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The Best Times To Visit Portugal in 2024 [By Seasons and Interests]

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Lori Zaino
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Lori Zaino

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Lori is an intrepid traveler who loves creating itineraries that exude “luxe on a budget.” She’s written for CNN, NBC, The Infatuation, and more, and loves to muse about points-fueled trips to Sri Lan...
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Portugal has it all — sprawling Atlantic beaches with massive swells, cultural and culinary delights, and plenty of other attractions that call to tourists.

While you can visit Portugal at just about any time of the year and enjoy your trip, certain times are better than others, depending on the season, month, activity, and exact destination.

Whether arriving in time for the wine harvest, surfing some of the largest waves in the world, or simply having a crowd-free and affordable visit to Lisbon with pleasant weather, here are some of the best times to visit Portugal.

When Are the Best Times To Visit Portugal?

The best time to visit Portugal is during its shoulder season. The high season is summer, plus holidays like Christmas and Easter. The low season is winter, the very beginning of spring, and the tail end of fall. This leaves most of April and May (excluding Easter), plus September and October, as the shoulder season.

Besides being crowded, expensive, and busy, summers in Portugal can be very hot, while winter can be rainy and cold. The best time to visit Portugal is in the autumn or spring, when you may have pleasant weather and enjoy visiting with fewer crowds.

Below, we’ll share a more detailed view of exactly when to visit Portugal based on season, month, destination, and interests.

Best Times To Visit Portugal by Season and Month

Every season and every month of the year has its highlights. Here are the best times to visit Portugal by season and month.

Visiting Portugal in the Winter

Although it can be cool and rainy in Portugal in the winter, Portuguese winters would be considered mild (and the country stays largely snow-free) in most areas, especially when compared to many parts of the U.S.

And if you’re hoping to avoid tourists, you won’t find many at this time of year (outside of the Christmas holidays). This means less crowded attractions and more (and cheaper) accommodation options. Winter is an optimal time to visit Portugal if you’re on a budget. You may also be able to find award availability on TAP Air Portugal flights in months like January or February.

Visiting Portugal in December

While the northernmost part of the country can face rain and cooler temperatures, December is a nice time to visit the capital, Lisbon, where festive decor and twinkling lights (especially around Rossio Square) mean the city comes alive with holiday cheer.

The city’s version of a Christmas market is Wonderland Lisboa, located in Edward VII Park, where, you’ll find a Ferris wheel and market stalls with holiday wares.

Down south in the Algarve region, hiking and golfing are popular activities. You’ll actually have a chance of getting some warm-ish temperatures and sunshine on some days! And although it’s not the best time of year to go to the island paradise of Madeira, its capital, Funchal, puts on a memorable New Year’s Eve fireworks display.

Visiting Portugal in January

Similar to December, north Portugal remains colder and rainier than down south, where spots like the Algarve may be pleasant (not quite sunbathing weather, but warm-ish if you’re lucky). Destinations like Lisbon and Sintra are practically void of tourists, meaning you can explore without crowds and find low rates for hotel rooms and vacation rentals.

Visiting Portugal in February

Sintra Castle
Visit the castle in Sintra. Image Credit: Katia De Juan via Unsplash

Portugal is full of romantic spots for a honeymoon or Valentine’s Day getaway. Cruise the Venice-like canals of Aveiro in a colorful boat (known as a moliceiro) or wander the fairytale castle in Sintra. The whitewashed town of Tavira in the Algarve is also especially charming for couples looking for an intimate escape. You may also catch the cherry blossoms in bloom in Alentejo during this month.

Hot Tip:

TAP Air Portugal has a special Valentine’s Day deals webpage. You may be able to snag incredible cheap airfare during this time of year.

Visiting Portugal in the Spring

Spring is the perfect time to visit Portugal, as the weather is mild and the most popular tourist attractions aren’t too crowded yet. Lisbon is warm and welcoming, and finally, the weather in the north is a bit milder, so it’s a nice time to visit a destination like Porto.

