The months of March, April, May, or September are the best time to visit Portugal for heavenly weather and a peaceful atmosphere. This time of year is the sweet spot in the shoulder season, with fewer crowds, heat, and cheaper prices.
However, figuring out the best time to visit Portugal for you isn’t quite that simple. Portugal is a year-round destination and each season has its own benefits. In my travels of Portugal I’ve learned a lot about the best time to visit Portugal in the process.
I’m here to give a complete breakdown of everything you need to know about the best time to visit Portugal for your trip. Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
- When is the Best Time to Visit Portugal?
- Portugal Travel Seasons
- Portugal Weather and Climate
- Tips for Visiting Portugal
- Avoid Visiting During the Summer Months
- Get Your International Driver’s License
- Take a City Break at a Beach or Mountain Town
- Keep Up With Information About Fires
- Comfortable Shoes Are a Must
- Weather Differs Across Portugal’s Regions
- Consider Travel Insurance
- Get Restaurant Reservations During the High Season
- Tipping Isn’t Common in Portugal But is Appreciated
- FAQs About The Best Time to Visit Portugal
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When is the Best Time to Visit Portugal?
The best time to visit Portugal is from March to May, or in September. During this time, the weather is radiant, it’s less busy, and the prices are more affordable than in the high season.
The spring season is universally one of the best times to visit Portugal. But, choosing a season to visit still depends on a myriad of factors. Your budget, the Portugal destinations you visit, the activities you want to do, and your tolerance for crowds are all things to consider.
Let’s break down the best time to visit Portugal for every possible circumstance:
When to Visit Portugal for Good Weather
Everyone wants to feel the warm embrace of sunny skies on their trip to Portugal. The best time to visit the country for this type of weather is in late spring from April to May. The country is just coming back to life after the winter rains and you’re practically guaranteed spectacular weather on a daily basis.
When to Visit Portugal for Cheap Prices
If you’re on a backpacker budget in Europe, then the cheapest time to visit Portugal is from January to February. This is right in the dead of the winter season, though and the weather can be unpredictable.
It rains most days and has an average temperature of 30 degrees Fahrenheit at night. In northern Portugal, the weather gets even colder than in the south. Sea temperatures fluctuate too.
So, it won’t be the beachy summer vacation with endless days baking in the sun. However, prices in the winter drop dramatically. There are lots more accommodations to choose from and there will be a less touristy vibe in general. If your #1 concern is getting low prices on your trip to Portugal, the winter is the season for you.
When to Visit Portugal for Sunny Beach Days
Can’t stand the cold and need to recharge your battery with some hot, sunny days on the beach? I’ve got you covered. Just visit Portugal in the summer months from June to August. Getting out on the remote Atlantic coast beaches during the warmest months of the year is the best way to soak up the sun.
Just be aware that the summer season is the most popular time for tourists visiting Portugal. It will be very crowded around this time, especially around the beachy areas.
When to Visit Portugal to Avoid Crowds
Want the chance to experience Portugal’s top attractions without the chaos of big crowds? Then you’ll probably love visiting during the shoulder season.
There are usually fewer crowds and lower prices if you visit Portugal in the months right before or after peak season. It’s that transition period between seasons. In Portugal, this happens from May to early June and September to mid-October.
In my opinion, visiting Portugal during this time of year can work for almost any type of traveler.
When to Visit Portugal for Surfing
Portugal is one of the premier surfing destinations in the world. The best part is that, depending on the season you visit, it can provide the ideal environment for any skill level. For surfing newbies and children, visiting between June and September is the best time for learning. Alternatively, if you’re a pro, visit Portugal in April, May, or October for bigger waves.
👉 Pro Tip: If you’re staying in the northern urban area of Porto and need a city break, consider a day trip to Costa Verde. It’s a gorgeous coastline that makes for a picturesque classroom for learning the art of surf.
Portugal Travel Seasons
🌼 Spring (March-May)
Spring is the best season for visiting Portugal, in my humble opinion. May is especially lovely because of the perfect weather conditions – it has an average temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spring is also great because it comes without the summer tourist crowd. Prices are still deflated from the lull of winter, too.
