Portugal has a special place in my heart. This southern European city has miles of stunning coastline, an expansive wine region, delicious seafood and big cosmopolitan cities. The weather is warm all year round and the country attracts all kinds of travelers, from surfers to wine lovers, beachgoers to history buffs.
So when is the best time to visit Portugal? Well, that depends on what you’re looking to do. If your trip involves an Aperol spritz and a beach towel, the summer months are your best bet. To avoid the crowds, aim for May or October, when it’s still warm but a bit less busy. If your budget is tight, visit Portugal out of season, between November and March.
Whether you prioritize good weather, cheap flights, avoiding crowds or big waves, we’ve got you covered with this all-inclusive Portugal travel guide.
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Best time to visit: May-June, September-October
The best time to visit Portugal is the beginning of summer, between May and June, or towards the end of summer, from September to October. This is called shoulder season, and falls somewhere between high season and low season.
The weather is still nice this time of year, but prices are lower, there are fewer queues, and towns are less crowded. Just be sure to do your research beforehand and make sure all the attractions you plan to see are open.
Best time to avoid crowds and save money: November-March
If you’re really looking to avoid the crowds, plan your trip out of season, between November and March. In addition to the lack of crowds, prices are also much lower this time of year. It also means that some activities may not be available and the temperatures are colder, so make sure you are well prepared for the trip.
Winter is also the rainy season in Portugal and storms are not uncommon, especially in northern Portugal. To avoid the rain, stay in the south where there is still plenty of sun, even in the colder months.
Best time to go to the beach: June-August
Believe it or not, the water off the coast of Portugal is actually quite cold. If you dream of a beach vacation and want to swim in the Atlantic Ocean, it is best to plan a summer trip when the temperatures soar.
July and August tend to be the hottest summer months in Portugal, with an average temperature of around 75 degrees. Although this time of year brings nice warm weather and sunny skies, it also attracts many tourists, which leads to higher prices. Be sure to book your accommodation well in advance to get the best deals.
If you want to do some sightseeing during your visit, plan a day trip or a weekend trip to Sintra, one of the best places to visit in Portugal. Even during high season, the temperature in Sintra is mild and there are countless historical attractions, including several castles, ruins and other architectural marvels.
Best time to surf: summer for beginners, winter for pros
Planning a surf trip? Portugal is the ideal destination. In fact, Nazare, a coastal town in central Portugal, is famous for being one of the best surf spots in the world. Nazare is home to some of the biggest waves in the world, but Portugal offers opportunities for all types of surfers, from complete beginners to professionals.
If you are new to this sport, visit Portugal during the summer, especially between May and September. The waves are smaller during this period and there is less swell. The beaches near Lisbon can get quite crowded in the summer, so the Algarve might be a better place to learn.
You will find powerful swells and big waves during the winter, usually between December and February. In fact, these waves are some of the best in all of Europe. Just keep in mind that the surf can be quite dangerous in the winter, so try to find south-facing spots that are a little less extreme.
Best time to go hiking: all year round
There are year-round hiking opportunities in Portugal, but the best months overall are in the fall or spring. The weather is mild at this time and there are fewer people.
Summers, on the other hand, are very hot and crowded in Portugal, so although hiking is always a possibility, it is best to go in the morning or afternoon. If you are planning a winter vacation, stay in the south of Portugal, as the north can be rainy.
Many islands in Portugal, such as Madeira and the Azores, are popular hiking spots. Luckily, these islands enjoy great weather all year round, so feel free to plan your hiking vacation to the island whenever you want.
Best time to see festivals: All year round
Immerse yourself in Portuguese culture by attending one of the many festivals held across the country. These can include religious festivals, parades, music festivals, concerts and more. The most popular festivals are usually held in major cities across the country and take place during the summer.
- THE São João do Porto Festival is a big festival held in the middle of summer. The streets of Porto are filled with parades and processions in honor of Saint John the Baptist. The festival includes fireworks, dancing, bonfire jumps and live music.
- Another popular festival is the Popular feasts of the Saints, a jazz festival that takes place in June. The streets are decorated with colorful balloons and banners, and there are parades and many outdoor events. The best way to celebrate the festival is in Lisbon, specifically in the Alfama district.
- Easter is also a big holiday in Portugal. Also called Holy Week, or Holy Week, this festival takes place in March or April. The biggest party takes place in Braga, a small town in northern Portugal. The whole town is decorated and hosts elaborate religious processions. Be sure to see the Ecco Homo procession, where hooded figures parade through the streets carrying bowls of burning pinecones on the ends of poles.
- We can’t forget Christmas, Of course. Portugal being a Catholic country, Christmas is a very important holiday here. Celebrate Christmas in Madeira, a beautiful Portuguese island. Here you will find nativity scenes, shows, singers and traditional dances. The weather is also mild, so you can hike and explore the island.
As the religious capital of Portugal, Braga is another great place to spend a Christmas in Portugal. This town is home to many unique Christmas traditions, including one in which everyone eats a banana and drinks wine on Christmas Eve.