SD › Best Time to Visit Portugal
Updated: May 26, 2021
When is the Best Time to Visit Portugal?
The best times to visit Portugal are spring or early fall, when the crowds are thinner, accommodation prices are lower, the winter rainy season is avoided, and temperatures will be warm but not scorching. Swimming is still possible in the early fall, as waters remain warm; mild spring temperatures are ideal for exploring the numerous hills of Lisbon and Sintra.
- The Best Time to Visit Portugal for Good Weather: Mainland weather in Portugal differs from that of the islands. For the mainland, the best time for good weather is from April to June and September to October. For the Azores, it is April through September; other months can be cool and rainy.
- Best Time for Sightseeing: The best times to enjoy sightseeing throughout Portugal are typically April, May, and from mid-September through mid-October. The weather is pleasant, and the crowds are thinner than in mid-to-late summer. Many festivals and events take place during these times, and lower temperatures make hikes are more manageable. Harvest season in the Douro wine region is early fall, adding to the itinerary of sightseeing possibilities. Porto & the Azores tend to have high precipitation year-round except for July and August, when the weather is hottest but crowds are bustling. The best time for sightseeing in Porto & the Azores is from April to June, for ideal weather, transportation, and activities.
- Best Time for Surfing: With over 1,800 kilometers of coastline, plus the Azores Islands, Portugal has every type of surf spot available. The most famous surfing spots include Ericeira, Nazaré, Peniche, Beira, Algarve, and Lisbon. Ericeira is the only world surfing reserve in Europe, and has six major surfing beaches. Surfing is possible year-round, but the ideal season for surfing is September through November for a combination of predominantly favorable winds, consistent west swells, and good weather; winter months are stormy and potentially more dangerous.
- Best Time for Wine: Awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 2001, Portugal’s Douro Valley was the first demarcated wine region in the world. September to October is the best time to visit for the buzzing activity of the grape harvest season, great early autumn scenery, and comfortable temperatures for walking or cycling through the valley. Many wine activities and experiences are only available during grape harvest season, including participating in harvest, producing wine, and harvest tours. Avoid visiting in July or August, when temperatures are often in the high 30ºCs or even hotter – not ideal for walking or cycling.
- Best time to Visit Lisbon: The best time to visit Lisbon is in mid-to-late spring or early fall. Both of these periods tend to experience mild weather (typically around 22°C to 24°C), thinner crowds, and shorter queues than during the busy summer travel season. Lower airfares and room rates can typically be found as well, making these shoulders seasons budget-friendly times to travel. During the shoulder seasons, the atmosphere is still quite lively in the streets, and the weather is wonderfully mild and often sunny. The best time for visiting Lisbon beaches for good weather and fewer crowds is in June and September; it’s likely to be pleasantly warm while the biggest crowds either haven’t arrived or are beginning to diminish. Those who want to swim may be able to do so as early as May and as late as October, however. The warmest water temperature is in September, with the sea a comfortable 20°C.
- Best time to Visit Sintra & Palaces: A UNESCO World Heritage Site only a 40-minute train journey from Lisbon, Sintra is a popular day trip destination. Known for palaces, castles, and charming town, Sintra is home to many of Portugal’s most famous tourist attractions, like the incredibly popular Palacio de Pena, the Castle of the Moors, and the Palacio Nacional de Sintra. It is recommended to visit Palacio de Pena first thing in the morning before the large crowds and tour buses arrive; purchase tickets online in advance, as queues can be quite long. The Palacio de Pena and the Castle of the Moors are both located at the top of the Sintra Mountains, approximately 480 meters above sea level and inside the 200 hectare Park Pena; mid-spring and early autumn are the best times to visit, as milder temperatures and less chance of rain makes hiking more possible, and winds at the top can be higher during winter months. Transportation options are available if hiking is not desired, including hiring a tuk-tuk or taking the 434 tourist bus from the train station.
- Best time to Visit the Algarve: The Algarve is Portugal’s southern coastline, abundant with stunning beaches, picturesque fishing towns, with a fantastic climate. Best enjoyed in either late April to early May or mid-September to late October. Both late spring and early autumn offer warm temperatures and affordable prices without the crush of tourists, chaos of partying college students, and overwhelming summer heat. In late spring, temperatures are warm enough for beach lounging, exploring the dramatic sand cliffs, and enjoying the charming historic little towns. Early autumn can be ideal for swimming in the Algarve’s turquoise waters, kayaking through picturesque caves, and visiting popular viewpoints like Ponta da Pieda. The most popular towns with great beaches, lively nightlife, good restaurants, sense of history, and family-friendly resorts include Lagos, Tavira, and Albufeira – all of which are within a 1-hour drive or bus ride from Faro airport.
