Portugal: When to Visit
Best time for Good weather: May to October
Best time for Sightseeing: April to June, September to October
Best time for Honeymoon: June to October
Best time for Saving Money: March to May, September to October
Lisbon: April to June, September to October
The Algarve: September to October
Porto: April to June
The Azores: April to June
Peniche: September and October
Coimbra: March to May
Viana do Castelo: May to June, September
Parque Nacional da Peneda-Geres: April to May
Best time for Wine Country: September to October
Best time for Surfing: September to November
Best Time for a rural stay: Turismo no Espaço Rural (TER), Although available all year round, spring, early summer and autumn are the best times to visit.
Best Time to Visit Portugal
Best Time to go to Portugal: The best time to visit Portugal is in the spring (March to May) or early fall (September to October) when the crowds are less, prices for accommodation are lower, the rainy season has either ended or not begun yet and the temperatures will be warm enough but not as scorching as the summer season. Swimming can still be possible in the early fall as the waters can be warm enough and the mild temperatures in the spring are ideal for hiking and walking the numerous hills of Lisbon and Sintra.
When to book Hotels: For the Azores, Algarve, Lisbon and Porto it’s recommended to book your hotel 4-8 months in advance for not only savings but availability. The Azores have limited accomodation options and therefore advance booking is highly recommended. Mainland Portugal has plenty of options and very good value compared with other western European countries.
Best Time for Sightseeing: The best time to enjoy sightseeing throughout Portugal is typically April and May, and around mid-September through mid-October. The weather is pleasant, and the crowds are lesser than mid to late summer. There are an number of festivals and events taking place during these times, hikes are more manageable with lower temperatures and 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 all year round except for July and August when the weather is hottest but crowds are also bustling. For sightseeing the best time to visit is between April to June, for ideal weather, transportation, and activities.
Best Time for Good Weather: Mainland weather is different from that of the islands. For the mainland, the best time for good weather is between April to June and September to October. For the Azores is is April through to September, the other months can be cool and rainy.
Best Time for Surfing:
Portugal has every type of surf spot available with over 1,800 kilometers of coastline, plus the Azores Islands. 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 surf spots
Surfing is possible all year round, however the most consistent months and biggest swells are during the autumn and winter. Between September and November is the ideal season for surfing with a combination of predominantly favourable winds, consistent west swells and good weather, whereas the winter months are stormy and potentially more dangerous.
Best Time for Wine:
Awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 2001 the Douro Valley was the first demarcated wine region in the world. September to October is the best time to visit for both the buzzing activity of the grape harvest season, great scenery and comfortable temperatures for walking or cycling through the valley. A whole set of 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, being a micro climate this means the temperatures are often in the high 30ºCs or even hotter, so not ideal for walking or cycling.
Best time to Visit Lisbon: *this was pulled from the Lisbon article*
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:
Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and only a 40 minute train journey from Lisbon, Sintra is a popular day trip destination. Known for its variety of palaces, castles and charming town, Sintra is home to one of Portugal’s most famous tourist attractions, the Palacio de Pena, as well as the Castle of the Moors and the Palacio Nacional de Sintra. Palacio de Pena is an incredibly colourful palace situated at the top of the hills and surrounded by forest. Due to its popularity, it is recommended to visit first thing in the morning before the large crowds and tour buses arrive. The park is open by 9:30 am in the summer months, with the castle opening at 10:00am. Be sure to purchase tickets online in advance as queues can be quite long. Since 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. During these times crowds will be less, winds at the top can be higher during winter months, and a hike, if desired, will be possible with the milder temperatures and less chance of rain. 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 southern coastline of Portugal, the Algarve is 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 for enjoying the region without the crush of tourists, chaos of partying college students and overwhelming summer heat. In late spring the temperatures are warm enough for laying on the numerous beaches, exploring the dramatic sand cliffs and enjoying the charms of the historic little towns. Early autumn can be ideal for swimming in the turquoise waters, kayaking through the picturesque caves and visiting the popular viewpoints, like Ponta da Pieda. The most popular towns with a good mix of great beaches, lively nightlife, suitable for families, and good restaurants, history and 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:
The second largest city, Porto is a popular tourist destination best known for its picturesque, medieval riverfront. Porto’s Ribeira district is a UNESCO World Heritage site and directly across from the port-wine lodges of Vila Nova de Gaia. As it is a northwestern coastal city, Porto’s weather is both temperamental and cooler than Lisbon, with more rain being one of the wettest cities in southern Europe. The best time to visit Porto, is in either late spring, May to June, or early autumn, between September and October. 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:
