Portugal in Winter: Revel in the Breathtaking Weather

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With mild temperatures and fewer crowds, Portugal in winter provides a perfect escape for those looking to discover the country’s cultural and natural splendors in a serene setting. From November to February, you can enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of the country’s historic cities and villages, indulge in local cuisine, and wonder at the gorgeous landscapes wrapped in lush greenery. The weather conditions are perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking and cycling (even surfing if you visit in the latter half of winter) along the stunning Algarve coastline. If you are taking a trip to Portugal during the peak winter months of December and January, you can even enjoy snow sports in Serra da Estrela.

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Weather and Temperature in Portugal During Winter

Sunny day with blue sky and clouds in Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon is known for it sunny days and clear skies during the winter months.

Winter in Portugal is known for its mild weather and comfortable temperatures all year round. Because of its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, temperatures rarely fall below freezing, making it a suitable destination for all seasons.

The winter months in Portugal start in November and last till February when the country experiences average temperatures of 10 °C to 16 °C. Expect the temperature to be colder in the northern region of Portugal, with an average temperature ranging from 6°C to 14°C. Central Portugal, which includes cities such as Lisbon and Coimbra, is known for its sunny days and clear skies during the winter months.

Rainfall can be heavier and more constant in some areas, such as the Azores. However, most of Portugal experiences pleasant, sunny days with a few scattered clouds during the winter.

The wind patterns in Portugal during winter are generally light and variable, with stronger winds near coastal areas. Snowfall occurs exclusively at the highest elevations of the Serra da Estrela mountain range in Portugal.

  November December January February
Avg high 18°C (65°F) 15°C (59°F) 15°C (59°F) 16°C (61°F)
Avg low 12°C (54°F) 9°C (49°F) 8°C (47°F) 9°C (49°F)
Rainfall (mm) 128 127 100 85

For a seasonal overview, check out our guide on the best time to visit Portugal.

Other related articles:
Portugal in November
Portugal in December
Portugal in January
Portugal in February

Why Visit Portugal in Winter

Street view of Alfama district on sunny day
Take advantage of the low tourist season by taking leisurely walks around the calm and quiet Portuguese towns.

The winter season in Portugal offers a unique and compelling experience for travelers. Here are some reasons why you should plan a trip to Portugal during winter:

  • Fewer crowds: Portugal is extremely busy during the summer season. Visiting the country in winter allows you to enjoy the country's attractions without having to deal with tourist crowds at major sites. You'll have more freedom and time to explore historic cities, museums, and gorgeous landscapes.
  • Festivals: Besides the grand and colorful festivities of Christmas and New Year’s Eve, Portugal also celebrates “Epiphany” in January. The day marks the official end of Christmas celebrations. To commemorate the day, certain towns and cities hold parades and processions.
  • Outdoor activities: While many summer activities in Portugal revolve around beaches and water sports, the winter season offers a diverse range of activities. There's much to keep you busy during your winter in Portugal, from skiing in the Serra da Estrela mountains to wine tasting in the Douro Valley.
  • Lower prices: When visiting Portugal in the winter months, you can take advantage of the off-season discounts on lodging, tours, and activities. This allows you to save money while still enjoying everything the country has to offer.

Top 3 Destinations in Portugal During Winter

Portugal is a beautiful country to visit any time of the year, and during the winter, there are plenty of destinations that are worth exploring. Here are some of the top places to visit in Portugal during the winter season:

1. Lisbon

Christmas tree on Commerce square at twilight in Lisbon in Portugal.
Lisbon comes alive with holiday cheer as twinkling lights, and the Christmas market create a magical atmosphere.

Portugal’s capital city is a great destination year-round, but during the winter months, it takes on a special charm. The city is decorated for the holidays and there is a festive mood in the air, with Christmas markets and street performances everywhere. While you are on a trip to Lisbon, you can also explore Alfama and Bairro Alto, which are less crowded and easier to explore.

Major attractions: Belem Tower, Jeronimos Monastery, Sao Jorge Castle, the National Museum of Ancient Art, and the Lisbon Oceanarium.

Pros:

  • Mild weather conditions make it easier to explore the city.
  • Various musical concerts and art exhibitions are held during the winter months.

Cons:

  • Rainy days can be more frequent in winter, which may limit outdoor activities.