- Best time to Visit Porto: Portugal’s second largest city, Porto is a popular tourist destination best known for its picturesque medieval riverfront, Ribeira district UNESCO World Heritage site, and the port-wine lodges of Vila Nova de Gaia. As it is a northwestern coastal city, Porto is one of the wettest cities in southern Europe, with weather that’s both cooler and wetter than Lisbon. The best time to visit Porto is in either late spring or early autumn. In the spring, it is often sunny and warm, foliage is in full bloom, and the Festas Santos Populares celebrations fill the city with activity and energy. In early autumn, temperatures can remain quite warm, the city and numerous beaches are not packed with tourists, and a harvest tour day trip to Douro Valley can be squeezed in as well.
- Best time to Visit Azores: The Portuguese archipelago 1500 kilometers off the coast in the North Atlantic Ocean is abundant with activities, sightseeing, and history. To get the most out of your trip to the Azores islands, April to June is the best time to visit. These late spring months have excellent availability of activities, sights, transportation, and hotels. The stormy winter season tends to end by March, whereas temperatures and crowds both begin to rise by July. The AtlanticoLine ferry system runs between April and October, and domestic flights, tours, and boat trips are more frequent during these warmer months. Since hotels on the islands are limited, book in advance for the best chance of staying at a top-rated spot. Traveling from April to June will also offer better rates, sometimes 30-40% cheaper than the high peak summer months. Island foliage is in full bloom between March and June. The Azores are one of the world’s top whale-watching hotspots, and there are many kinds of dolphins and whales to spot in the Azorean waters; the best whale-watching takes place between April and June, since the migratory routes of cetaceans overlap the most during this period. The Azores’ biggest event, the Santo Cristo Festivities, takes place in Ponta Delgada & Sao Miguel between April and May; every year thousands of native-born Azoreans return to participate in this highly religious event. Another event, Tourada a Corda, or running of the bulls, takes place daily from May to September on Terceira Island.
- When to book Hotels: For the Azores, Algarve, Lisbon, and Porto it’s recommended to book 4-8 months in advance for the best savings and availability. The Azores, in particular, have limited accommodation options so advance booking is highly recommended. Mainland Portugal has plenty of options and very good value compared with other western European countries.
Portugal Travel Seasons
- High Season (July to August): With hot weather across the country, this is a good time to visit any part of Portugal. However, the streets, beaches, and sights of Portugal are busy and bustling in the summer months – crowded with Europeans taking their annual vacations. Accommodation prices increase by 30%, and local transportation options are crowded and often sold out – so booking in advance is recommended. Tourists descend on the Algarve and Coastal resort areas to enjoy the peak summer temperatures and warm ocean water.
- Shoulder Season (April to mid-June and mid-September to October): Milder spring and fall temperatures are ideal for hiking and outdoor activities. Colder ocean temperatures in spring mean less chance of swimming, but the water can sometimes still be warm enough in early Fall. Peak festival season is June, with nonstop events and activities. Prices during these times are middling, though hotel rates can be higher in early September. Some smaller accommodation options may not be open until later in April due to the winter hiatus; prices are lower, but options are sometimes limited.
- Low Season (November to March): The rainy season begins by mid-November and continues until March. Portugal’s higher elevation areas begin freezing and many resorts will be shut down for the winter. Prices are lower and crowds are thinner, but popular attractions will have shorter hours and availability. In the north-eastern part of the country, skiing is available between December and February. Serra de Estrela is the highest mountain range in Continental Portugal, and ski season here lasts until March. Smaller towns quiet down during winter, but Lisbon is festive during Christmas time with decorations, Christmas markets, and festival food.
Portugal Weather by Month
In this article, I’ve broken down the weather into mainland Portugal and the Azores. “Mainland Portugal” refers to Porto in the North, Lisbon in the center, and the Algarve in the south. The Azores are the Portuguese islands 1500 km off the coast in the North Atlantic Ocean.
In the Mainland, typically the Algarve region is 5ºC warmer than the national average temperature (the south typically experiences Mediterranean weather with mild winters and hot summers) and the north is about 5ºC cooler (the northern coast is warmed by the Gulf Stream, so winters are still mild and summers are very warm, but more mountainous areas are cooler and get more rain).
The Azores islands, located in the Northern Hemisphere, have a maritime subtropical climate with a great deal of regional variation due to topography. It is not a tropical paradise; temperatures are mild or cool for many months of the year. Temperatures tend to be 5ºC cooler, and the precipitation 20-60mm more, on the western islands like Flores and Pico. The average temperatures and precipitation below are based on Sao Miguel, which is closer to the Mainland by 440km.