Chosen as one of Lonely Planet’s top places to visit in 2017, the Portuguese archipelago 1500 kilometers off the coast in the North Atlantic Ocean is abundant with activities, sightseeing and history. The get the most out of your trip to the Azores, April to June is the best time to visit the islands. These months have excellent availability of activities, sights, transportation and hotels. The stormy winter season tends to end by March, whereas temperatures and crowds begin to rise by July. For ideal inter-island transportation, the AtlanticoLine ferry system runs between April to October and domestic flights, tours and boat trips are more frequent during these warmer months. For the best chance of staying at a top-rated hotel it is recommended to book in advance since hotels on the islands are limited. Travelling during April to June will also offer better rates, sometimes 30-40% cheaper than the high peak summer months. For avid photographers or nature lovers, the island foliage is in full bloom between March and June and the ideal whale-watching season takes place between April and June since the migratory routes of cetaceans overlap the most during this period. With Azores being a top whale-watching hotspot in the world, there are many kinds of dolphins and whales to spot in the Azorean waters. The biggest event, Santo Cristo Festivities, takes place in Ponta Delgada & Sao Miguel, between April and May. Every year thousands of immigrants from the islands 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.
Portugal Travel Seasons:
High Season: July to August
Since the weather is hot across the country, this is a good time to visit any part of Portugal. However, because of holidays in the rest of Europe, the summer season months are when Europeans take their annual summer vacation so the streets, beaches and sights of Portugal are busy and bustling. Accommodation prices increase by 30%, local transportation options are crowded and sold out so booking in advance is recommended. Tourists descend on the Algarve and Coastal resort areas due to the hot peak summer temperatures and warmer ocean temperatures.
Shoulder Season: April to mid-June and mid-September to October
Milder temperatures are ideal for hiking and outdoor activities. Peak festival season is June with non stop events and activities. Prices are average but hotel prices can be higher in September. Colder ocean temperatures in Spring mean less chances of swimming but the waters can sometimes still be warm enough in early Fall. Some smaller accommodation options may not be open until later on in April due to the winter hiatus so options can sometimes be limited but prices are lower.
Low Season: November to March
The rain season begins by mid November and continues until March. Higher elevation areas of the country begin freezing and many resorts will be shutdown. Prices are lower and crowds are fewer however popular attractions will have shorter hours and availability. In the north-eastern part of the country skiing options are available between December and February. Serra de Estrela is the highest mountain range in Continental Portugal with skiing remaining open until March. Smaller towns quiet down during the winter season but Lisbon is full of festivity during Christmas time with decorations, Christmas markets and festival food.
Weather of Portugal:
For the purpose of this article, we’ve broken down the weather into mainland Portugal and the Azores. Mainland Portugal referring 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 regards to Mainland weather, typically the Algarve region is 5ºC warmer than the national average temperature and the north is about 5ºC cooler. The south typically experiences Mediterranean weather with mild winters and hot summers. The northern coast is warmed by the Gulf Stream, so winters are still mild and summers are very warm but the 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 in weather conditions due to the topography of the islands, and it is not a tropical paradise since temperatures are mild or cool for many months of the year. The temperatures tend to be 5ºC cooler and the precipitation 20-60mm more on the western islands like Flores and Pico, whereas the average temperatures and precipitation below are based off of 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 far as 0ºC to -4ºC. The north-eastern 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 and it is also the second rainiest month, with an average of 11 rainy days. You will need warm winter clothing, layers are a good idea, 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 is at its height 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, with rainfall for two thirds of the month and very strong winds. January can be a beautiful time to visit since the natural landscapes are more rugged and wild but and rain will be plentiful. To be prepared for the weather pack warm layers and waterproof gear. A good quality rain jacket & rain boots will be necessary since strong winds can make an umbrella useless. Layering is important since temperatures are mild but not freezing. Also pack a swimsuit since most water activities will not be possible 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 are still below freezing, so areas such as Serra de Estrela will have skiing open 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 is still necessary with rain sometimes appearing unexpectedly and temperatures falling 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, with temperatures being much colder and rainer on Flores and Corvo. The skies are very cloudy with only 4 hours of daily sunshine and an average of 19 rainy days. Since it is the coldest month of the year 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 more winter temperatures and weather with skiing season continuing into March, whereas Central and Southern Portugal experience less rain and and more sunny days. Some winter clothing may be necessary such as light sweaters and layers, a lighter jacket and rain gear, but you may want to bring some warm weather clothing as well as the temperatures do increase later on in the month. (Average Max Temperature: 21°C. Average Precipitation: 53mm.)
