the Ponta Delgada.
Furnas, São Miguel Island
Faial Island, jutting out of the magnificent Atlantic Ocean, is a part of the Azores archipelago located off the west coast of the Portuguese mainland.
Horta, Faial Island
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