2. Madeira

Landscape with Seixal village of North Coast in Madeira Island.
Escape to the captivating village on the North coast of Madeira and experience the perfect blend of rugged natural beauty and cozy charm.

If you want to escape the winter chill, consider a trip to the island of Madeira. This subtropical paradise is known for its mild weather year-round and offers plenty of outdoor activities such as hiking, whale watching, and wine tasting. Madeira is also known for its stunning natural beauty.

Major attractions: Pico do Arieiro, Monte Palace Tropical Garden, Cabo Girao Skywalk, Madeira Botanical Garden, and Laurissilva Forest.

Pros:

  • The winter season is the perfect time for whale watching and other marine activities.
  • The island’s traditional Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations are a must-see.

Cons:

  • The island’s traditional Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations are a must-see.

3. Porto

Porto is a compact city in Europe that is a great summer destination.
One of the smallest destinations to visit in Europe, Porto nevertheless is full of highlights and places to explore.

Porto is another popular destination in Portugal. During the winter, the city offers a cozy atmosphere, with Christmas markets and concerts throughout the holiday season. Porto’s historic center is a Unesco World Heritage Site filled with stunning architecture and cultural attractions. Winter is also the perfect time to sample the city’s famous port wine.

Major attractions: Ribeira, Dom Luis I Bridge, Porto Cathedral, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, and Douro River.

Pros:

  • The winter season is perfect for trying the traditional Port wine and mulled wine.
  • Accommodation and flight rates are lower during the winter months.

Cons:

  • Some restaurants and cafes may be closed or have reduced hours during the winter season.

Top Activities During Winter in Portugal

A hiker resting in the top of the mountain and admiring the beauty.
Experience the thrill of hiking amidst stunning vistas, and discover hidden trails while on your winter trip to Portugal.
Hot thermal springs in Furnas village in Portugal.
Enjoy a relaxing bath after a day of exhilarating adventures during your winter trip to Portugal.
  • Wine tasting: Portugal is well-known for its exceptional wine, and the winter is a beautiful time to immerse yourself in the country’s wine culture. Enjoy a wine-tasting tour in the Douro Valley, known for its port wine, or the Alentejo region, renowned for its rich red wines. You can also learn about the winemaking process and sample some of the world’s top wines.
  • Hiking and nature walk: The winter provides an opportunity to enjoy the natural wonders of Portugal’s magnificent landscapes. Explore the Serra da Estrela Natural Park, Portugal’s highest mountain range, or the Rota Vicentina, an Algarve hiking path network. With its rough mountains, waterfalls, and wildlife, the Peneda-Geres National Park is another excellent hiking spot.
  • Take a thermal bath: Portugal has various hot springs and thermal spas, which are especially appealing during the winter months. Many are situated in picturesque settings, providing a stunning backdrop while you enjoy a relaxing bath to unwind and recharge your travel-weary body.

Travel Tips to Visit Portugal in Winter

  • Although Portugal in winter sees mild temperatures, it can still get chilly at night. So it is best to bring clothes that you can layer. It is also advisable to bring a waterproof jacket and sturdy shoes for walking on possibly slippery conditions.
  • Consider the shorter daylight hours during the winter months while planning your outdoor activities.
  • As Portugal in winter is the low season, keep in mind that some attractions and restaurants may be closed or have shortened operation hours.
  • If you intend to attend any winter festivals or events, it is recommended that you make reservations or buy the ticket in advance.
  • While Portugal's cities are popular year-round, winter is a great time to visit the country's charming smaller towns and villages, where you can experience a more authentic side of Portuguese culture.

Portugal in winter is a perfect vacation spot for individuals seeking a tranquil and laid-back vacation experience. Portugal’s renowned attractions are less crowded and less expensive around this time of year. You can immerse yourself in many experiences, ranging from mountain treks to indulging in the luxurious hot springs to relishing delectable stews and reveling in lively festivities.

If you are planning a winter trip to Portugal, then you have certainly made the right decision. Embark on a journey tailored to your preferences with our customized trip to Portugal. Reach out to our travel experts for a more personalized experience, ensuring every moment of adventure is uniquely crafted to create an unforgettable memory.

Published by Astha Joshi, updated on May 12, 2023

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