Azores Weather in March: March is considered to be the last month of winter in the Azores, and can be described as mild and damp. With a daily average temperature of 16ºC and low of 11ºC, rainfall also lessens in March with an average of 17 rainy days, and the daily number of sunny hours increases to 4.5. The weather in March is a consistent mild warmth allowing 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 since 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. In April an average of 10 days can be expected, especially in the later half of the month, where the temperature reaches between 21°C and up to 26°C. The highest-ever recorded temperature for April was 30°C. However an average of 8 rainy days are expected in April so pack a light jacket, layers for cooler days and evenings but make sure to also bring t-shirts, dresses, shorts, sunglasses and sunscreen for the 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 the layers in April and enjoy the spring sun. (Average Max Temperature: 23°C. Average Precipitation: 55mm.)
Azores Weather in April: The first month of spring on the islands, April is the beginning of the best time to visit the Azores with the weather improving, activities becoming available and the inter-island ferry system providing service to all the islands. With a daily average temperature of 16ºC and low of 12ºC, rainfall also lessens in March with an average of 13 rainy days, and the daily number of sunny hours increases to 5. Warmer temperatures and drier days makes April a great time to visit since it is still considered low season on the islands. Pack a sweater for the cooler evenings, layers will allow you to be prepared for any temperature and a good rain jacket and waterproof shoes will be ideal for the 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 is when the weather stays consistently warm throughout the country during the day. Temperatures do dip after sunset so a nice light jacket or cardigan will be needed for the evenings. For over half the month temperatures will be higher than 21°C and you can expect five or six days where the temperature reaches between 26°C and up to 30°C. The highest-ever recorded temperature for May was 35°C. You will get to enjoy 14 hours of daylight, an average of 9 hours of sunshine which means if spending time near the coast or on the beach, make sure to apply sunscreen every 2 hours since sun reflecting from the water will reflect and increase UV exposure. (Average Max Temperature: 25°C. Average Precipitation: 32mm.)
Azores Weather in May: May is the month when the islands begin to have drier weather and the threat of rainfall is not as frequent. With a daily average temperature of 16ºC and low of 13ºC, rainfall lessens in May with an average of 12 rainy days, and the daily number of sunny hours increases to 6. Cloudy skies are only expected 13% of the time in the Ponta Delgada area and the chance of windy days also decline in May. May is a great time to enjoy the lush green landscape of the Azores, bright and in full bloom due to the rainy winter season. Pack comfortable hiking clothing like shorts and long sleeves, a change of socks incase 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 16 mm expected. You can expect temperatures to be above 21°C for 25 out of 30 days with at least 7 days being over 30°C. The average June high is 23°C, with a low of 16°C. Despite the warm temperatures the ocean waters will still be too cool for long swimming but expect to re-apply sunscreen every 2 hours since 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 season 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, and the daily number of sunny hours increases to 7 near the end of the month. Sea temperatures also 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 as temperatures do not drop below 15ºC even in the evenings. Bring a swimsuit, sunglasses, hat, sunscreen and light layers along with a light jacket which will be nice to have when whale watching or travelling 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, other than August. Temperatures are at their maximum in July, with an average high of 27°C, and a low of 21°C. Rainfall and clouds are rare during July, with the average monthly rainfall being only 6 mm – usually in the form of a quick thunderstorm. With 11 hours of daily sunshine definitely pack sunscreen to apply every 2 hours, plus a hat, lightweight clothing, open-toe shoes and your swimsuit as the ocean waters are warmer than in June and on scorching hot days swimming is a welcome activity to keep cool. July and August are the busiest months to visit the Algarve since the locals and Europeans flock to the region for its beaches and coastal resorts to keep cool. (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 it can feel much warmer with the increased humidity during the day. The humidity luckily breaks in the evening allowing for a more comfortable sleep. The daily average low is 16ºC – rarely dipping below even in the evenings. Rainfall is at a minimum in July with an average of 9 days with rain, and the daily number of sunny hours increases to 7.5, with Ponta Delgada enjoying 9 sunny hours. With sea temperature increasing to 22ºC in July as well as the temperatures of the natural pools and waterfalls available amongst the islands, it will be a good idea to bring your swimsuit to enjoy the variety of swimming options across the islands. With only 25 mm of rain expected, leave the rain jacket or umbrella at home. Instead, bring loose, lightweight clothing, open-toed shoes, as well as sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat. (Average Max Temperature: 24°C. Average Precipitation: 25mm.)