Visiting Portugal in March

In 2025, Portugal celebrates Carnival (Entrudo) in March. While the celebrations aren’t quite as rowdy as what you’d find in Brazil, you’ll still encounter plenty of costumes and samba. March often has less rain than April, so it’s a good time for history buffs to visit smaller towns like Obidos (don’t miss the chocolate festival here, which happens annually in March) and Coimbra, while cyclists and hikers should head to the Serra de Montejunto or the Serra da Lousã. Pro surfers may want to head up to Nazaré or Ericeira to enjoy the last of the advanced surfer season’s biggest waves.

Visiting Portugal in April

Spring has sprung in Portugal in April, so most of the country’s trees and flowers will be starting to bloom, though you may also see some rain showers. Celebrate Liberty Day with the locals on April 25, which is the day the country’s dictatorship ended in 1974. Expect parades, music, and cultural events in many cities and towns to mark the event. Depending on the dates and year, you can also see many religious processions in the week leading up to Easter.

Visiting Portugal in May

Portugal Beach
Visit Portugal in the spring, when everything is in bloom. Image Credit: Joao via Unsplash

May — distinctly part of shoulder season — is a magical time to visit all of Portugal. The Flower Festival takes place in Madeira for almost the entire month. The island is home to some stunning and exotic flower species, and the locals love to celebrate them with parades, concerts, and cultural and culinary events.

Beyond that, you can expect blue skies and warm weather throughout most of the country without the crowds that summer brings. May (specifically, May 13) is the most popular time for a pilgrimage to the site of Fátima, celebrating the moment the Virgin Mary appeared to a group of 3 children.

Visiting Portugal in the Summer

While summer is the most crowded and most expensive time to visit Portugal, it’s also the best time of year to enjoy lazy beach days, balmy nights, and Atlantic island adventures. All of Portugal has hot weather, and waves are low enough for beginners to try their luck at surfing. Dining alfresco, especially in the evening when the sun sets, is especially enjoyable in this season.

Visiting Portugal in June

June is probably the least crowded of the 3 summer months, so if you’re hoping to get in before the rush, your last opportunity to do so is June. This month is also the time to visit the Azores, where you’ll experience weather perfect for hiking and exploring.

The São João Festival is celebrated in Porto, timed with the summer solstice, so join in on late-night street parties, bonfires, fireworks, and revelry. Lisbon’s festas happen during this month, featuring food markets, live fado music, processions, and more. Cruisers may enjoy gliding down the Douro Valley River during this time of year when the riverside is verdant and blooming.

Hot Tip:

The only consolation prize to higher airfare and accommodation costs is that you’ll earn more points for spending more. Make sure to put your travel purchases on a card that offers additional points for travel purchases, such as the American Express® Green Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

All information regarding the American Express® Green Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points.

Visiting Portugal in July

Algarve Beach
The beaches of the Algarve are some of the most gorgeous in Europe. Image Credit: Mélanie Arouk via Unsplash

It’s time to join the locals in hitting the beach, whether that be at the beaches of the Algarve, in Cascais or Comporta, and beyond. The whitewashed, southern town of Tavira is full of summer fun, and Tavira Island is a long, skinny barrier island you can reach from town in just 10 minutes or so. The island features almost 7 miles of fine white sand perfect for sunbathing. It’s also slightly cooler in the northern city of Porto, which is just a quick taxi ride from numerous golden sand beaches. Beginner surfers can hit up some of the top surf cities in Portugal, knowing that waves will be more manageable.

Visiting Portugal in August

There’s no better way to beat the heat than visiting Portugal’s beaches — and this includes the islands of Madeira and the Azores, as well as the mainland. Although sandy stretches will be crowded and lively, the refreshing, cooling waters of the Atlantic will keep you cool, unlike many of Europe’s beaches, which sit upon the warmer waters of the Mediterranean.

