What Is The Best Time To Visit Portugal?

Best time to visit Portugal

What Is The Best Time To Visit Portugal?

 

It goes without saying, of course, that travel has been a little different recently. Perhaps you had a trip booked and your suitcase packed, or maybe you were just hoping to get away this Summer if you could – either way, the restrictions on travel due to the global pandemic have been frustrating for many. But still, the question is: What is the best time to visit Portugal?

Luckily, things seem to be moving towards a sense of normality now. So, with tourism back on the cards, is now the right time to start planning that trip to Portugal that you were hoping to go on? Well, not necessarily.

When you begin to plan a vacation, you want to know that you’re going to get the absolute most out of it and the time of year will certainly make a difference to this. It’s important to consider a number of different things, including the weather, local or national events and the number of fellow tourists who are likely to be descending onto the same area as you. 

 

Here, we’d like to consider some of those things for you, so that you can make the best decision for you on when to take that exciting trip to Portugal.

Best time to visit Portugal Chart

Best time to visit Portugal – Average Temperature and Rainfall Chart

Can I book my trip to Portugal right away?

Lisboa Portugal

As the ‘lockdown’ measures put in place worldwide to prevent the spread of Coronavirus begins to lift, not everyone in every country is free to travel around the world just yet.

For instance, if you are a citizen of the UK, you can travel to Portugal in theory, but this is not at all advised, and you will have to complete a mandatory two-week period of self-isolation upon returning home. American citizens, however, are currently prohibited from making non-essential travel to Portugal, and despite some United States airlines still selling tickets for flights to Portugal, you are unlikely to be allowed into the country if attempting to travel from the United States.

If you come from a country whose citizens are currently allowed to travel to Portugal, then you should be aware that it certainly won’t be business-as-usual upon entering the country, and that there are several changes to the experience of visiting Portugal that have recently come into place due to the pandemic.

International citizens visiting Portugal are currently subject to a number of tests once flights have landed. These include mandatory temperature checks, and potentially additional health screenings.

You must also present proof that you have taken a COVID-19 test within the 72 hours before the flight, and that you tested negative – if you cannot prove this, then you will either be required to take a test (with the cost of this being charged to you) and self-isolate until a negative result can be proven, or you may simply be refused entry into the country altogether and be asked to fly straight home.

With all this in mind, is now the best time to book a trip to Portugal? No. While citizens of many countries can travel to Portugal, the restrictions and strict tests upon entering the country may put something of a dampener on your vacation before it has even begun – and that’s only if you are not immediately turned back at the airport.

 

What time of year does Portugal have the nicest weather?

Best time to visit Portugal

 

When taking a vacation to somewhere that’s known for sun, sea and sandy beaches, you obviously want to visit at a time of year where the weather is nice enough to enjoy this. Luckily, Portugal’s weather is fairly consistent, and their winter isn’t anywhere near as harsh as many other European countries experience – it is known primarily for having a much warmer climate year-round.

However, that’s not to say that Portugal doesn’t experience spells of bad weather. Throughout November and December, Portugal begins to get far more rain than during the rest of the year.

The temperature is usually still mostly warm, and it is not to say that sunny days are off the cards completely – there is still plenty of sunshine to be enjoyed, but it is simply less consistent.

For that reason, if you’re hoping to spend two weeks sunbathing by the pool, these months are best to be avoided when booking your trip. Strangely enough, not all of Portugal is subject to this sudden temperature change.

The Algarve is known to stay relatively warm and sunny over the winter period, making it a popular destination for those looking for an off-season getaway. It is important to note also that while the weather may pick up ever so slightly during the first months of the year, January and February are still comparatively wetter in contrast to the other months.   

On the other end of the scale, the warm weather and sunshine reach its peak during the mid-summer months. June to August are traditionally the brightest and warmest months of the year in the country, having once seen temperatures reach an astonishing 117°f/47°c – perhaps ideal for some, but for many, this is simply too hot!

However, this is, of course, an extreme case, and the average temperature is usually a much more reasonable 79°f/26°c during the summer months. Still, this may feel like too much for certain tourists, especially those who aren’t as experienced with international travel, or come from traditionally cooler climates.

The temperatures usually tend to reach a happy medium from March to May, and during September and October. During these months, the temperatures are warm and pleasant, without being extremely hot, and tend to land somewhere between the 63°f/17°c and 79°f/26°c – much more manageable for the majority of travellers.

There are also changes in nature to be enjoyed during these two periods. Many beautiful Portuguese flowers begin to bloom during the Spring, while September and October are ideal visiting months for any wine connoisseurs out there, as the grape harvest is usually well underway in most vineyards at this time of year.