Portugal Weather in August:
Mainland Portugal Weather in August: August is the other hottest month of the year, with warm temperatures and virtually no rainfall. With an average high of 28°C, and a low of 18°C, August is another prime month to spend at the beach, enjoying the warmer ocean waters and clear skies. Pack shorts, tshirts, dresses, sunscreen, sunhat and sunglasses. No need for a rain jacket or umbrella, with 11 hours of daily sunshine be mindful of UV rays near bodies of water since sun reflecting from the water will reflect and increase UV exposure. (Average Max Temperature: 30°C. Average Precipitation: 6mm.)
Azores Weather in August: August is the hottest month of the year and the month with the most sunshine, averaging at 8 hours per day. The weather is hot, humid, and reasonably dry. With a daily average temperature of 22ºC and low of 18ºC, sea temperatures also increase to 24ºC making swimming a popular activity to escape the heat and humidity. Some days in August average up to 90% humidity however the offshore wind helps to cool things down and the nights are usually less humid. August also marks the beginning of the hurricane season which runs until November. The islands sit inside the hurricane belt so there is the risk of a hurricane developing or the islands being impacted by a hurricane nearby. Therefore the chance of rainfall increases slightly in August with an average of 10 days with rain. 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: The hot weather continues into September, with hotter temperatures in the Algarve, while temperatures on the north-west 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 when 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 the UV index number does decrease from August but remains quite high in September. Plan to pack light summer clothing, sun hat, sunglasses, swimsuit and sunscreen and 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. It is very warm, humid, and damp with bright sunny days. It is still hurricane season so the chance of precipitation is higher with 84mm expected over 10 days, and with it the 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. Even with the chance of bad weather caused by a hurricane nearby, some nights are a balmy 24ºC – perfect for dining alfresco, albeit a little muggy from the humidity. Swimming is a great escape from the heat and humidity and with the 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 and many visitors do go swimming and the cool Atlantic winds provide a comfortable breeze along the western coast during the day. Rainfall increases as autumn sets in with an average of 101mm, however the Algarve region gets only an average of 55mm in October. The average number of sunshine hours decrease to 6 hours daily by the end of the month and evenings can be chilly so plan to pack some light layers for the day and warm clothing for the nights along with an umbrella and rain boots. (Average Max Temperature: 25°C. Average Precipitation: 101mm.)
Azores Weather in October: October is the start of the autumn season in the Azores, and can be summarized as mild and damp. There are plenty of warm days and cool nights but as it is still hurricane season the level of precipitation increases as the month progresses, with an average of 13 rainy days expected. Some rainy days are light but heavy downpours are common in October with 114mm of precipitation expected during the month. The daily average temperature is 18ºC with a low of 15ºC. The number of hours with sunshine decreases to 5 hours daily, 7 hours in Ponta Delgada, as cloud coverage becomes heavier and more frequent. Though some days the temperature can rise to 21ºC 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 still need sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses for the sunny days and your swimsuit since the sea temperature is 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 does experience more sun than rain in comparison to 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 so 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 autumn in the Azores and is one of the wettest months of the year. 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 cloudy coverage and fog. Rainfall increases significantly in November as it is the last month of hurricane season with an average of 15 rainy days, a total of 133mm expected throughout the month. There is also a 38% chance of a windy day which 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. While you may want to bring a swimsuit you may also want to bring sunglasses for bright afternoons, as well as a good quality rain jacket and waterproof shoes. Skip the umbrella due to the 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: This is the wettest month of the year with an average of 120mm of rain and is one of the coolest months of the year as well. Portugal has a subtropical Mediterranean climate so the average daily high hovers around 15°C but the low can dip to 8°C. The Algarve can remain pleasant and sunny while the north experiences more rain and lower temperatures. So be prepared for mild to cool temperatures and mostly rainy and foggy days, with an average of 18 out of 31 days being rainy and foggy. 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 when visiting the castles and palaces on 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 little more consistent and less unpredictable than the hurricane season months. The daily average temperature is 15ºC with a low of 12ºC, and the daily number of sunny hours decreases to 3, with 5 hours in Ponta Delgada. An average of 16 rainy days are expected in December with 124mm precipitation on average. Nights can be quite cool so layers are a good idea along with a sweater or two for the evenings. 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. (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 the country. 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 every year on January 6th. This day is not a holiday but 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:
Fantasporto International Film Festival: Porto’s international film festival and recognized as one of the leading film festivals in the world. In 2019 it takes place February 22 – March 2.