Portugal Weather in January
- Mainland Portugal Weather in January: January is the coldest month of the year in Portugal, with an average temperature of 6ºC, high temperatures around 15ºC, and nighttime temperatures falling as low as 0ºC to -4ºC. The northeastern region does get snow (enough for skiing resorts to exist) and higher elevation areas experience freezing temperatures. Strong ocean winds and cloudy skies are also prevalent throughout January; it is also the second wettest month, with an average of 11 rainy days. You will need warm winter clothing, with layers, as well as a rainproof winter jacket, gloves, hat, scarf, and waterproof boots. (Average Max Temperature: 15°C. Average Precipitation: 110mm.)
- Azores Weather in January: The winter season peaks in January, with the weather being quite gloomy and cold. The islands get no more than 3 hours of daily sunlight and have an average temperature of 14°C, a low of 11°C rainfall for two-thirds of the month, and very strong winds. January can be a beautiful time to visit, the natural landscapes here are more rugged and wild, but rain will be plentiful. Pack warm layers (layering is important since temperatures are cool but not freezing) and waterproof gear; a good quality rain jacket & rain boots will be necessary since strong winds can make an umbrella useless. Also pack a swimsuit. Most water activities will not be possible, but you can still enjoy the thermal springs of Sao Miguel. (Average Max Temperature: 17°C. Average Precipitation: 120mm.)
Portugal Weather in February
- Mainland Portugal Weather in February: Temperatures gradually begin to increase in February, with an average temperature of 15°C and a low of 8°C. Temperatures in the mountains remain below freezing, so areas such as Serra de Estrela will be open for skiing throughout the month and into March. Spring arrives early in Portugal and by mid-February orange and tangerine fruit trees are blooming, the fruit ripening during the cold months. It does rain less in February, with only 8 rainy days on average in the month, however warm clothing and rain gear are still necessary as rain sometimes appears unexpectedly and temperatures fall during the evenings and nights. (Average Max Temperature: 18°C. Average Precipitation: 75mm.)
- Azores Weather in February: February is the coldest month of the year in the Azores with an average temperature of 13ºC and low of 10ºC – but expect colder temperatures and more rain on Flores and Corvo. Skies are very cloudy, with the islands seeing only 4 hours of daily sunshine and an average of 19 rainy days. Packing warm layers and rain gear will be important. Be sure to bring a warm, lined rain jacket, sweater, hat, scarf, and warm waterproof boots. (Average Max Temperature: 16°C. Average Precipitation: 110mm.)
Portugal Weather in March
- Mainland Portugal Weather in March: Temperatures begin to rise in March as spring is in full swing. Average daytime temperatures are around 17°C with a low of 10°C. Northern Portugal continues to experience winter weather with ski season continuing into March, whereas Central and Southern Portugal experience less rain and more sunny days. Some winter clothing, such as light sweaters and layers, a light jacket and rain gear, may be necessary but you may want to bring some warm weather clothing as well, as temperatures do increase later in the month. (Average Max Temperature: 21°C. Average Precipitation: 53mm.)
- Azores Weather in March: March is the last month of winter in the Azores, mild and damp. With a daily average temperature of 16ºC and lows of 11ºC, rainfall lessens throughout this month that sees an average of 17 rainy days; the daily number of sunny hours increases to 4.5. The mild warmth allows for more comfortable participation in outdoor activities – if well prepared. Pack warm layers so you can be ready for anything the islands throw at you. A warm, waterproof rain jacket, hat, scarf, and waterproof shoes will be important – though warmer, March is by no means a dry month. (Average Max Temperature: 16°C. Average Precipitation: 105mm.)
Portugal Weather in April
- Mainland Portugal Weather in April: April sees an increase in temperature, especially in the central and southern parts of the country. Especially in the latter half of the month, an average of 10 days can be expected where the temperature reaches between 21°C and up to 26°C. Eight rainy days are also expected in April on average, however, so pack a light jacket and layers for cooler days and evenings, as well as t-shirts, dresses, shorts, sunglasses, and sunscreen for warmer, sunnier days. Locals will still be wearing winter jackets, but if you are visiting from a colder country, you will probably be happy to shed some layers and enjoy the spring sun. (Average Max Temperature: 23°C. Average Precipitation: 55mm.)
- Azores Weather in April: April is the first month of spring on the islands, ushering in the best time to visit the Azores. With the weather improving, more activities become available and the inter-island ferry system now provides service to all the islands. The daily average temperature holds steady at 16ºC (low of 12ºC), rainfall decreases to an average of 13 rainy days, and the number of daily sunny hours increases to 5. The warm temperatures and drier days make April a great time to visit since it is still considered low season on the islands. Pack a sweater for the cooler evenings, layers to be prepared for any temperature, and a good rain jacket and waterproof shoes for any rainy days and for whale watching and boat rides. If staying in Ponta Delgada, pack sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat since there is only a 16% chance of a cloudy day due to the protection of the mountains. (Average Max Temperature: 18°C. Average Precipitation: 72mm.)