Although many tourists visit all areas of Portugal in August, it’s best to avoid the extreme sun and heat that plague central Portugal and large cities like Lisbon, where the sticky temperatures and humidity can feel overwhelming, especially at popular and crowded tourist attractions.

Visiting Portugal in the Fall

Fall once again brings cooler temperatures, fewer tourists, and cultural events such as harvest season to Portugal. It’s the perfect time to see most of the country.

Visiting Portugal in September

Douro Valley
September is harvest month in Portugal. Image Credit: Ramiro via Pixabay

Almost all of Portugal is ready and waiting for you to visit in September. The kids are back at school, and many locals have finished up their vacations, so while you’ll still encounter tourists, beaches and attractions are less crowded, but you’ll still have sunny and warm weather, especially in the Algarve region.

It’s a pleasant time to visit some of the country’s lesser-known attractions, like the Serra da Estrela mountain range, the highest in peninsular Portugal, or some of the smaller Azores Islands, such as Pico, which has its Festa das Vindimas (wine harvest) the first week of September. Madeira also puts on a wine festival, which lasts the first half of September.

Hot Tip:

If you’re looking for some top Algarve hotels to earn and burn your points, we love Marriott’s W Algarve and Pine Cliffs, a Luxury Collection Resort. We’re also anxiously awaiting a new IHG property, the Kimpton Algarve, which is set to open its doors in 2024.

Visiting Portugal in October

October is an excellent time to visit Portugal’s southern Alentejo region. The heat subsides, and you can sip wine in cool, breezy fall temperatures and admire the changing colors of the leaves.

The northerly Douro Valley and Peneda-Geres National Park (it’s the only national park in Portugal) are stunning in October when the foliage hues shift from summer green to autumn tones. Runners may want to visit Lisbon in October to cheer on the participants of the EDP Lisbon Marathon (October 6, 2024). October 13 is another important religious day for those who want to make the pilgrimage to Fátima.

Visiting Portugal in November

While perfect weather isn’t guaranteed in November, you’ll definitely win in terms of budget and crowds. Lodging and activities are relatively affordable at this time of year, and you may just be visiting tourist attractions all on your own (though perhaps underneath rainy skies).

It’s best to stick to visiting cities during this time of year, as your hiking, cycling, or beach visits may not work out well due to chilly or rainy weather. Many areas of the Algarve that close seasonally won’t be open, which is another reason hanging around Lisbon or Porto is a better idea, with the exception that expert surfers (or interested onlookers) might want to head to Nazaré to catch massive waves during this time of year.

Best Times To Visit Portugal by Destination

Certain times of year are better than others when it comes to visiting specific cities, towns, and regions of Portugal. Here’s what you need to know to plan your trip.

Best Times of Year To Visit the Azores

Azores view
The Azores are the most pleasant during the summer months and shoulder season. Image Credit: Damir Babacic via Unsplash

Summer (June through August) is the best time to visit the Azores. Although it’s busy with visitors, you can explore the islands under sunny skies with warm temperatures. In late spring and early autumn, you can explore the islands with fewer crowds, and the weather is usually still nice.

Don’t go to the Azores in the winter, when it can be rainy, foggy, and cold. Many seasonal attractions are closed at this time of year, and some ferries aren’t operating or have reduced schedules. Know that peak whale-watching season is April to October, with the most migrations occurring in late April to May. The island of Graciosa sees slightly less rain than some of the other islands, so visiting in spring or autumn might mean you’ll still have great weather.

Best Times of Year To Visit the Algarve

The Algarve boasts a primarily Mediterranean climate, with hot summers and mild winters. You can really visit the Algarve year-round, but for beach weather, it’s best to go in late spring, summer, or early autumn. Note that many restaurants, bars, and attractions may open seasonally, so expect closures if you visit in winter.

Best Times of Year To Visit Madeira

You can visit Madeira year-round, as this island has a relatively mild climate in winter, so you may be able to sunbathe during this time of year, though swimming in the ocean will be chilly. Still, it’s one of the warmest places in Europe if you’re hoping for a winter sun escape.