Tour of the Algarve: A bicycle race, the Volta ao Algarve takes place from February 20 to 24 in 2019. It includes the participation of the world’s greatest cycling stars, covering over 700 kilometres divided into five stages throughout the region’s roadways.
Portugal in March:
Carnaval: Also called Entrudo, Brazil’s Carnival celebrations can be traced back to Portugal. It is the biggest festival of the year in Lisbon and is celebrated throughout the country, various cities celebrate slightly differently, but the festivities nearly always include vibrant costumes and elaborate parades. With the high point being Carnival Tuesday, which is a public holiday on March 5 in 2019.
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 in mid-March. In 2019, it will take place on March 17.
Portugal in April:
Lisbon Fish & Flavors: Held over 11 days during the first half of April, April 4-14 in 2019, Lisbon Fish & Flavors is an iconic gastronomic event that features 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 by holding reverent street parades, usually accompanied by lively song and dance for a full week. There are various events and traditional customs to be seen throughout Portugal. These can vary from one part of the country to another, but there is much commonality as well. Traditions are strongest in the country areas, but the cities will have their processions and events as well. Expect many business closures and limited public transportation especially during Easter Weekend. While some years Easter is in March, in 2019 Easter Weekend begins with Good Friday on April 19 and Easter Sunday falls on April 21.
Liberation Day: Liberation Day is a Portuguese public holiday celebrated every April 25th, marking the Carnation Revolution, which 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 four-day music festival taking place from April 25 to April 28 in 2019, this is a marathon of concerts, intended to be a different way of promoting access to classical music. During the intervals, visitors will have an the 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 festival focused on chocolate is hosted for four days from April 25 to May 5 in 2019, in the town of Óbidos. The narrow streets of the medieval town are transformed into genuine 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, Labor Day 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, in 2019 running from May 2 to May 19. There are days dedicated to children building flower murals, artists designing flower carpets and a Flower parade with floats decorated with thousands of the island’s flowers.
Festa das Cruzes: In the beginning of May, the festivity 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, uses 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, May 6 – May 10 in 2019, it 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 due its parades, dances and serenades.
Peregrinação de Fátima: The Apparitions of Fátima have turned the town of Fatima into one of the world’s major centres of the Marian cult. The Fatima Pilgrimage takes place on May 13. It is the largest pilgrimage of the year to the town of Fatima where, in 1917, three shepherd children claimed they’d seen an apparition of the Virgin Mary six times.
Iberian Mask Festival – Celebrated in mid-May, May 16 to 19 in 2019, 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, May 16 to 19 in 2019, 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, celebrate on June 10, it is a commemoration of the death of Portuguese poet Luís Vaz de Camões, who’s regarded as one of Portugal’s most influential literary figures. The day is also a time to celebrate all things Portuguese, including Portugal’s history, culture, language, and national achievements. Public transported 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 / Festa de Santo Antonio: June is the month of celebrations and festivities for the Popular Saints throughout the country. One of the most popular is known as the Feast of Saint Anthony, this festive day launches the 3 weeks of festivities during the month of June known as Festas de Lisboa. Festas de Lisboa it is a mixture of processions, street parties, parades, concerts, theater performances, and more. In 2019, taking place on June 12, the Feast of Saint Anthony sees the most action and the wildest street parties, grilled sardines, and an elaborate parade.
Festa de São João: Celebrated across Portugal as part of the 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. In 2019, it will be held on June 23.