Portugal Weather in May
- Mainland Portugal Weather in May: May temperatures stay consistently warm throughout the country during the day. For over half the month temperatures will be higher than 21°C; five or six days where the temperature reaches between 26°C and up to 30°C can be expected – the highest-ever recorded temperature for May was 35°C. Temperatures do dip after sunset, so a light jacket or cardigan will be needed for the evenings. There’s an average of 14 hours of daylight, with 9 hours of sunshine. If spending time near the coast or on the beach, make sure to apply sunscreen every 2 hours, as sun reflecting from the water will increase UV exposure. (Average Max Temperature: 25°C. Average Precipitation: 32mm.)
- Azores Weather in May: The islands begin to dry up in May, and the threat of rainfall is not as frequent. With a daily average temperature of 16ºC and low of 13ºC, rainfall decreases in May to an average of 12 rainy days; the daily number of sunny hours increases to 6 and the chance of windy days also declines in May. May is a great time to enjoy the lush green landscape of the Azores, bright and in full bloom due after the rainy winter season. Pack comfortable hiking clothing like shorts, long sleeves, and a change of socks in case of rain along with light layers, sunscreen, sunglasses, and an umbrella. (Average Max Temperature: 20°C. Average Precipitation: 60mm.)
Portugal Weather in June
- Mainland Portugal Weather in June: June has the most consistently comfortable weather of the summer months. Rainfall is at a minimum with an average of 16mm expected. You can expect temperatures to be above 21°C for 25 out of 30 days, with at least 7 being over 30°C. The average June high is 23°C, with a low of 16°C. Despite warm air temperatures, ocean waters will still be too cool for long swimming. Prepare to re-apply sunscreen every 2 hours, as the UV ray index is at its highest in June with the sun shining for 10 hours daily. Plan to pack lightweight summer clothing and open-toed shoes, as well as sunglasses and a hat. (Average Max Temperature: 30°C. Average Precipitation: 16mm.)
- Azores Weather in June: June is still spring in the Azores, and is one of the driest months of the year. With a daily average temperature of 18ºC and low of 15ºC, rainfall lessens in June with an average of 10 days with rain; the daily number of sunny hours increases to 7 near the end of the month. Sea temperatures increase to 20ºC by mid-June, allowing for comfortable beach days and swimming. Unless you chill easily, you will likely not need to pack much warm clothing other than a light sweater or cardigan – temperatures do not drop below 15ºC even in the evenings. Bring a swimsuit, sunglasses, hat, sunscreen, and light layers along with a light jacket for whale watching or traveling by boat. (Average Max Temperature: 22°C. Average Precipitation: 40mm.)
Portugal Weather in July
- Mainland Portugal Weather in July: July is one of the hottest months of the year in Portugal. Temperatures rise to an average high of 27°C, with a low of 21°C. Rainfall and clouds are rare during July, and the average monthly rainfall is only 6 mm – usually in the form of a quick thunderstorm. With 11 hours of daily sunshine be sure to pack sunscreen, plus a hat, lightweight clothing, open-toe shoes, and your swimsuit. The ocean waters are well-warmed now, and on scorching hot days swimming is a great way to keep cool. July and August are the busiest months to visit the Algarve since locals and other Europeans flock to the region for its beaches and coastal resorts on holiday. (Average Max Temperature: 32°C. Average Precipitation: 6mm.)
- Azores Weather in July: July is the driest month of the year and the first month of summer in the Azores. The daily average temperature is 20ºC although increased daytime humidity can make it can feel much warmer. (The humidity luckily breaks in the evening allowing for a more comfortable sleep.) The daily average low is 16ºC, and rainfall decreases to an average of 9 days with rain. The daily number of sunny hours increases to 7.5, with Ponta Delgada enjoying 9 sunny hours. Sea temperatures increase to 22ºC in July, so it’s a good idea to bring your swimsuit to enjoy ocean swimming, as well as the islands’ natural pools and waterfalls. With only 25 mm of rain expected, you can confidently leave your rain jacket and umbrella at home. Instead, bring loose, lightweight clothing, open-toed shoes, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. (Average Max Temperature: 24°C. Average Precipitation: 25mm.)
Portugal Weather in August
- Mainland Portugal Weather in August: August is one of the hottest months of the year in Portugal, with warm temperatures and virtually no rainfall. An average high of 28°C, and a low of 18°C, makes August a prime month to spend at the beach, enjoying the warmer ocean waters and clear skies. Pack shorts, t-shirts, dresses, sunscreen, sunhat, and sunglasses. No need for a rain jacket or umbrella, but with 11 hours of daily sunshine be mindful of UV rays near bodies of water; sun reflecting from the water will increase UV exposure. (Average Max Temperature: 30°C. Average Precipitation: 6mm.)
