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The Best Time to Travel to Portugal

Before visiting Portugal, read more about the pros and cons of each season to decide when the best time to visit is for you.

 
Thanks to its prime location on the sunny Atlantic Coast in southern Europe, Portugal is a wonderful destination for year-round travel. While it's true that Portugal has fair weather throughout the year (even winters in northern Portugal are relatively mild), some seasons or times of the year are better to visit than others depending on what you want to do.

The Best Time to Travel Portugal

What is the best season for visiting Portugal?

From springtime blooms to the balmy summer months, here's what each season in Portugal has to offer, as well as, which regions and destinations are best to visit at each time of the year.

Spring (March to May)

Best For: Hiking, Cycling, Walking, City Tours, Cultural Immersion

With its pleasant temperatures, blooming flowers and reduced crowds, the spring season is one of the best seasons to visit Portugal. Temperatures aren't too warm yet, allowing you to enjoy the beaches and coastal areas like the Algarve which sees extreme summer temperatures.

The famed Portuguese countryside flourishes during this time, boasting lush vineyards and picturesque landscapes. Moreover, spring is an excellent time to witness cultural festivities such as Easter processions and the parades and festivities of Holy Week. In the Azores, spring is also an especially good time to go whale-watching, with chances to see migratory blue and fin whales in April and May.

As a shoulder season, spring is also an excellent time to explore major cities like Lisbon and Porto before they get too crowded (and expensive) during the summer season. Late spring is an especially good time to visit popular destinations like the Azores and Madeira, allowing avoidance of the summer crowds while still taking advantage of the lovely weather.
 

Summer (June to August)

Best For: Beach Time, Cities out-of-season

With the mild temperatures of spring giving way to warm weather and hot days, summer is the peak season for tourism in Portugal. Coastal areas like the Algarve will be at their most spectacular, but also their busiest and most crowded. But in some cases, the crowds are worth it to experience these destinations at their summertime best with sunshine, azure skies and bustling beach resorts.

Early summer (such as early June) can still be a bit chilly with lower sea temperatures, so July and August are when the beaches and coastal towns get busy. If you want to avoid the saturated beaches in the south, check out the Costa Verde region in northwestern Portugal. 

Cities like Porto and Lisbon will also be crowded for summer break. But as many locals take a break in summer and head to the coast, especially in August, cities may be a bit more peaceful. If you love cultural events and having a good time, you might consider visiting in June for the popular Saints Festivals that take place throughout the country.

Autumn (September to October)

Best For: Hiking, Walking, Cycling, Food Tours

Like spring, the shoulder season of fall is another good time to visit Portugal. The summertime crowds are gone and the balmy, dog days of summer are replaced by milder temperatures and weather.

The autumn season is an especially good time to visit Portugal for foodies and wine lovers, as you can see and participate in grape harvest activities in the Douro Valley in northern Portugal. Visitors will get to see hillsides covered in orange, red and yellow colours as fall foliage moves in. With the comfortable temperatures, fall is a fantastic season for outdoor activities like hiking and cycling as well.

The vineyards of the Douro Valley aren't the only place in Portugal to see the changing colours, though. Fall is a great time to head to central Portugal and watch the leaves change in beautiful forests like Buçaco National Forest.

Winter (November to February)

Best For: Walking, Cycling, Cultural Immersion

Thanks to its year-round mild temperatures, the winter season is a great time to visit Portugal for several reasons. For one, it's low season for most parts of the country, so you'll be able to find the best deals on flights, accommodations and activities.

During the low season, you won't have to deal with big crowds and long lines at all the popular destinations. If you want to visit Lisbon or Porto, this is the season to do so as well for fewer crowds at the best museums, restaurants and tourist districts.

November and December do mark the rainy season, making this an ideal time for indoor cultural immersion like touring museums and visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It can also get chilly in the north of the country, so you'll want to pack accordingly.

The southern Alentejo region, with its charming countryside and medieval villages, offers a cozy retreat during the winter months. Additionally, winter is an ideal time for food enthusiasts to savour Portugal's hearty cuisine, indulge in local specialties, and warm up with a glass of port wine.

 

Best time to visit Portugal by destination

Portugal (Mainland)


Whether you want to explore the colourful city of Lisbon, cycle along the Algarve or walk the dramatic coastline of Ponta de Piedade, the best months for comfortable weather and fewer crowds are in the Spring (February to March) or Autumn (September to October). The summer months are equally as wonderful, but the temperatures will be higher and crowds greater.  


The Azores


Hop between the lush islands of the Azores from May to October for the best weather, with lots of sunshine, comfortable temperatures and little rainfall. There will be whale-watching boat trips at this time of year too, and the aquamarine seas will be calmer. 


Madeira


Madeira is a year-round destination with warm and sunny weather throughout the year. Due to Madeira's mountainous topography, the north of the island gets more rainfall than the south, and the south typically has more hours of sunshine each year. Explore the Levada trails of Madeira in the spring to see a spectacular display of exotic flowers burst into bloom, and to avoid the busy summer crowds.

When is the best time to visit Portugal for budget-friendly travel?

If you want to explore Portugal on a budget, the best times to visit are spring, autumn or winter. Shoulder and low season will offer reduced rates on everything from airfare to hotels, helping your dollar go further. But the good news is that even during summer, Portugal is still a very affordable destination.

Plan your Portugal getaway

No matter what you want to do, whether it's wine tasting in the northern valleys or surfing along the Atlantic coast, Portugal proves itself to be a year-round destination worth exploring in all seasons. Start planning your trip to visit Portugal now.

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