Wondering when the best time to visit Portugal is? Portugal is a land of great food, great beaches, great surfing, and some of the most stunning old cities you’ve ever seen. Trust us; a trip to Portugal is going to open your eyes to just how beautiful this place is – and fun, too.
But when’s the best time to visit Portugal? Good question. We’ve put together this insider’s guide on everything from the weather throughout the year to the best seasonal festivals in Portugal to make life easy for you!
When is the Best Time to Visit Portugal
Weather in Portugal in January
January is cold in Portugal. But then again, it’s not that cold. We’re talking average temperatures across the board of 11°C. Places like the capital, Lisbon, can get quite chilly. It is the coldest month of the year, after all. However, that doesn’t stop the sun from shining, and because of the climate here, it can feel pretty warm in the sunshine.
Nighttimes can drop to around 7°C, so bring a sweater. For warmer weather, the Azores are a good option: the highs are 17°C, the lows are 11°C. The Algarve, too, is better if you prefer less chilly weather.
Weather in Portugal in February
Things are looking up. The nationwide average temperature is 16°C, but in Lisbon, that’s the high. Nights can also still be pretty cold, with temperatures frequently dipping below 10°C almost everywhere. It’s definitely still not beach weather across most of Portugal.
There’s also a fair bit of rain that falls throughout February – not loads, but around half the month sees some pretty rainy/cloudy days. The days are also short, with the sun setting around 6 pm. Looking for a nice spot? The Madeira Islands, just off the coast of northwest Africa, may be a good idea. This is one of the warmer spots in Portugal during February.
Weather in Portugal in March
March sees Portugal dry up a little more, and winter begins to disappear. The average temperatures are now 18°C – much warmer than it has been. Some days in various parts of the country peak at highs in the early 20s! In coastal regions, it can be pretty windy, so it’s still not going to be the best time to visit Portugal if you plan on hitting the beach.
But with the much drier weather and some lovely, sunny days, you’ll be able to enjoy exploring cities, like Porto, in shorts and t-shirt without worrying too much about getting caught in the rain or passing out from the heat that comes later in the year.
Weather in Portugal in April
April is a beautiful spring month in Portugal; this is the month when you’ll get to enjoy some good Easter celebrations, too. Weather-wise, it’s getting really good in April. Lisbon hits highs of 20°C, but be warned; it can still get quite cold in the evenings. It’s a great time of year to visit Portugal, especially the countryside.
Spring flowers will be in bloom, and the land will be bursting into life. Days are starting to get longer as well: at the start of April, the sun sets at 8 pm, but by the end of the month, it’s more like 8:40 pm. That means more time for wandering around and enjoying the chilled atmosphere of Portugal’s towns and cities.
Weather in Portugal in May
May is lovely in Portugal. This is Portugal before the summer heat and crowds, and the first time in the year that visiting the beach is a viable option. Average temperatures across the country are a very pleasant 24°C and, with 14 hours of sunshine per day, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the top sights and the beaches.
If you like hiking, this is an excellent time of year to do that, too. You shouldn’t need to bring waterproof stuff since there are only a couple of days in May affected by showers. Basically, May is one of the best times to visit Portugal if you want to avoid the European crowds (and heat) of summer.
Weather in Portugal in June
June is a warm and wonderful summer month across Portugal. The Algarve is beginning to get pretty nice, with an average temperature of 26°C and highs of, well, higher! Lisbon still isn’t scorching, and sees averages of 22°C, so it’s still pleasant to wander around the city.
The humidity, however, is on the rise. It’s around 60% and tends to stick around well after dark, so you don’t have to worry about covering up so much when you head out for drinks and petiscos (Portuguese tapas, basically). The sea is also becoming more bearable, at around 19°C, which isn’t so bad, we guess. Makes for a refreshing break from the sun.
Weather in Portugal in July
Things start to get pretty hot in July in Portugal, guys. It’s up there as one of the warmest months of the year. The average temperature for the entire country is a pretty warm 30°C. These hot summer days make going to the beach a great idea. Head to the Algarve in early July to beat the summer vacation crowds before this becomes one of the most popular spots in the country; cool sea breezes help keep the heat from getting too much.
The sea temperature is still something like 19°C, which is great for cooling off. Nighttime temperatures hit 18°C, so eating dinner outside on a terrace becomes basically an awesome idea. There’s hardly any rain in July, but you may see the odd thunderstorm.
Weather in Portugal in August
The average temperature is 29°C across most of Portugal, though it can still get much hotter than that. Lisbon sees averages of 28°C, and the sea hits a pretty decent 20°C. The Algarve is very, very busy in August, with vacationers from across Europe (and beyond), as well as locals, hitting the best spots. In what is basically the height of the summer season, the beaches will be packed with people.
There’s not really much chance of rain for Portugal in August, which is a plus. Long days mean seaside sunsets and warm evenings. It’s a great time to visit Portugal, if a little busy.