- Azores Weather in August: August is the hottest and sunniest month of the year in the Azores, averaging sunny 8 hours per day. Expect heat, humidity, and little rain; along with the daily average temperature of 22ºC and low of 18ºC, sea temperatures increase to 24ºC, making swimming a great way to escape the heat and humidity. Some days in August average up to 90% humidity, but offshore winds help to cool things down and the nights are usually less humid. The chance of rain increases slightly in August with an average of 10 days with rain, and August also marks the beginning of the hurricane season which continues until November – the islands sit inside the hurricane belt so there is some risk of a hurricane developing or the islands being impacted by a hurricane nearby. Always check hurricane activity in the area before traveling. Pack as you would for July, with plenty of lightweight clothing, sun protection, and beach gear. (Average Max Temperature: 26°C. Average Precipitation: 41mm.)
Portugal Weather in September
- Mainland Portugal Weather in September: Hot weather continues into September, with hotter temperatures in the Algarve, and temperatures on the northwest and western coasts being a little lower due to the Atlantic winds. With an average high of 27°C, and a low of 18°C, September weather is pleasant and suitable for outdoor activities like hiking, bike rides, and participating in the Douro Region grape harvest. September is also the best month to swim in the sea, as the average sea temperature is 20°C. Rainfall is at a minimum in the Algarve region and in Lisbon with an average of 20mm, but rainfall increases inland and in the northern parts of the country with an average of 55mm. Daily sunshine is around 8 hours per day and while the UV index does decrease from August it remains quite high. Plan to pack light summer clothing, sun hat, sunglasses, swimsuit, and sunscreen. If northern and inland Portugal are on your itinerary also pack a light rain jacket, umbrella, and waterproof shoes. (Average Max Temperature: 32°C. Average Precipitation: 33mm.)
- Azores Weather in September: September is the last month of the summer season in the Azores – very warm and humid, with bright sunny days. It is still hurricane season, and the chance of precipitation increases to 84mm expected over 10 days. Humidity levels increase as well, reaching 90% on some days. With a daily average temperature of 21ºC and low of 17ºC, sunshine hours decrease to 6 hours daily, 8 hours in Ponta Delgada. Some nights are a balmy 24ºC – perfect for dining alfresco, albeit a little muggy. Swimming is a great escape from the heat and humidity; with sea temperatures remaining at 24ºC there are still many good swimming and beach days to be had. Pack as you would for August, with plenty of lightweight clothing, sun protection, and beach gear but also bring a light rain jacket, umbrella and waterproof shoes. (Average Max Temperature: 24°C. Average Precipitation: 84mm.)
Portugal Weather in October
- Mainland Portugal Weather in October: Autumn is officially upon Portugal in October; temperatures begin to dip, evenings are cooler, and rainfall increases. The average temperature during the day is a comfortable 22°C, while in the evenings the average low is 14°C. The sea remains warm enough for swimming and cool Atlantic winds provide a comfortable breeze along the western coast during the day. Rainfall increases as autumn sets in to an average of 101mm, though the Algarve region gets only an average of 55mm in October. The average number of sunny hours decreases to 6 daily by the end of the month, and evenings can be chilly so plan to pack light layers for day and warm clothing for nights along with an umbrella and rain boots. (Average Max Temperature: 25°C. Average Precipitation: 101mm.)
- Azores Weather in October: October begins the autumn season in the Azores, and is generally mild and damp. There are plenty of warm days and cool nights, but precipitation levels increase as the month progresses, with an average of 13 rainy days expected throughout. Some rainfall is light but heavy downpours are also common in October as hurricane season continues – 114mm of precipitation is expected during the month. The daily average temperature is 18ºC with a low of 15ºC. The number of sunny hours decreases to 5 daily, 7 hours in Ponta Delgada, as cloud coverage becomes heavier and more frequent. Though temperatures can rise to 21ºC some days, it does become much cooler in the evenings and at night so pack warm layers as well as loose-fitting clothing, a rain jacket, an umbrella, and rain boots. You will also still need sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses for sunny days as well as a swimsuit – sea temperature is still about 21ºC in October. (Average Max Temperature: 21°C. Average Precipitation: 114mm.)