👉 Pro Tip: Be aware that there are some holidays in Portugal around this time that can change the vibe a bit. Like Holy Week in early April.
☀️ Summer (June-August)
June to August is one of the most popular seasons for tourists to visit the beautiful country of Portugal. The bright, sunny summer days are constant with average temperatures of 80 to 85 degrees. It’s ideal weather for lounging on one of Portugal’s many beaches.
However, the summer can get abrasively hot in the middle of the day. It’s also one of the peak times for tourist traffic. So, if you’re visiting during the summer, be prepared for scorching temperatures, high season prices, and big crowds. This is especially true in major cities like Lisbon and Porto.
It helps to find a central place to stay in Lisbon with aircon, so you can head back for quick breaks from the heat!
🍂 Autumn (September-November)
The fall season in Portugal occurs from early September to late November. It’s another one of the best seasons to visit the country with average temperatures of 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Now that the summer is coming to a close, Portugal gets a little more affordable and a little less crowded. Autumn is also one of the ideal seasons for professional surfing in Portugal.
❄️ Winter (December-February)
Most people’s first instinct wouldn’t be to visit a new place during the winter months. But, December to February can be a great time to travel to Portugal for certain kinds of travelers. There are much fewer crowds and it’s the best season for saving money on a trip to Portugal.
It does get pretty cold during the winter, but it’s more of a rainy season. Be prepared for some rainy days and bring some layers because the temperature drops at night.
Portugal Weather and Climate
The weather in Northern Portugal is about ten degrees colder than in the southern region of the country. The farthest north cities, like Braga, stay a little chillier all year round.
Here, the average temperature hovers around 55 degrees Fahrenheit with higher levels of wind and rain. Especially in the winter months of January and February. You need to be a little more prepared for unpleasant weather when you’re visiting the northern parts of Portugal during the winter.
Central Portugal is a little milder than its northern neighbor. Temperatures tend to stick around 70 degrees Fahrenheit through the majority of the year. In the winter, it can get all the way down to 40 degrees, and rains about every other day. The wind is a bit less intense in this region too. The summers are hot, but not very humid.
Lisbon is very similar to the central region of the country in terms of weather. It’s quite hot and dry in the summer with clear skies basically every day. Then, in the winter months, it turns a little colder with wind and rain. The temperature in this region varies from 45 degrees Fahrenheit to 85 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year.
Speaking of Lisbon, check out our guide to what to do in Lisbon to plan your trip!
👉 Read Next: Best Day Trips from Lisbon
The Algarve (Southern Portugal)
The Algarve, the mainland’s southernmost region in Portugal, has some of the best weather in the country all year round. This Portuguese region experiences less intense summers and more mild temperatures than the rest of the country.
Even in the dead of Portugal’s winter season, the average temperature is still right around 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
In the Azores, also commonly called the Hawaii of Europe, the temperatures stay dreamy from winter to summer. It’s usually between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Since it’s a series of stunning tropical islands, the Azores do get a decent amount of rainfall with 30 to 45 inches of rain per year depending on the island. There is more rain from September to March in the Azores.
If planning a trip to the Azores, don’t miss Lea Rose’s guide to the many fun things to do on Sao Miguel, the largest island.
Tips for Visiting Portugal
Avoid Visiting During the Summer Months
Portugal is easily one of the best places to visit in Europe, but the summer months from June through August are the hottest and busiest time of the whole year. It’s also a lot more expensive around this time. It’s peak season for tourism.
You can get the same gorgeous weather without all the crowds by visiting Portugal during the fall or spring instead.
Get Your International Driver’s License
If you plan on driving around Portugal at any point during your trip, you’ll need to grab yourself an International Driver’s License. You might not be asked for it, but it’s still good to have. You can easily get your IDP from AAA for $20. Just make sure you get it before you leave.
🚗 Where to Rent a Car: If you’re going to be renting a car in Portugal, the best way to get a fair price is by comparing suppliers’ offerings. So, before you commit to anything go on Discover Cars first to compare all your deal options.
Take a City Break at a Beach or Mountain Town
The big cities in Portugal, like Lisbon and Porto, are captivating and fun. But, sometimes you just need a break from it all to get back in touch with nature. Luckily there are lots of little towns and villages with a more natural setting. Plus, they are all easily accessible from major cities by bus or train.