Weather in Portugal in September
While things start to cool off a little in September, it’s still by no means cold in Portugal this month. It’s actually one of the best times to visit Portugal: top tourist sights, as well as beaches, are much quieter. You could even get a pretty good deal on accommodation since September is pretty much out of season.
Temperatures are, on average, hovering around 26°C in September, but the Algarve is still nice ‘n’ warm. Winds, however, are picking up on the Atlantic Coast, making chilling on the beach less fun; but the sea temperatures are still 20°C, so it’s a good time for watersports. In Lisbon, though it’s getting more rainy – evening temperatures are still warm.
Weather in Portugal in October
October sees temperature drop somewhat in Portugal, but that doesn’t mean things aren’t warm. The average temperature remains around 22°C, which isn’t bad, and the sea remains around 20°C; surfers and swimmers can still enjoy splashing around in the Atlantic Ocean.
Evenings are starting to get noticeably colder though (around 15°C). And while the month is getting steadily wetter as October rolls on, the Algarve remains relatively dry – as does Madeira. The days are also starting to get shorter, so there’s less time to enjoy the great outdoors or see the best sights that Portugal has to offer.
Weather in Portugal in November
The average high is around 18°C, which is relatively cold for Portugal – but it’s still a lot warmer than much of Europe this time of year. November also sees the country get a lot wetter; the month typically sees a lot of rain. Sunset is averaging around 5:30 pm, night times hit a low of 11°C (you may want that sweater back) – it’s fall, verging on winter.
So even though it’s nicer than a lot of other European countries at the moment, it’s definitely not the best time to visit Portugal. If you’re a diehard surfer, bigger waves and sea temperatures of 18°C might tempt you, however!
Weather in Portugal in December
Cold, cold, cold. It’s cold in Portugal in December – well, for Portugal anyway. It’s not exactly the best time to visit Portugal. The average across the country is 15°C, but obviously, that’s not going to be the same all over. If you want slightly warmer weather, the Algarve might be for you, with temperatures of 18°C (it’s also the wettest time of year for this region, too); Madeira is also 18°C.
It can get very cool in the evenings, with an average after-dark temperature of 9°C – or lower. The sunsets just after 5 pm, which isn’t very fun. It’s also pretty wet nationwide, and it can be quite cloudy throughout the month. Not an ideal time to visit Portugal, we’d say.
Festivals in Portugal
Festivals in Portugal in the Winter
The obvious thing for Portugal, being Catholic, is Christmas. There are Christmas Markets in major cities – like Lisbon, for instance – so if you’re looking for festive cheer, it’s not a bad choice.
There’s also the more cultural Winter Festival of Lisbon. This includes performances by the Gulbenkian Orchestra and Choir, as well as philharmonic orchestras from across the globe. This is a pretty cool festival to see in Portugal, especially if you like music.
The New Year’s Eve celebrations in Portugal are particularly cool. Make your way to Lisbon to experience the capital’s Kizomba New Year’s Eve Fest. Think dancing, music, food stalls, and general merriment across three days, from December 28 to January 1.
February means Carnival. These happen across the country, but Lisbon and a few towns in the Algarve will have the best party atmospheres. It’s an old celebration that celebrates the beginning of Lent, taking place on the Friday before Shrove Tuesday. Go for Rio-esque fun!
Festivals in Portugal in the Spring
Lent and Easter are a pretty big deal in Portugal, so April is a good time of year to visit the country for festive traditions. There’s Semana Santa (Holy Week), which is the week just before Easter.
Head to Braga, which puts on the best show. The entire heart of the city is draped in lights and decorated with flowers, making for a spectacle of celebrations; but in towns across the Algarve, they really go to town with the decorations. Tomar is particularly interesting, as it features a procession of people carrying massive crosses festooned with flowers – which are then broken up in a unique ceremony.
At the end of April/early May, there’s Festa des Cruzes in Barcelos. It’s the city’s premier event. Dating back to the 16th century, this festival used to attract pilgrims, but today, it’s an extravaganza of locals dressed in their finest medieval costumes. There are fireworks and festivities to bring the town together.
May sees another religious festival. On May 13, thousands of people head out on a pilgrimage to Fatima – officially Leiria-Fatima. Why? On the same date in 1917, three children saw the Virgin Mary, or a vision of her, in town. There’s now a shrine – one of the Catholic world’s most important – which attracts pilgrims from all over.
Festivals in Portugal in the Summer
If that was too much religion for you, don’t worry; summer is a lot more about fun times in the sun. For example, the International Sand Sculpture Festival (FIESA) takes place in Pera, the Algarve, throughout the summer. We’re talking 14,000 tons of sand sculpted into huge, ornate and detailed sand sculptures. At night they’re illuminated, too, which is pretty cool.
And if you like music festivals, look no further than Rock in Rio-Lisboa. A sister-festival to Brazil’s Rock in Rio, it takes place over the last two weekends in June. There are all sorts of international acts playing, from actual rock music to electronic dance.
Lisbon’s Alfama district gets strewn with lights on June 12. This is related to the Feast of St Anthony (the “matchmaker saint,” apparently), which has somehow morphed into a sort of basil plant-based Valentine’s Day.