Portugal Weather in November
- Mainland Portugal Weather in November: Portugal’s rainy season begins in November, but the country experiences more sun than the rest of Europe. The north has cooler temperatures whereas the Algarve remains pleasantly warm and sunny. You can expect rainy days for half the month with Porto and Douro Valley seeing almost twice as much rain than the Algarve. With an average high of 18°C, and a low of 11°C, warm clothing and rain gear will be necessary, but also light layers for during the day. The weather can be quite pleasant some days and the sea remains warm so beach days can still be enjoyed even in November – throw in your swimsuit just in case! (Average Max Temperature: 20°C. Average Precipitation: 110mm.)
- Azores Weather in November: November is the last month of hurricane season and one of the wettest months of the year in the Azores. Rainfall increases significantly to an average of 15 rainy days, with a total of 133mm expected throughout the month. The daily average temperature is 18ºC with a low of 14ºC, and the daily number of sunny hours decreases to 4 across the region due to increased cloud coverage and fog. A 38% chance of a windy day makes for ideal surfing conditions when paired with the average sea temperature of 20ºC – but always check for hurricane activity in the area before signing up for a surfing excursion. Bring a swimsuit and sunglasses for bright afternoons, as well as a good quality rain jacket and waterproof shoes. Skip the umbrella due to high winds and plan to dress in layers, bringing some lighter weight clothing along with a sweater or two. (Average Max Temperature: 18°C. Average Precipitation: 133mm.)
Portugal Weather in December
- Mainland Portugal Weather in December: December is Portugal’s wettest and coolest month of the year, seeing an average of 120mm of rain. Portugal has a subtropical Mediterranean climate, with the average daily high now hovering around 15°C, and lows dipping as far as 8°C. The Algarve commonly remains pleasant and sunny, while the north experiences rain and lower temperatures. So be prepared for mild to cool temperatures and rainy, foggy days; an average of 18 out of 31 days sees rain and fog. Warm clothing, layers, and a good quality rain jacket and rain boots will be necessary – an umbrella may not be as useful as winds can be high in certain areas like the Sintra Mountains and along the coast. (Average Max Temperature: 17°C. Average Precipitation: 120mm.)
- Azores Weather in December: December is the first month of winter in the Azores, but the weather is a bit more consistent and predictable than the hurricane season months. The daily average temperature is 15ºC now with a low of 12ºC, and the daily number of sunny hours decreases to 3, (5 hours in Ponta Delgada). An average 16 rainy days are expected in December, along with 124mm precipitation. If you visit in December, be sure to bring a mix of clothing that allows you to dress in layers, including a thick raincoat, sweater, scarf, umbrella and warm, waterproof boots. Nights can be quite cool, so packing a sweater or two for evenings is also advised. (Average Max Temperature: 17°C. Average Precipitation: 124mm.)
Portuguese Events and Festivals
Portugal in January
- New Year’s Day: January 1, New Year’s Day, is a national holiday in Portugal. Public transported will be limited and many businesses closed, although most shops and attractions in main cities like Lisbon and Porto will be open. Special concerts to welcome the New Year are often hosted.
- Dia de Reis/Epiphany: Three Kings’ Day takes place annually on January 6th. This religious holiday celebrates the arrival of the Three Kings at the stable where Jesus was born, marking the end of Christmas. Many families have a traditional meal, groups of carolers sing from house to house and Portuguese children traditionally receive gifts.
Portugal in February
- Volta ao Algarve: A bicycle race, the “Tour of the Algarve” includes the participation of the world’s greatest cycling stars, covering over 700 km divided into 5 stages throughout the region’s roadways.
- Fantasporto International Film Festival: Porto’s international film festival and recognized as one of the leading film festivals in the world.
Portugal in March
- Carnaval: Brazil’s famous Carnival celebrations can be traced back to Portugal. Also called Entrudo, Carnaval is the biggest festival of the year in Lisbon and throughout the country. Various cities celebrate differently, but festivities nearly always include vibrant costumes and elaborate parades. The high point of celebration is Carnaval Tuesday, which is a public holiday.
- Lisbon Half Marathon: The most popular race of the year in Portugal, the Lisbon Half Marathon brings more than 35,000 runners from across the globe to run the course that follows along the river and the coast.
Portugal in April
- Lisbon Fish & Flavors: Held over 11 days during the first half of April, Lisbon Fish & Flavors is an iconic gastronomic event that features fresh seafood served by some of the most prestigious international and national chefs and restaurants. Attendees can take part in cooking classes and wine pairing events, as well as watch the pros at work during live cooking demos.
- Easter Weekend & Holy Week: Portugal is a strongly Catholic country and Easter is celebrated in a very religious manner here by holding reverent street parades, usually accompanied by lively song and dance for a full week. There are various Easter events and traditional customs throughout Portugal that vary by location, but there is much commonality as well, with traditional displays strongest in country areas (though cities will have their processions and events as well). Expect many business closures and limited public transportation especially during Easter Weekend.
