Albufeira, the Algarve, Portugal Fisherman's Beach, Albufeira – image courtesy of Ed Kitaura/Wikimedia

Best time to visit Portugal

The best time to visit Portugal is anytime. But for long, hot, clear and dry days visit between June and September.

Overall, Portugal has a warm and sunny climate, with mild winters; average temperature ranges from 25°C (77°F) in summer to about 14°C (58°F) in winter.

As a general rule, as you head south temperatures tend to increase while rain decreases. On the coast, summer highs are tempered by cooling sea breezes and winters are warmed by the Gulf Stream.

The rainy season lasts from November through January. Winter is generally mild throughout Portugal – the exception is the Serra de Estrela in north-central Portugal, where you can expect snow and good skiing.

Both the Algarve and Madeira enjoy temperate winters.


Southern Portugal

The capital, Lisbon, enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate, characterised by sunny spring and summer months with temperatures typically exceeding 30°C (86°F).

The short winter season is wet and windy with average temperatures of around 10°C (50°F).

The Algarve is the sunniest, driest and warmest part of Portugal. Summer temperatures average 27°C (81°F) but often reach the high 30°Cs.

Winter months lows range from 9°C (48°F) to 11°C (52°F), with a low rainfall. The spring and autumn months see temperatures around 15°C (59°F).

The peak holiday season on the Algarve is July and August; these are also the hottest months of the year, with the temperature averaging 28°C (82°F) and but often reaching the high 30°Cs.

The months of spring (March to May) and autumn (October and November) are typically warm and – while perhaps too chilly for swimming – are excellent for sailing and land-based activities such as golf.

The Algarve – Monthly Weather

J F M A M J J A S O N D
Ave Temp (°C) 12 13 14 15 18 20 23 23 22 19 15 13
Ave High Temp (°C) 16 16 18 19 22 25 28 28 26 23 19 16
Ave Low Temp (°C) 8 9 9 11 13 15 18 18 17 15 11 9
Sunshine (Hrs daily) 5 6 7 8 10 11 12 11 9 7 6 5
Daylight (Hrs daily) 10 11 12 13 14 15 14 14 12 11 10 10
Comfort Level No heat & humidity No heat & humidity No heat & humidity No heat & humidity No heat & humidity Low heat & humidity icon Moderately hot icon Moderately hot icon Moderately hot icon Low heat & humidity icon No heat & humidity No heat & humidity
Ave Humidity (%) 79 77 74 68 69 63 59 63 70 76 77 81
UV Index 2 4 5 7 8 9 9 9 7 5 3 2
Days with some Rain 10 8 7 8 7 2 1 1 4 10 9 12
Ave Rainfall (mm) 56 49 44 41 24 4 1 4 28 75 78 117
Sea Temp (°C) 16 15 16 16 17 19 20 21 21 20 18 17
(Albufeira, Algarve) J F M A M J J A S O N D

Northern Portugal

Northern Portugal is mountainous. Temperatures near the coast are hot in the summer and mild in winter, with rain following the dry summer.

Summer temperatures average 28°C (82°F) in August and 6°C (42°F) during January in winter. However, winter temperatures in the mountainous regions can drop to a low of -15°C (5°F).

Further south in Porto, July and August temperatures enjoy an average high of 25°C (77°F) but occasional heat waves see temperatures rise to 40°C (104°F).

Winter ranges between 5°C (41°F) during morning and 16°C (60°F) during the afternoon.


The Madeira Islands

Overall, Madeira has a mild climate with a small temperature range. Because of the mountain range in the centre of the island, the southern side of the island sees less rain than the north.

June and September see low rainfall and average temperatures of 23°C (73°F), with July, August and September the warmest rising to an average high of 26°C (79°F).

November to February are the coldest and wettest months averaging 16°C (61°F). Madeira’s crystalline waters are perfect for diving and snorkelling, with water temperatures averaging 18°C (64°F) in January and 23°C (73°F) in August and September.

Funchal, Madeira – Monthly Weather

J F M A M J J A S O N D
Ave Temp (°C) 16 16 17 17 19 20 21 23 23 21 19 17
Ave High Temp (°C) 19 19 20 20 21 23 24 26 26 24 22 20
Ave Low Temp (°C) 13 13 13 14 15 17 18 19 19 18 16 14
Sunshine (Hrs daily) 5 5 6 6 7 6 8 8 7 6 5 5
Daylight (Hrs daily) 10 11 12 13 14 14 14 13 12 11 10 10
Comfort Level No heat & humidity No heat & humidity No heat & humidity No heat & humidity No heat & humidity Low heat & humidity icon Low heat & humidity icon Low heat & humidity icon Low heat & humidity icon Low heat & humidity icon No heat & humidity No heat & humidity
Average Humidity (%) 75 75 70 70 70 75 70 70 70 75 75 75
UV Index 3 5 6 8 9 10 10 10 8 6 4 3
Days with some Rain 12 10 9 8 6 3 1 2 6 9 10 13
Ave Rainfall (mm) 90 65 55 35 30 6 2 3 35 75 80 110
Sea Temp (°C) 18 18 18 18 19 20 21 23 23 22 21 19
(Funchal, Madeira) J F M A M J J A S O N D

The Azores

Located around 1500 km east of Lisbon in the North Atlantic, the Azores enjoys a temperate, maritime climate.

The average annual temperature is around 17ºC°C (62°F); averaging 14°C (57°F) in January and February and 23°C (73°F) during the summer months.

The Gulf Stream brings warmer waters to the islands with ocean temperatures averaging 15°C (58°F) in winter and 23°C (73°F) in summer.


Seasons

High season: From July through August; advance bookings are generally necessary at the top hotels.

Low season: Spring and autumn is a good time to visit as the weather is generally warm and the crowds have gone home. Although the water may be somewhat chilly, winter (November to March) on the Algarve is sunny and warm.

Low season travel brings great hotel deals with savings of up to 70 per cent at many hotels.

Both the Algarve and Madeira are still sunny and warm in winter and except for Madeira, which sees occasional showers, both regions offer good value at this time of year – just expect chilly sea water.


Note: Meteorological data is sourced from the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).


Latest update: Best time to visit Portugal: 7 December, 2019


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