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Portugal Weather in December

View of the cityscape of Porto from Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
Portugal sees quite a mild cold weather in December with temperatures lying between 15°C and 9°C in a few areas

Portugal packs quite a bit of diversity in terms of its weather in December. While the coastal areas of the country receive rain owing to a wet Mediterranean winter, inland areas are comparatively dry. Lisbon has pleasant sunny days with temperatures averaging between 15°C and 9°C. A rainy period lasting ten days is to be expected during this month. Lisbon nights are considered one of the warmest in December in Europe, ideal for long post-dinner walks and a tonne of Christmas market visits.

Algarve is at its wettest in December, with 95 mm of rainfall and temperatures between 18°C and 9°C. Despite the cloud cover and rain, there is a sporadic burst of sunshine of at least five hours in this part of the country, making it worthwhile for a quick sunbathing. In the country's north, Porto sports mild weather with an average temperature between 14°C and 7°C. However, it is in December that it receives the highest rainfall of nearly 181mm spread over 15 days.

To check out what Portugal offers the rest of the year, keep our travel guide on the best time to visit Portugal by your side.

Weather in Portugal in December - Rainfall and Temperatures

Avg Daily (°C)151619202226282827231815
Avg Nightly (°C)891112141718191815129
Avg Daily (°F)596166687279828281736459
Avg Nightly (°F)464852545763646664595448
Avg Rainfall (mm)10085536854164633101128127

Why Visit Portugal in December

Surfer at the Atlanctic ocean beach. Algarve, Portugal
December is the time when you can master the winter waves in Portugal
Skier skiing downhill in high mountains against blue sky
Portugal's mountains become the perfect spots for skiing and surfing during the cold weather

Due to its southwesterly location on the European continent, Portugal is comparatively warmer than most of Europe in December. But apart from its favorable winter weather, there are plenty of other reasons that makes Portugal a steal deal in December.

  • Less cost: December being a low season, you can expect a significant price slash on both accommodation and flights. Discounts on accommodation bookings can go as high as 50 percent during this month. Plan and book your flights early as airlines might run a reduced service during this low-demand season.
  • Fewer crowds: As the country braces itself for winter and the water off its coast becomes unfit for swimming, crowds across the country thin out. The only exception is the latter half of December when the holiday crowd comes in full throttle to celebrate Christmas and new year.
  • Christmas market: Portugal is primarily a Catholic country, so it is no surprise that December sees Christmas markets mushrooming almost everywhere. Lisbon has a handful of them, like the Wonderland Parque Eduardo VII Market and the Christmas Campo Pequeño Market. Just an hour away from the capital, Obidos Vila Natal is where you should head out to see a Santa Claus farm. Down in Algarve, the Vila Vita Christmas Market emulates a traditional German Biergarten. Here you can gorge on German goodies like grilled sausages and lebkuchen (German biscuits).
  • Surfing: Portugal is a well-known destination for winter surfing, especially Ericeira, with its six-feet-high swells attracting a lot of seasoned surfers. Tame the waves during the day and enjoy a charming surfing culture by night. For a bit calmer waves, head to Algarve instead.
  • Ski resorts come to life: With a colorful coastal culture, it is hard to imagine that there is a pocket inland where you can enjoy a quintessential winter holiday in Portugal in December. The mountainous terrain in the country's center and north receives ample snowfall and becomes ski-ready in winter. Serra da Estrela is a popular skiing destination in the country.

Where to go and what to do

Cityscape of Lisbon in the beautiful sunset. Portugal
Indulge yourself with a quaint tour of Lisbon while experiencing the history of the city

Portugal's varied climate in December means you can indulge in diverse activities across the country. Slip in your swimsuit and hit one of the beautiful beaches in Algarve or slip on a pair of skis to whoosh down a snow-packed slope in Estrella, just a few hundred kilometers away. Soak in the colorful cosmopolitan vibe while on a tour of Lisbon laced with centuries-old history. Climb the Belem Tower, chow down some pastel de nata, or party in Pink Street. If your travel plans are interrupted by a sudden rain, get aboard the historic Tram 28. Satiate your internal oenophile with a wine-tasting tour in the Douro Valley. For some natural therapy, step into the hot spring paradise of Azores. If you are lucky and it is raining, a light shower from above coupled with a pool full of thermal water works wonders for your sore muscles.

December is the onset of winter. Much of the country sees at least some rainfall during this time of year. Therefore, Portugal winds down as a beach destination during this month. However, now is when nature and culture lovers troop down to check out many of its historic monuments and wonderful landscapes, all the while enjoying scrumptious food. The weather in Portugal in December is mild, a refreshing relief from the biting European winter.

If you are wondering how many days to spend in Portugal, we recommend a 10-day trip as the ideal length to witness all the must-see highlights of the country. If you are strapped for time, a week-long trip would also be a fun time, though not as extensive. Experience the country's highlights on a custom trip to Portugal in December designed by our local experts.

So start planning your trip to Portugal in December right away!

Other Related Articles:
Portugal in November
Portugal in January
Portugal private tours
Portugal group tours

Portugal tours in December
Published by Lucas Toft, updated on April 2, 2024

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