- Freedom Day: This Portuguese public holiday is celebrated every April 25th, marking the Carnation Revolution that saw the end of Portugal’s nearly 50-year dictatorship (the longest in Europe). The holiday is celebrated with concerts, especially in Lisbon, as well as the annual Corrida da Liberdade, or Freedom Run.
- Music Days in Belem: A 4-day music festival and a marathon of concerts, intended to be a different way of promoting access to classical music. Visitors also have an opportunity to explore the building of the Centro Cultural de Belém, a landmark of modern Portuguese architecture, and relax at the esplanades offering wonderful views over the river.
- Óbidos International Chocolate Festival: This chocolate-focused festival is hosted for four days in the town of Óbidos. The narrow streets of the medieval town are transformed into showcases of cakes and sweets that everyone can sample and purchase. Festival-goers can attend culinary classes and also watch competitions involving professional pastry-makers.
Portugal in May
- Labour Day: Held on May 1 every year, this “day of the worker” is celebrated by many countries around the world, including Portugal. Many attractions and shops will be open in main cities, but you can expect some business closures.
- Madeira Flower Festival: A two-week-long flower festival to celebrate springtime takes place every year after Easter. There are days dedicated to children building flower murals, artists designing floral carpets, and a Flower parade of floats decorated with thousands of blooms from across the island.
- Festa das Cruzes: In the beginning of May, the Festival of the Crosses in the town of Barcelos is the first annual great pilgrimage in the Alto Minho region. The event provides a glimpse of the history, traditions, and customs in the Minho region. The city awakes to the sound of fireworks, “zabumbas” (tambourines), and bagpipes that announce the animated festivities to come. The main procession of the festival takes place on May 3.
- Queima das Fitas: Celebrated during the first week of May, this is Coimbra’s annual celebration for new graduates. This student celebration is to mark the end of the academic year and the beginning of the month of final exam prep. It has become a large tourist attraction for its parades, dances, and serenades.
- Peregrinação de Fátima: In 1917, 3 shepherd children claimed to have seen an apparition of the Virgin Mary 6 times in the town of Fátima, and hundreds of thousands of believers make a pilgrimage to the site each year. The largest pilgrimage takes place annually on May 13 to commemorate the anniversary of the first apparition.
- Iberian Mask Festival – Celebrated annually in mid-May, the Iberian Mask Festival is one of the most popular festivals in the country. People dress up in costumes and masks, there are concerts, exhibitions, a showcase of handcrafted goods and regional products, competitions, and more.
- ARCO Lisboa: An international contemporary art fair held over four days in mid-May, ARCO Lisboa brings together both renowned and emerging artists as well as 40 international galleries.
Portugal in June
- National Day: Also known as Dia de Camões and celebrated on June 10, National Day commemorates the death of Portuguese poet Luís Vaz de Camões, one of Portugal’s most influential literary figures, and celebrates Portuguese history and culture. Public transportation will be limited and many businesses closed, although most shops and attractions in main cities like Lisbon and Porto will be open.
- Santos Populares/Lisbon Sardine Festival/Feast of St. Anthony: Portugal’s most revered saints are celebrated in June in a series of festivals known as Santos Populares. One of the most popular the Feast of Saint Anthony, which launches 3 weeks of festivities known as Festas de Lisboa. Festas de Lisboa is a mixture of processions, street parties, parades, concerts, theater performances, and more. The Feast of Saint Anthony sees the most action and the wildest street parties, grilled sardines, and an elaborate parade.
- São João Festival: Celebrated across Portugal as part of Santos Populares, the Feast of Saint John the Baptist is of pagan origin and associated with the celebration of the summer solstice. The day is marked with fireworks, concerts, dancing and the interesting tradition of hitting each other with garlic or plastic hammers. It is the biggest festival in Porto.
- Rock In Rio Lisboa: One of Lisbon’s biggest annual events, this festival at Bela Vista Park is held over nine days in late June. It brings a jam-packed lineup of music and entertainment, including world-famous musicians and internationally renowned DJs.
- Corpus Christi: Also known as the Body of God or Dio de Corpo de Deus, Corpus Christi is one of Portugal’s major religious holidays, commemorating the Last Supper of Jesus and celebrated 60 days after Easter. Expect some closures of businesses.
- Arraial Lisboa Pride: The annual Pride festival in Lisbon takes place in late June. Held annually since 1997, it is the biggest LGBTQ event in Portugal.
- Sanjoaninas: The Azores’ biggest festival takes place in June in Angra do Heroísmo, Terceira, celebrating local traditions and customs and dedicated to St. John. Highlights are the elaborate processions, concerts, dancing, sporting competitions, and the Sanjoaninas Bullfighting Festival.
