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Blessed with a lot of sunny weather, Portugal is a good country to visit almost all year round. Whether you’re looking to bask in the sun and cool off in the Atlantic ocean in summer or escape colder climates for a warm mini-break in spring or fall, there are plenty of options. The best time to visit Portugal depends on whether you’re planning to visit the north, south or center of the country, with the climate varying from place to place and prices changing dramatically from peak to off-peak season. We’ve rounded up when is the best time to visit Portugal.
Douro Valley, Northern Portugal
If you’re keen to explore the stunning vineyards of the Douro Valley in the north, the best time to visit Portugal is in the months of June, July, and August. The Douro Valley is packed with lush green wine terraces dating back hundreds of years, and while the summer months are the most expensive time to visit, Northern Portugal receives its fair share of rain in the spring, fall, and winter months. The summer months are generally the best time to visit Portugal as you’re almost guaranteed blue skies and no rainfall throughout the county.
Porto, Northern Portugal
In recent years Porto’s popularity has been rising, with some travelers even declaring they prefer it to Lisbon. Packed with beautiful architecture, history, and some of the best wine in Europe, we can see why it’s a contender. As with other places in the north of Portugal that experience high rainfall, Porto is best visited in the summer months of June, July, and August when the sun will be shining.
If you want to immerse yourself in Portuguese culture, try to time your visit with June 23rd, when Porto lights up for a midsummer celebration of the day of the Festa de São João do Porto. The festivities spill out onto the streets as locals and tourists alike celebrate the special day and pay tribute to Saint John the Baptist. The day features a mixture of old traditions and a lot of drinking. Check out more traditional festivals in Portugal.
Alentejo and the Algarve, Southern Portugal
The Portuguese certainly make great use of their stunning coastline, and in the summer months, the beaches in the Algarve and the Alentejo regions are absolutely packed with locals and tourists alike. The months of July and August see enormous crowds drawn to southern Portugal, keen to enjoy the scorching weather and the refreshingly cold Atlantic sea. If you’re looking for a more peaceful holiday, however, the south and the coast is best visited in the spring months of April and May or the fall month of September, when crowds are significantly lower and accommodation prices are almost half that of summer. In the spring and fall months, it’s still warm and balmy, although taking a dip in the cold sea might not seem as appealing as it would in the summer. Meanwhile, if you’re a keen surfer, the surf is best in the winter months. Just be sure to buy an extra thick wetsuit. Check out the Best Places to Go Surfing in Portugal if you want some inspiration.
Lisbon, Central Portugal
Lisbon lies close to the central coast of Portugal and is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. It’s home to historic streets, beautifully tiled buildings and great restaurants and nightlife. The Alfama is the city’s ancient Moorish quarter and is one of the top places to explore in Lisbon. The area is made up of narrow Medieval streets, many of which are car-free, so you’re guaranteed to be walking a lot while exploring the city. In the summer months, the temperatures can be sweltering, so the city is best explored in cooler months such as April and May, or September and October, which is when you’ll find blue skies and cooler temperatures.