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Portugal is a unique country – one that is an ancient mystery and a relaxed modern nation at the same time. In fact, Portugal is one of Europe’s oldest nations. A visit to Portugal will be full of brilliant architecture, bustling port towns that were the centre of world power for quite a while, affordable wine, and food. Portugal is a pretty small country, so if you plan your trip carefully, you will be able to explore all of its offerings in a brief period of time.
In order to plan your Portugal trip with care, you have to know what the best time to visit Portugal is. Once you know what the weather in Portugal is like, you will be able to plan your adventures accordingly.
- Best time to visit: April – June, September – October
- High Season: July – August
- Low Season: November – March
- All Seasons: April – June (spring), June – August (summer), September – October (fall), November – March (winter)
- Ski Season: December – February
- The best time to visit Portugal is in spring (between April and June), and in fall (between September and October). These are the shoulder months, so the weather will be warm enough, and the hotel rates will be much cheaper.
- The high season to visit Portugal is between July and August, when Europe has its annual summer vacation, and the tourists descend on the country.
- The low season is between December and March, when the rains start, and certain areas start freezing. It is not recommended to travel during these months, as many resorts will also begin to shut down.
- There are some skiing options available in north–eastern Portugal, and the season is between December and February.
With its stunning vistas and evocative landscapes, Portugal is definitely a country worth visiting. It’s the country from which one of the oldest and grandest empires of the world arose, and you will be able to find this ancient charm and strong– in every nook and corner of the country even today. Traveling in Portugal is a gift of its own – you will be with some of the loveliest people in the continent, and you will be rewarded with sights you would have never expected (oh– and let’s not forget the extremely comforting food, that’s what will make you want to stay back in the country for good).
If you want to travel to Portugal, you need to know when to visit Portugal and the best time to travel to Portugal. Its best that you avoid the area during the winter, as it gets wet and rather dreary, but you can travel during the other months – you just have to choose between spring, summer, and autumn based on your budget, which areas of the country you want to travel, and whether you want to avoid the crowds!
1. April to June – Spring / Good Season
April – June is always the perfect time to go to Portugal, and for a number of reasons. Wildflowers begin to bloom in the fields, and the temperature during the day is pleasant and mild. There won’t be too many tourists in the country this early in the year, so you won’t have to worry about high cost of tourism or accommodation. Some places might still be opening up in April, after a hiatus in the winter, so you might not find a lot of options very early during the season.
- Avg. Temperature: 59 – 70° F / 15 - 21° C (in Lisbon)
- Rainfall: 1 – 158 mm
- Season: Spring
- Highlights: This is a really good time to do outdoor activities – especially since the ocean water will be cool. The beaches in Algarve and Alentejo are spending during this season, and they will be relatively free, compared to summer. This might be a good time for you to go to Madeira, or Azores as well. No matter where you go, there will be enough summer outdoor festivals to keep you occupied during this time – so keep an eye out for fliers promoting local celebrations, including Easter Celebrations (in April), the Fatima Pilgrimage, Sintra Festival of music and arts (both in May), the Gay Pride Festival in Lisbon (in June). The two biggest festivals of this period are the days of Santo Antonio, and Sao Joao, both in June.
2. July to August – Summer / High Season
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that summer is the busiest season in Portugal. This is the warmest period during the year, when the sun shines at its brightest. Owing to the holidays in rest of Europe, the streets of Portugal will swell with a number of tourists, starting from end of June. By July – August, you can expect the price of accommodation to go up at least 30%, and a number of people competing for your spot on the local bus. If you wish to travel during this season, it is recommended that you book well in advance.
- Avg. Temperature: 73 - 75° F / 23 - 24° C (in Lisbon)
- Rainfall: 4 – 5mm
- Season: Summer
- Highlights: The weather will be quite hot, but this is a good time to visit pretty much any part of Portugal. The waters will be warmer than they were in the previous season, making swimming much easier in Algarve, Alentejo, and more. The coastal resorts will be at their busiest. You can go to the Tall Shops Race in Lisbon (in July), Funchal Jazz Festival (in July), or the Madeira Wine Festival, in August.
3. September to October – Fall / Good Season
The fall descends with a lot of pomp and show, with the yellows and reds taking over the countryside. Towards the coast, the arrival of fall is signalled by the departure of the tourists from summer. This will leave a lot of coastal resorts rather empty – a perfect situation for those who want to enjoy Portugal’s riches without sharing. Prices of accommodation and travel will drop quite a bit following the high season, so this is a good time to travel on a budget, without missing out on any experiences within the country.
- Avg. Temperature: 66 – 73° F / 19 - 23° C (in Lisbon)
- Rainfall: 10 – 63mm
- Season: Fall
- Highlights: This is a great time to head towards southern Portugal, and relax by the coast, as the sea will get slightly chillier. Madeira looks especially stunning during this period and a great time to explore the city. The Madeira Nature Festival is celebrated during this season. You should definitely not miss the Madeira Wine Festival that starts off with Folklore Celebration and goes on to a live grape harvest! If you’re in Porto Santo, celebrate Christopher Columbus with the Columbus Festival, in mid September!
4. November to March – Winter/Low Season
Winters can be a dull and dreary affair in Portugal. This is when the wet season starts (especially earlier on in the season), and a lot of the resorts and smaller accommodations close down. The smaller towns go into a lull, but you can expect Lisbon to be up and active, especially around Christmas time. If you are a fan of skiing, there are a few slopes that are open, but Portuguese ski slopes aren’t as famous as their Swiss or French counterparts.
- Avg. Temperature: 52 – 57° F / 11 - 14° C (in Lisbon)
- Rainfall: 37 – 119mm
- Season: Winter
- Highlights: Lisbon is absolutely stunning during Christmas time, with all the decorations, the Christmas markets and the delicious food. If you’re a fan of skiing, you should head towards the Serra de Estrela, where the ski slopes open and remain so till end of March. An event you should definitely not miss during this season is the Carnival. Portugal has deep connections with Brazil, and celebrates the Carnival with as much pomp and splendor. Algarve goes all out with their celebrations, and you’ll definitely want to be there.