Deciding When to go to Portugal

Trying to decide when to go to Portugal, should you visit in summer to enjoy the glorious beaches of the Algarve and Madeira or arrive in spring to cooler weather but with fewer crowds? Only you can decide however we have shared below some facts and figures to make the decision easier.

If we could only choose one season in which to visit Portugal, it would be Spring (March to May). We think Spring is the best time to visit Portugal because the countryside is in full bloom, the days are mild and the conditions are perfect for hiking and glamping.

FUNCHAL-STREET
Street in Funchal, Madeira

The best season to go to Portugal depends upon the type of holiday you’re looking for – a relaxing beach holiday? A city break with fine museums and colorful festivals? Or an active holiday – skiing, camping, golfing, and so on. Here’s a quick guide to the right season for each kind of visit to Portugal:

  • Fall (Autumn) is also lovely for camping. Outside of the ski season (December to April, but best in February), the weather in Portugal is temperate and in summer it can be blazingly hot on the beaches of the Algarve.
  • Golf is best in Spring when the Portugal climate is mostly temperate and there is only a small amount of rain. The temperate weather also makes Spring the perfect time for visiting the cities, but also check out the major public holidays in our planning guide so that you can see some of the wonderful annual Portuguese festivals.
  • Whale watching is best in Madeira from June to August and in the Azores, your best chance of spotting the most Sei and Fin whales is from April to June.
  • If it’s a beach holiday you’re after, head to the Alentejo coast or the Algarve and Madeira from late spring, right throughout summer, and September.

Find some Festival Fun

The Portuguese love festivals singing, dancing, and eating. You can find a festival in honor of pretty much anything in Portugal, even sardines! Here are the major festivals to watch out for during your trip.

Along with regional festivals are a number of national public holidays

New Year’s Day – January 1
Carnaval Tuesday (February or March) – the day before Ash Wednesday
Easter Good Friday (March or April)
Liberty Day – April 25 (commemorates the 1974 revolution)
Labor Day – May 1
Corpus Christi (May or June) – the ninth Thursday after Easter
Portugal Day (Camoes/Community Day) – June 10
Assumption – August 15
Republic Day – October 5 commemorates the declaration of the Portuguese republic in 1910
All Saints’ Day – November 1
Independence Day – December 1 celebrates the 1640 restoration of Independence from Spain
Immaculate Conception
– December 8
Christmas Day – December 25

Check out the Portugal weather by month for the major Portuguese destinations below.

Temperature and rainfall for Portugal’s regions

To help with your planning we have put each of the main areas of the country you are most likely to visit below. For each destination you can see the minimum and maximum temperatures in Celsius and Fahrenheit each month, the amount of rain you’ll likely have each month (in inches and millimeters) as well as the average number of rainy days each month.

BRAGA weather by month

Braga’s summers are short and its winters are wet. The months of June to September are lovely and Fall (Autumn) is crisp. July is less humid than August and has the clearest skies of any month of the year.

Bom Jesus church in Braga - Portugal
Bom Jesus, Braga
MonthMin (°C)Max (°C)Min (°F)Max (°F)Rainfall (mm)Rainfall (inches)Days of rain
January41440571957.714
February51541591606.312
March71845641003.910
April81846651254.912
May102151701204.712
June14255678602.47
July152859822514
August15285882301.24
September13265678803.16
October112151701656.511
November81746621756.912
December61443582309.114

Porto weather by month

Dry summers and wet winters characterize Portugal’s second city. The weather is wonderful in June and July, with July having the least cloudy days of any month for this riverside city.

porto-scene
Ribeira neighborhood, Porto
MonthMin (°C)Max (°C)Min (°F)Max (°F)Rainfall (mm)Rainfall (inches)Days of rain
January61442571606.313
February61543591405.512
March8174763903.510
April101849641154.511
May122054681003.910
June15235974451.86
July16256277200.83
August162561782513
September15245975702.86
October122154691405.511
November91749631606.312
December71445581957.713

Lisbon weather by month

Warm, dry, and sometimes hot, Lisbon’s summer months are popular with tourists. Winter is windy and has higher rainfall and cloudy days. Outside of winter, Lisbon’s temperature is agreeable for all nine months and even in January, the temperature is still climbing to 15/59 during the day.

lisbon
Lisbon
MonthMin (°C)Max (°C)Min (°F)Max (°F)Rainfall (mm)Rainfall (inches)Day of rain
January8154759953.710
February9164961903.510
March111952665027
April12205467652.69
May14225772552.27
June17266278150.63
July1828658250.21
August1928658350.21
September18276480301.23
October15235973803.18
November121854651054.19
December101549591204.711

Alentejo region weather (Évora WEATHER by month)

Whilst short, summer can be surprisingly hot in Évora, reaching 34/92 on average in August, but occasionally reaching 38/100. In summer the heat lingers until after 10 pm. If you’re planning on water activities in the Alentejo region, July and August are the best months.

Évora Catedral
MonthMin (°C)Max (°C)Min (°F)Max (°F)Rainfall (mm)Rainfall (inches)Days of rain
January4144057803.18
February6164261652.68
March7194567401.66
April8214769602.48
May112451765026
June14305787200.83
July16336092100.41
August1634619250.21
September15295885301.23
October12235374702.87
November71845647538
December51442581054.110

the Algarve weather (ALBUFEIRA WEATHER by month)

Millions of people travel to Portugal’s Algarve coastline for beach holidays each year. June to September has excellent beach weather with almost no rainy days and the skies are mostly clear. The rest of the year is cool and windy but even in December, the sky is only cloudy 45% of the time, less than most of the rest of the country.

praia-de-rocha
Praia do Rocha, Portimao
MonthMin (°C)Max (°C)Min (°F)Max (°F)Rainfall (mm)Rainfall (inches)Days of rain
January8164760953.79
February9164861702.811
March9184964552.27
April11195166401.69
May13225571301.25
June16256076150.62
July18286482101
August1828648220.11
September17266380150.62
October14225872552.28
November11195266853.310
December91649611003.912

Madeira weather (FUNCHAL WEATHER by month)

Madeira’s summer is shorter and later than the mainland. The warmest months are early July to early October and the temperature is comfortable and cooler than in southern Portugal. The clearest skies can be seen in July and there are few rainy days per month from April through to October.

Porto Moniz, Madeira
MonthMin (°C)Max (°C)Min (°F)Max (°F)Rainfall (mm)Rainfall (inches)Days of rain
January142057671054.112
February13205667853.311
March14205769652.610
April14215869401.68
May16226071200.85
June18236474120.53
July1925677730.11
August2026688030.12
September20266880351.46
October192565777539
November172362731003.911
December152159691003.913

the azores weather (PONTA DELGADO WEATHER by month)

The weather in the Azores is slightly different depending upon which island you’re visiting. Temperatures are generally higher and rainfall lower on Ilha de São Miguel and Santa Maria Island than on Ilha do Faial and Terceira Island.

For popular Ponta Delgado, the summer is short and humid and the skies are mostly clear. Rainfall occurs each month with June to August having the lowest rainfall with on average six rainy days a month. Winter is long, cool, and windy but the temperature range does not vary wildly across the year.

pedreira-sao-miguel-island-azores
Padreira São Miguel Island
MonthMin (°C)Max (°C)Min (°F)Max (°F)Rainfall (mm)Rainfall (inches)Days of rain
January121754621104.313
February12175362803.112
March12175463853.311
April12185464652.610
May14195666652.69
June16216071401.66
July182464752516
August192566785026
September18246576953.710
October162262711104.311
November141958671204.713
December131855641204.714