- Serralves Em Festa: Three-day contemporary arts festival in Porto. Hundreds of artists, workshops, guided tours, and exhibitions, as well as performances of music, dance, and theater.
- EDP Beach Party: A huge two-day beach/electronic dance music party in Matosinhos, just north of Porto, on Praia do Aterro Norte.
- Festa dos Tabuleiros: The Festival of Trays is an ancient cultural celebration that takes place every four years in the town of Tomar in Central Portugal. Hundreds of young girls process down the streets with elaborate trays of bread and beautiful paper-flowers balanced on their heads, to be showered with more flowers from above.
Portugal in July
- Ponte de Lima Horse Fair: One of the country’s biggest horse events is held in July in the North of Portugal.
- BAIXAnima Street Festival: This popular festival features street music, dance, theater, and circus every weekend from the first weekend of July to the last weekend in September in downtown Baixa, Lisbon.
- Super Bock Super Rock: Hosted over three days in mid-July at Parque das Nacoes in Lisbon, this music festival features some of the top Portuguese and international rock artists to the city.
Portugal in August
- Jazz em Agosto: The most important annual jazz event in Lisbon of the year features concerts throughout August by world-acclaimed musicians in an open-air amphitheater, including some with free admission.
- Assumption Day: Portuguese Catholics celebrate The Assumption of Mary on August 15, an official public holiday throughout Portugal. Expect closures and busy beaches as many locals take the day to go to the beach.
- MEO Sudoeste: Large, five-day pop music festival that takes place every August in Odemira, in southern Portugal. Currently sponsored by telecoms company Meo, the festival has been running since 1997.
Portugal in September
- Madeira Wine Festival: In Funchal, this wine two-week wine harvest festival is celebrated with concerts and sound and light shows, and offers festival-goers a chance to partake in the old local tradition of picking grapes with the harvester groups.
- Happy-Holi Festival: A music festival in Lisbon inspired by the Indian “Holi,” to celebrate the joy of life, this event features all types of electronic music along with explosions of color. Every 45 minutes festival-goers toss vibrantly-colored powders into the air, creating multi-hued magic and music.
- Festival de Sintra: The town of Sintra hosts a three-week long festival dedicated to classical music and opera, with events held in the town’s palaces and gardens, plus a concert for kids.
Portugal in October
- Fatima Pilgrimage: On October 13, pilgrims return to the site of the reported apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Fatima, to mark the last of the six claimed sightings.
- Republic Day: October 5 is a public holiday in Portugal, commemorating the fall of the Monarchy and beginning of the Republic in 1910. Most shops, restaurants, and attractions will be open in the larger cities, but public transport runs on a Sunday schedule, and government offices, banks, schools, and post offices will be closed.
- Moda Lisboa: The oldest independent fashion week in Europe presents the newest collections of Portuguese designers.
Portugal in November
- All Saints Day: Portugal celebrates All Saints Day on November 1 as a national holiday to honor the dead. Similar to Halloween, children go out in the morning knocking on doors asking for the “bread of God.” Many Portuguese honor the dead by cleaning and placing flowers on graves of loved ones.
- Web Summit: One of the world’s top technology conferences, this tech event draws some 50,000 to Lisbon over four days in early November. Past speakers have included president of Microsoft Brad Smith, CEO and co-founder of Pinterest Ben Silbermann, and CEO and founder of Medium, Ev Williams.
- Lisbon & Sintra Film Festival (Leffest): This is one of Portugal’s main film festivals, featuring film exhibitions from across the globe. Held for a week in mid- to late-November attracts famous actors and filmmakers in addition to hosted workshops, masterclasses, and art exhibitions.
Portugal in December
- Independence Restoration Day: December 1 is a public holiday across Portugal, commemorating the 1640 Portuguese revolt against Spanish rule. There are few official events and most businesses will be open as usual.
- Feast of the Immaculate Conception: December 8, the annual celebration of the Immaculate Conception, is an important religious day and a public holiday in Portugal. Families come together to enjoy large feasts and attend mass.
- Christmas Markets: There will be several Christmas Markets open throughout much of December, including the Rossio Christmas Market in Viseu, the Natalis-Lisbon Christmas Fair, the Christmas Village in Obidos and the Christmas Bazaar at Quinta Fonte do Bispo, Santa Catarina, Tavira. Each with broad displays of products, gifts, cooking demos, music, and entertainment.
- Christmas Holidays: Christmas Eve brings midnight mass to Portugal’s churches while Christmas Day is a national holiday with most establishments closed, although there will be some restaurants open.
- New Year’s Eve: On December 31, New Year’s Eve, there will be parties throughout Portugal, as well as special dinners, festivities, cruises, and free fireworks displays over cities like Porto, Albufeira, Lisbon and the island of Madeira.