When is the best time to visit Portugal?
The best time to visit Portugal is in spring (March-May), when the country is in bloom and waking after the winter. You could also go in fall (between September and October) when the sun is still shining, the weather is warm, and many of the crowds have dispersed.
Summer (June-August) can get very hot, particularly in central Portugal. Large numbers of Portuguese head to the beach during this period, when the water temperatures are warmer than usual. Visitors are drawn by the sunny and inviting southern European climate.
The winters, though colder, still offer a good amount of sun. While many beach resorts wind down at this time, it can still be a good time to explore the cities and inland areas.
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Portugal Climate Guide
|Algarve||59°F 4"||61°F 3"||64°F 2"||66°F 2"||72°F 1"||77°F 1"||84°F 0"||84°F 0"||81°F 1"||73°F 2"||66°F 3"||61°F 4"|
|The Azores||59°F 5"||57°F 4"||59°F 4"||61°F 3"||63°F 2"||68°F 2"||72°F 2"||75°F 2"||72°F 4"||66°F 4"||63°F 5"||59°F 5"|
|Belém||57°F 5"||59°F 5"||63°F 3"||66°F 3"||70°F 2"||75°F 1"||81°F 0"||81°F 0"||79°F 1"||72°F 3"||63°F 5"||59°F 5"|
|Coimbra||57°F 5"||59°F 5"||63°F 3"||66°F 4"||72°F 3"||77°F 2"||82°F 0"||82°F 0"||81°F 2"||72°F 4"||63°F 5"||57°F 5"|
|Douro Valley||48°F 8"||50°F 7"||54°F 5"||57°F 5"||63°F 4"||72°F 3"||77°F 1"||77°F 1"||73°F 3"||63°F 6"||54°F 7"||50°F 8"|
|Lisbon||59°F 4"||61°F 4"||64°F 3"||66°F 3"||72°F 2"||77°F 1"||82°F 0"||82°F 0"||81°F 1"||73°F 3"||64°F 4"||59°F 4"|
|Porto||57°F 7"||57°F 7"||61°F 4"||64°F 4"||68°F 3"||73°F 2"||77°F 1"||77°F 1"||75°F 2"||70°F 5"||63°F 6"||57°F 7"|
Month-by-month guide to traveling in Portugal
Visiting Portugal in January - February
Portugal’s temperate climate means that any time of year is relatively comfortable for a visit. Although January and February will be a bit cooler and potentially wetter than the rest of the year, you can still experience some sun and take advantage of the thinner crowds.
Events & Festivals
- Carnival (February): Brazil’s Carnival celebrations can be traced back to Portugal; various cities celebrate slightly differently, but the festivities nearly always include vibrant costumes and elaborate parades.
- Dia de Reis, or Three Kings’ Day, (6th January): groups of carolers sing from house to house at the time when Portuguese children traditionally receive gifts (from the kings rather than Santa).
Visiting Portugal in March - May
Temperatures begin to rise to a pleasanter level as the flowers start to bloom and Portugal vibrantly comes to life. Spring is a time for celebration with many important festivals and holidays taking place and adding an extra splash of liveliness.
Events & Festivals
- Freedom Day (25th April): marking the Carnation Revolution, which saw the end of Portugal’s nearly 50-year dictatorship (the longest in Europe), with concerts, especially in Lisbon, as well as the annual Corrida da Liberdade, or Freedom Run.
- Holy Week (March/April): strongly Catholic Portugal celebrates by holding reverent street parades, usually accompanied by lively song and dance.
- Festival de Sintra (mid-May): the town of Sintra hosts a festival dedicated to classical music and opera, with events held in the town’s palaces or gardens.
- Fatima Pilgrimage (11–13th May): the largest pilgrimage of the year to the town where, in 1917, three shepherd children claimed they’d seen an apparition of the Virgin Mary six times, the first on 13th May.
Visiting Portugal in June - August
As the heat of summer reaches its peak, so too do the crowds. Sunseekers from northern Europe head for Portugal’s pristine beaches along with huge numbers of Portuguese. The Algarve in particular gets very busy at this time. While it’s possible to travel at this time, soaring temperatures in the cities and inland can make sightseeing rather hard going, and it’s easy to see why most locals have decamped for the beach.
Events & Festivals
- Feast of Saint John the Baptist, or Festa de São João, (23–24th June): celebrated across Portugal, especially in Porto, the day is marked with fireworks, concerts, dancing and the interesting tradition of hitting each other with garlic or plastic hammers.
- Portugal Day (10th June): a commemoration of the death of Portuguese poet Luís Vaz de Camões, who’s regarded as one of Portugal’s most influential literary figures.
Visiting Portugal in September - October
September and October are two of the best months to visit Portugal. The weather is still warm and pleasant, and the temperatures are much more manageable for sightseeing or hiking. It’s also a wonderful time to visit many of Portugal’s wineries with the grape harvest in full swing. The beaches are also much quieter.
Visiting Portugal in November - December
Portugal’s rainy season begins in November and December, meaning fewer sunny days, but the country still experiences more sun than rain and warmer temperatures than much of Europe. The Algarve usually remains especially pleasant and sunny and can attract European visitors looking for a winter getaway.
Events & Festivals
- Christmas: most towns and villages are festively decorated throughout December; the celebrations culminate on the 24th, when most families attend midnight mass and enjoy feasting together.
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