Here is a table of the average weather in Portugal:

Average low temperature Average high temperatureAverage water temperatureAverage rainfall (inch)
Weather Portugal January47°F8°C58°F14°C59°F15°C2.3
Weather Portugal February48°F9°C60°F16°C58°F15°C2
Weather Portugal March52°F11°C65°F18°C59°F15°C1.4
Weather Portugal April54°F12°C68°F20°C61°F16°C1.6
Weather Portugal May58°F14°C73°F23°C63°F17°C1.2
Weather Portugal June63°F17°C79°F26°C66°F19°C0.5
Weather Portugal July66°F19°C83°F28°C68°F20°C0.1
Weather Portugal August66°F19°C83°F28°C69°F21°C0.2
Weather Portugal September63°F17°C79°F26°C69°F21°C0.8
Weather Portugal October59°F15°C72°F22°C68°F20°C2.5
Weather Portugal November53°F12°C63°F17°C64°F18°C3.0
Weather Portugal December48°F9°C59°F15°C62°F17°C3.0

 

What annual events and festivities take place in Portugal, and when?

Festival Portugal

One thing that may influence your decision on when you book your trip to Portugal could be the events or festivities that are going on at any given time of year – whether you want to visit them for yourselves, or are hoping to avoid the large crowds drawn in by these. 

Here is a rundown of some of the popular annual events which take place across Portugal, and which time of year you can expect them.

The Portuguese Carnival celebrations take place during February or, occasionally, early March and are a lot like the carnival celebrations that you may usually associate with Brazil, or even London’s Notting Hill carnival event.

The event takes place at this time of year as it traditionally marks Shrove Tuesday, and is watched by huge crowds in the several different cities where it is celebrated, with Lisbon, Faro and Madeira being among the cities taking part.

March/April also see religious celebration being expressed through street parties and other processions, with many taking place across the country during Holy Week.

If you are planning to visit Sintra, then it’s worth taking note that the Festival de Sintra takes place during May, which is dedicated to showcasing classical music and opera in the town’s palaces and gardens.

Festival de Sintra Portugal

Festival de Sintra Portugal

 

 

 

As June arrives, so does the Feast of Saint John the Baptist, which usually takes place during the later weeks of the month. This is another characteristically lively celebration, marked by concerts, processions, dancing and firework displays – as well as an interesting tradition in which revellers hit each other with garlic.

These are just some of the many public festivals which take place over the year in Portugal – for information on further celebrations which may occur during your vacation, look online to see if there is anything planned in the cities you are visiting on the intended dates of your trip. 

 

Should I avoid the peak season? If so, when should I visit?

Beach of Carvoeiro Portugal

Peak Season at Beach of Carvoeiro, Portugal

If you aren’t a fan of huge crowds or are simply struggling to find the kind of accommodation you want during the height of the summer season, then you may be best advised to plan your trip for a different time of year.

Peak tourism season tends to begin in June and July, when schools close for the summer and last throughout August. In these times, expect crowded beaches, busy restaurants and fully-booked hotels.

However, the benefit of travelling during peak season is that there is plenty more to do. Many excursions and tourist attractions operate in the highest capacity over the peak season, either reducing availability or closing altogether during the later months of the year.

If you visit Portugal during the peak tourism season, then there is a full catalogue of different events, festivals and attractions to enjoy, some of which will not be available after the summer vacation period. 

That said, there are other benefits to travelling outside of the peak tourism season. Travelling during the Spring months, specifically between March and May, will allow you to enjoy a warmer climate than you may have found in the earlier months of the year, while still steering clear of the first influx of summer vacation tourists.

Many of the aforementioned seasonal attractions, such as parks and tours, also begin operating during the Spring, so there will still be a wide range of different activities and sights to enjoy – and you won’t have to join a much larger crowd in order to take part.

For those who would like a quieter vacation but aren’t quite as interested in the popular tourist attractions, then September and October could be the perfect time for your visit. The weather may start to shift a little, but is still warm on the whole, and there is likely to be far fewer tourists visiting at this time of year – so if you’re the type that likes to avoid the tourism tropes and live their vacations through the eyes of a local, then this is the time to do it.

As mentioned already, November and December are generally the wettest months of the year, making them a less attractive prospect for visitors, as the country has started to wind down for the winter. However, there is still plenty of sights to see, a wonderful range of bars and restaurants to visit, and the weather is still quite warm overall.

It may also be the case that you are able to find cheaper flights or hotels at this time of year, as the demand is far less, so if the value for money is a priority to you, then this could be the ideal time for you to visit. 

 

Final Thoughts

 

Overall, the date of your trip is entirely up to you and the party that you are travelling with, and your decision could rely on a number of different factors. Those who prioritise being able to enjoy the best of the weather may be more than happy to brave the crowds for a July vacation, while those who are eager to enjoy some local festivities may be better advised to plan their trip during the later weeks of February or earlier weeks of March.

If you are the type to crave a winter getaway, then any time from October to December may be perfect for you, as you get the best of both worlds – an overall warmer climate, but without the hustle and bustle of the main tourism season. 

Whenever you decide to go, our advice would be to do your research in full. Be sure that you know whether or not the time of year affects the price of your flights or accommodation, or whether or not there are any large events taking place that you may or may not wish to attend, and of course, what kind of temperatures you can expect while you are there. 

 

That said, whatever time of the year you eventually choose to book your trip to Portugal for, and wherever you eventually choose to stay, you are sure to have a wonderful time!