Try visiting a few towns in the mountains or by the beach of Portugal.
Keep Up With Information About Fires
Especially in the summertime, fires are a real concern in certain parts of Portugal. In most tourist-heavy areas you probably won’t come across a fire. Still, it’s always better to stay on top of the fire news in your region during the hotter seasons for safety.
Comfortable Shoes Are a Must
Portugal is a famously hilly place. You’ll be relying on your shoes a lot, so make sure you invest in a high-quality, comfortable pair. For men, I’d recommend these Merrell travel suede hiking shoes. For women, I’d choose the New Balance FuelCore Nergize V1 Sneaker. Both are versatile and very comfortable.
For more must-packs for Portugal, check out Sky’s Portugal packing list.
Weather Differs Across Portugal’s Regions
Even though Portugal is a fairly small country, the weather can vary drastically from north to south. The winter in Douro Valley looks very different from the winter in the Algarve. Do a bit of research beforehand and make sure you’re prepared for the weather in whatever region you visit.
Consider Travel Insurance
Portugal is one of the safest countries in the entire world. Still, accidents can happen anywhere.
TravelInsurance.com is a comparison site for comparing quotes on travel insurance from dozens or even hundreds of providers at once.
For medical insurance, Genki is a new subscription service that caters to digital nomads and long term travelers.
Genki provides extremely affordable medical cover for longer stays. It's really targeted at digital nomads who want health cover as a recurring subscription.
- Affordable monthly medical coverage
- Simple claims process
- Only medical - not full travel insurance (no gear, theft, or trip delay coverages)
Get Restaurant Reservations During the High Season
If you’re planning on visiting Portugal during the high season, you’ll want to be prepared ahead of time. Booking accommodations and activities in advance is one way to save yourself a headache.
You should also plan on making reservations ahead of time at restaurants. There are a lot of hungry tourists exploring Portugal during the high season and it can be difficult to find a table.
Tipping Isn’t Common in Portugal But is Appreciated
Tipping isn’t the norm in Portugal. However, it’s always appreciated when you feel like you have been given exceptional service. I always tip in Portugal for sit-down meals or other types of hands-on services. But, you’ll get some strange looks if you tip more than 10% for services.
FAQs About The Best Time to Visit Portugal
What month is best to go to Portugal?
May is the best month to visit Portugal. It is long after the rainy winter season and right before the rush of the summer. May provides beautiful weather and more affordable prices for cheap travel.
However, the entire spring season is a very nice time to explore Portugal. The fall season from Mid-September to early November also has many of the same benefits as the spring.
What is the hottest month in Portugal?
July is the hottest month in Portugal with an average daily high of 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat is especially strong during the middle of the day in July. It doesn’t cool down much until September.
What is the cheapest month to go to Portugal?
January is the cheapest month to visit Portugal. It’s right in the middle of the winter low season. The weather can be a little unpredictable with many rainy days. Less people visit Portugal around this time, so it drives the prices way down. It can even be half the price of the high season.
Is Portugal Crowded In June?
Portugal starts getting very busy with the high season in June. The summer attracts a lot of people to Portugal’s beaches. The crowds come in fast and by mid-June, most places in the country are packed with people.
What is the best month to visit Lisbon?
Similar to the best time to visit Europe in general, the best month to visit Lisbon is September. The warm weather from summer is still lingering around the city. But, the winter season and holidays like New Year’s Eve celebrations aren’t even close yet. The fall season in general is a comfortable time to visit Lisbon without all the hectic crowds.
How many days in Portugal is enough?
Visitors need should plan to spend at least a week in Portugal to get the full experience of one region or city. It’s enough time to see all the major attractions.
Even seven days might not be long enough for some areas, though. There are a lot of things to do in Portugal and it can ruin the trip to rush through it all. Even with a month or more in Portugal, many visitors are still hungry for more time.
🗓️ Read Next: Best Time to Go to Spain
Thanks for reading my guide to the best time to visit Portugal! If your travels will be taking you through the rest of Europe, don’t miss our comprehensive backpacking Europe guide.
Have a blast on your trip to Portugal!
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