When to visit Portugal
Portugal truly offers something for everyone, with beautiful villages and cities bursting with magnificent architecture, rich traditions and tasty cuisine along with stunning natural beauty from the coast with its idyllic beaches for soaking up the hot summer sun or catching an epic wave in the winter.
The shoulder seasons of spring and fall can bring the best of both worlds, either of which bring pleasant, mild weather for hiking. To determine the best time to visit Portugal, you’ll want to know what you want most out of your trip. Is your priority sightseeing, checking out the hilltop towns, magnificent palaces and historic sites? If it’s outdoor adventure you’re after, you may want to time your trip around the availability of your favorite activity.
Many are choosing wine-focused trips with wine tours along the Douro a highlight. Fall is the harvest season, the culmination of a year of effort with the vineyards buzzing with workers and autumn foliage framing the vines.Read More
April and May
With temperatures beginning to rise and flowers starting to bloom, spring is a lovely time to visit Portugal. April typically brings plenty of sunshine here, yet it won’t be too hot. Temperatures tend to be in the 60s Fahrenheit (17˚C -19˚C) no matter where you are in the country, and as the season progresses, the lower 70s (21˚C -22˚C) is the norm. While the sea is likely to be too chilly other than for a quick refreshing dip, it is a great time to enjoy the beaches before the summer crowds arrive. River rafting is in full swing too, taking advantage of winter rains. Sightseeing is especially pleasant now thanks to the mild weather and fewer tourists, which means you won’t have to jostle for space or spend time in long lines. As it’s a shoulder season, you might find discounts on accommodation too.
Good to Know: Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is celebrated in a big way in Braga while the Algarve hosts one of the biggest Easter Festivals.
June – August
Summer is hot and busy, especially on the beaches with many sunseekers from northern Europe heading to Portugal’s coast, with Algarve a favorite. It’s a perfect time to enjoy the golden sands and swimming in the sea with the water an idyllic 73°F (22.7 °C).. Temperatures throughout the country are typically around the mid-80s (30°C) which can make for uncomfortable sightseeing especially when combined with the larger number of visitors. Heading to Sintra with its magnificent Pena Palace and Pena Park can be more enjoyable as temperatures generally hover around a more pleasant 73°F (23°C). Porto will also be cooler, closer to the mid-70s (24°C) while Braga and Coimbra are to good spots to escape the crowds.
Good to Know: On the night of June 23 and into the 24th, Festa de Sao Joao is celebrated in a big way in Porto, with concerts, dancing, fireworks, and an unusual tradition.
One of the best times of the year to visit Portugal, early autumn can mean the best of both worlds. The sea will still be warm from summer’s sun, yet the crowds will have disappeared from the beaches. The heat is no longer intense, and both airfares and hotel rates begin to dip too. The milder temperatures – upper 60s/low 70s (low 20s°C) and fewer tourists make it ideal for sightseeing as well as hiking trails in Paneda-Geres National Park or biking routes along the Algarve Coast. Plus, events that surrounded the grape harvest are getting underway. Porto and the north are well-known for vineyards and wineries and in the Douro region visitors can even take part in the harvest and grape pressing while enjoying the brilliant colors of fall.
Good to Know: Late October or early November sees the skies fill with over 30 hot-air balloons at the Coruche International Ballooning Festival.
Portugal sees the most rain in the winter, from November through March, but the country will still get more sun and experience warmer temperatures than most countries in Europe. In fact, the Algarve coast tends to get quite a bit of sunshine and mild temperatures that attract travelers looking to escape the cold. November is still rather balmy with temperatures in the low to mid 60s (16 to 19°C) and even in the middle of January most places will be in the upper 50s (14-15°C). That makes this season an appealing time to visit especially for sightseeing, although the north can get colder with snow common along mountainous border areas.
By the time November rolls around, the ocean is a playground for experienced surfers with stormy weather and strong swells off the west coast. Another plus for winter, expect lower prices and thinner crowds, although it’s important to be aware that attractions will have shorter hours.
Good to Know: Christmas time is particularly festive with holiday markets, décor, and lots of delicious food and drink.
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