Best Time to Visit Portugal to Avoid Tourists
Visit: March-June, September-November
Portugal’s low season (and also the cheapest time to visit Portugal) is between November and March. Despite enjoying great weather year-round, in these winter months, cooler temperatures, shorter days and heavier rainfall keep the tourist crowds at bay. However, you will find that rain showers are often interrupted by clear blue skies which still allow you to enjoy the best that Portugal has to offer at this time of year. This is the best time to discover the Algarve’s authentic charm.
If you want to enjoy sunnier weather with few crowds, the shoulder season (which runs from March through June and September through November) is the best time to go to Portugal. During these months, temperatures stay mild at an average of 20ºC (68F) and tourist crowds are still thin.
Best Time to Visit Portugal for Adventure Activities
Visit: April-June, September-October
Adventure activities are best enjoyed in the milder temperatures of Portugal’s spring and late summer (April-June and September-October). At this time, the country’s landscape blooms with dazzling flowers and the sunny weather creates the ideal conditions to enjoy refreshing hikes and cycling tours through the country.
The hottest months of the year (July and August) are the perfect time of year to visit Portugal for water sports enthusiasts who can enjoy the warm waters of the Algarve or the fresher breeze of the Atlantic on the West Coast with a blazing sun to keep them warm. Surfing, for example, is a great sport to practice here year-round but you’ll see the biggest waves hit in the autumn and winter months.
Best Time to Visit Portugal for Festivals
Festivals are one of the most interesting ways to immerse yourself in a new culture and in Portugal, you’re in luck: our cultural calendar is filled year-round with festivals ranging from centuries-old traditions to religious celebrations and all kinds of music events. The first event of the year that you can’t miss is Carnaval (Carnival) in February. In cities like Torres Vedras, Funchal and Loulé, political satire and festive parades blend to create a unique version of this once-religious festivity. Just before Easter, Semana Santa (Holy Week) sees the streets of Portugal decked with flowers, lights and intense religious processions, in places like Braga or Fundão.
As summer approaches, Porto celebrates non-stop with 40 hours of contemporary art, music, dance, theatre, architecture and circus acts in Portugal’s largest arts festival – Serralves em Festa. From June 10th to June 13th, Lisbon uses a national holiday and Saint Anthony as the perfect excuses to fill the streets of Alfama with food stalls (try some grilled sardines with the locals!), cheap beer and lots of music. And Tomar keeps its ancient traditions at Festa dos Tabuleiros (Festival of the Trays) which has been taking place every four years since the 13th century.
Our summer music festivals (July/August) combine the best of both worlds: a beach getaway and the freshest sounds from Pop to Reggae and Alternative Rock. NOS Alive (Lisbon), Sumol Summer Fest (Ericeira), NOS Primavera Sound (Porto) and MEO Sudoeste (Zambujeira do Mar) are just some of the highlights. Later in the year, horse enthusiasts will love to visit Golegã for the Feira Nacional do Cavalo (National Horse Fair) where traditional horse competitions and shows date back to the 18th century.
Best Time to Visit the North of Portugal
In the North of Portugal, winters are chilly and wet while summers are warm and dry. For that reason, April through October will be the best months for you to visit. In these warmer months, temperatures stay mild at an average of 18ºC (65F) but can be warmer the further away you are from the coast.
Best Time to Visit the South of Portugal
Visit: December-January, June-September
The South of Portugal sees mild winters and hot summers, making it ideal to visit year-round. In January and December, temperatures (and sea temperatures) might be chillier but sunny days abound and tourist crowds are rare. To take advantage of the best that the southern coast has to offer, though, there is no better time to visit than the summer months (June-September) when the golden beaches of the Algarve become your refreshing escape from the sun.
Best Time to Visit Portugal to Beat the Heat
Visit: May-June, September-October
July and August are Portugal’s hottest months with temperatures soaring over 40ºC (104F) regularly in the Alentejo region and averaging 35ºC (95F) in the North. This is the best time to head to the coast and enjoy the fresh ocean breeze in the West and South of Portugal. However, if you’re planning to visit cities or explore Portugal’s green landscapes, May-June and September-October will be your best months to visit.
Best Time to Visit Portugal to Avoid the Rainy Season
Portugal’s rainy season runs from December through February, when most of the country sees its highest levels of rainfall. At this time, avoid Porto and its surrounding area at all costs as this is known to be Portugal’s rainiest region. Elsewhere in the country, you will find there are still some spaces between showers that give you a dry break to enjoy the scenery. You may even be able to enjoy a swim in the ocean in the Algarve! The mild weather here in February also makes this region perfect to kick off the cycling racing season with the Tour of the Algarve.
Elsewhere in Portugal, do keep in mind that, as this is the country’s low tourism season, attractions keep shorter opening times and some may even be closed.
Whether you prefer cool autumn days to hike in the mountains, a hot summer weekend to surf on the beach or fresh spring days to bike along the coast, Portugal always has something exciting to offer year-round. And the bottom line is, whichever time of year you choose to visit Portugal, you can always count on two things: plenty of sun and fun new adventures just waiting to happen.