In Tomar, look out for girls with towers of bread on their heads parading around town in July. Known as Festa dos Tabuleiros, but related to the Feast of the Holy Spirit, it takes place every four years. The next one is in 2023.
There’s Festa do Colete Encarnado in July, too. This is a bull-running festival (Europe used to have a lot of these in medieval times, actually). It takes place in Vila Franca de Xira; bulls are released into the streets and men dressed in red waistcoats try not to get gored by them. Dangerous stuff.
Festivals in Portugal in the Fall
At the end of August through to the middle of September, Viseu (close to the Spanish border) holds the Feira de São Mateus. How else do you celebrate St Matthew? With the longest procession in this region of Portugal, it’s a sight to be seen around Viseu’s stunningly well-preserved hilltop fortifications.
October 5 is Republic Day! Every good republic needs a day to celebrate becoming one, so Portugal does so on the anniversary of the 1910 Revolution. Portugal had a revolution? Yes, they sure did. It overthrew the Portuguese monarchy, previously in power for hundreds of years, and established a republic. Expect businesses to be close and parades in the streets.
Then there’s All Saints’ Day on November 1, but November is more about St Martin’s Day on November 11.
St Martin was a Roman soldier who was kind enough to give some of his cloak to a beggar. The sun then came out to keep old Martin warm. It’s also interlinked with a series of harvest festivals, when chestnuts in Portugal start to ripen and the first wine of the season can be consumed. Sounds good to us! For some great celebrations, head to Trás-os-Montes – or Golegã, where the festivities mark the end of a two-week-long National Horse Fair.
When is the Best Season to Travel Portugal?
High season (June-September)
Like most places in Europe, Portugal’s high season runs from June to mid-September. This is when you will find the best sunny weather as noted above, but also crowds, especially in popular places. Days are longer, the weather is HOT, so you’ll want to be close to a pool or ocean. Hotel and car rental prices are at their highest.
Shoulder Season (April -May and October-November)
The weather in Portugal is cooler during these months, some would consider it much more comfortable than prime summertime weather. It’s not as busy as the summertime, but you’ll still see lots of travelers lingering about. Prices on accommodation and car rentals will drop during this time. The shoulder season is typically a fantastic time to visit Portugal.
Low Season (Late November- early April)
The temperatures are cooler during the low season in Portugal. You’ll still see plenty of sunny days but also overcast days and little to no sunbathing. It’s too cold to take a dip in the water, but you can still enjoy the beaches with some clothes on to keep warm in the breeze. The upside is you’ll find low prices and low numbers of tourists.
When is the Cheapest Time to Visit Portugal?
The cheapest time to visit Portugal is in the low season. That would be from November to April when the weather is cooler and sun is more sporadic than in the summer. The weather is still great and in early November and April even the beaches and water will be comfortable enough for swimming.
Best Time to Visit Portugal for Honeymoon?
The best time to visit Portugal for a honeymoon is May, June, and September and October. Spring and Autumn are warm, but not too warm, so it’s great for couples who want to do outdoor activities. It’s also not too busy!
Best Time to Visit Portugal for Nightlife?
Cities like Lisbon and Lagos are popular party places in the summer. During the summer the clubs on these places bring in world class DJ’s and party the whole night away. If you are going to Portugal to party you will want to visit between June and early September.
Quick Portugal Travel Tips
- ‘Hello’ and ‘Thank You’ in Greek: “Yasou” and “Efharisto”
- Currency: Euro – (EUR) – €
- Visa: Schengen visa. Which is 90 days in the European Union out of 180. Many nationalities are granted this on arrival for free. Check with your embassy to see if that is you.
- Weather: The weather in Portugal is a Mediterranean climate. This means winters are mild and rainy, while summers are warm and dry with plenty of sunshine throughout the year.
- What to Pack: Warm weather clothes and a swimsuit, don’t forget a good pair of clothes to go and a jacket for cool nights. Read about what to wear in Portugal.
Plan and Pack for Portugal
Portugal is a long and narrow country, and the weather in the North of the country is often different to the South. The Algarve, in the South of Portugal, gets around 300 days of sunshine per year. Porto and the North of Portugal, on the other hand, has a very different climate.
During winter, the weather can be damp, gray, and wet. If you’re planning on visiting both the North and South of Portugal, especially during winter, keep this in mind as you’ll need to pack appropriately for both types of weather.
You will definitely need an adaptor for your electronics on your packing list for Europe. We always keep one handy in our carry-on bags, that way we can charge electronics on arrival or at the airport.
Portugal outlets use the Europlug and I would recommend getting one before you land online. The price may be doubled if you show up to Portugal in an outlet emergency.
As Lonely Planet Pathfinders who regularly go on assignment for the guidebook company we love to have a physical guidebook when traveling. We spend enough time attached to our phones in everyday life and planning our trips.
Once we reach a destination like Portugal we put the phone away and pick up a guidebook to help with our trip.