Rock In Rio Lisboa: One of the biggest annual events of the year in Lisbon, this festival at Bela Vista Park is held over nine days in late June, June 22 – 30 in 2019. It brings a jam-packed lineup of music and entertainment, including world-famous musicians and internationally renowned DJs.
Corpus Christi: Corpus Christi, which in Portugal is known as the Body of God or Dio de Corpo de Deus, commemorates the Last supper the day before Jesus was crucified. The holiday is celebrated the Thursday following Trinity Sunday, which is 60 days after Easter. In 2019 it will take place on June 20. Expect some closures of businesses.
Arraial Lisboa Pride: The annual Pride festival in Lisbon takes place on June 23 in 2019. It is the biggest LGBTQ event in Portugal since 1997.
Sanjoaninas: The biggest popular festivities in the Azores, takes place in Angra do Heroísmo, Terceira. Tourists to the Azores are offered a visiting card to journey to Terceira island, in order to partake in and share in the Sanjoaninas traditions and customs. One of the highpoints of the festivities is the Sanjoaninas Bullfighting Festival. In 2019 the festival will be held from June 21 – 30.
Serralves Em Festa: One of the biggest contemporary arts festivals takes place during a non stop 50-hour period in Porto. The festival features hundreds of artists, music, opera, dance, performance, theatre, new circus, literature, cinema, video, photography, workshops, guided visits and exhibitions. In 2019 the festival will be from June 1 – 3.
EDP Beach Party: In Matosinhos, just north of Porto, one of the biggest beach parties in Europe takes place on Praia do Aterro Norte. In 2019 the 11th edition of the party will take place on June 29.
Festa dos Tabuleiros: Every four years, in the town of Tomar in Central Portugal, the Festival of the Trays takes place. It is one of the most ancient cultural and religious events in Portugal. The holidays’ origin is in the Harvest. It is a very colourful festival, with beautiful paper-flower decorations in the streets and ‘trays’ are carried by girls on their heads during the parade and are covered with flowers and loaves of bread. The next festival will take place June 29 to July 8 2019.
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. In 2019 the festival will take place July 4 -7.
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.
Super Bock Super Rock: Hosted over three days in mid-July at Parque das Nacoes, July 18-20 in 2019, 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. 2019 dates are from August 8 – 30.
Assumption Day: Portuguese Catholics celebrate The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary every 15 August, and this date is an official public holiday throughout Portugal. Expect closures and busy beaches as many locals take the day to go to the beach.
MEO Sudoeste: A large, five-day music festival, currently sponsored by telecoms company Meo, began in 1997. It takes place every August in Odemira, in southern Portugal. In 2019 the music festival is scheduled for August 6 – 10.
Portugal in September:
Madeira Wine Festival: In Funchal, the Madeira Wine Harvest Festival is celebrated with light, sound and music shows and has opportunities to partake in the old local tradition of picking grapes with the harvester groups. In 2019 the festival runs from August 25 – September 8.
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. In 2019, it will be hosted on September 10.
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. In 2019 this festival will take place from Sept 20 – Oct 14.
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 new collections of Portuguese designers, October 7-10 in 2019.
Portugal in November:
All Saints’ Day: Portugal celebrates All Saints Day on November 1 as a national holiday to honour 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, November 4-7 in 2019. 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 (2019 dates TBA) attracts famous actors and filmmakers in addition to hosted workshops, masterclasses and art exhibitions.
Portugal in December:
Independence Restoration Day: Portugal celebrates Independence Restoration Day on December 1, this national holiday remembers the day in 1640 when Portugal revolted against Spanish rule to regain its independence. There are few official events and most businesses will be open as usual.
Feast of the Immaculate Conception: This Portuguese public holiday falls on December 8. The Immaculate Conception is meant to be a patron feast day that celebrates Nose Senhora da Imaculade Conceição (“Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception”).
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.
January 5: 2:00pm – 4:30pm: 2.5
January 12: 2:00pm – 4:00pm: 2
February 8: 12:30pm – 6pm: 5.5
February 11: 3:00pm – 6:30pm: 3.5
February 12: 3:00pm – 5:00pm: 2
February 16: 2:30pm – 4:00pm & 8:00pm – 3:00am – 8.5
February 17: 1:30pm – 6:00: 4.5
Subtract 2 hours for content copied from Lisbon article.
Total: 26.5 hours