Summer is busy, with warm weather and warm(er) ocean temperatures. During the shoulder season (spring and autumn), there are fewer tourists and decent weather. Spring is particularly beautiful as the whole island is blooming (the month of May is when the island celebrates its famous flower festival).

Best Times of Year To Visit Nazaré

Waves Portugal
Surfing in Portugal at different times of the year depends on your skill level. Image Credit: Pexels via Pixabay

If you’re an avid (and advanced) surfer or just want to watch fearless surfers catch some extremely large waves, head to Nazaré from October to February, when waves can reach up to nearly 80 feet. Beginner surfers are better off visiting in summer when swells aren’t so intense.

Best Times of Year To Visit Lisbon

Although summer is Lisbon’s most popular season with the warmest weather, it can get hot, crowded, and expensive at this time of year. Visiting in May or September means you’ll still have nice weather, but you may be able to have a more affordable and comfortable visit.

Best Times of Year To Visit Fatimá

May 13 and October 13 are the 2 most famous days for visiting Fatimá. However, these days, and many spring, summer, and fall weekends are busy times for exploring this religious site. If you’re hoping to avoid crowds, it’s best to visit in the middle of the week throughout the year. Visiting these religious sites during rainy weather can be unpleasant as there isn’t much to shelter you from the elements, so take the forecast into consideration, especially if you’re heading there in early spring, late fall, or winter.

Best Times To Visit Portugal by Activity

Whether you want to enjoy Portugal’s golden sands or sip wine, some times of the year are much better than others.

Best Times To Visit Portugal for Wine Tasting

Boat in Porto
A historic Rabelo boat with wine barrels in Porto, Portugal. Image Credit: Gianni Crestani via Pixabay

You can sip wine in Portugal at any time of year, but to get a feel for the country’s wine culture, visiting in September is best so you can catch harvest festivals. Many of the country’s wine regions, such as Alentejo, Minho, Douro Valley, Beira, Madeira, the Azores, and beyond, are in full swing in September.

Best Times To Visit Portugal for Beaches

While summer is the most crowded time to visit Portugal’s beaches, it’s also the time of year that you’ll really want to — the weather is hot and humid, and the Atlantic waters are inviting and refreshing. From the Algarve to Cascais to the sands of north Portugal (and throughout the Azores and Madeira), the country has endless stretches of sand to cater to visitors and locals alike. Just expect it to be breezy, with Atlantic winds blowing over various parts of Portugal year-round. The shoulder season, like May, September, and early October, is a nice time for sunbathing, but it may be a little cold for swimming in the chilly Atlantic waters.

Final Thoughts

You can’t really go wrong with visiting Portugal at any time of year. In fact, there is no “worst time to visit Portugal.” Various destinations are better visited during certain months, but oftentimes, when you win at the weather, you’ll lose at crowds — and vice versa. Those looking to save money and avoid crowds should visit in winter, while beach-goers and those ready to tackle the hot weather and lively atmosphere should head to Portugal in summer. Autumn and spring are top times to visit Portugal for almost everything — if you’re lucky, you’ll have an affordable vacation without too many crowds and pleasant weather if you visit during these shoulder seasons in most areas of the country.

The information regarding the American Express® Green Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What month is the best to go to Portugal?

The best month to visit Portugal depends on your exact destination and what you want to do. However, typically, May and September are the best months to visit Portugal when it’s still affordable, the weather is nice, and crowds remain minimal.

When is the best time to visit Lisbon, Portugal?

While you can visit Lisbon, Portugal, year-round, June is a nice time to enjoy the city’s outdoor dining scene and city celebrations and festivals.

Is November a good time to visit Portugal?

November is often cold and rainy in many areas of Portugal. However, if you’re looking to travel on a budget and want to avoid crowds, you should go, as long as you don’t mind overcast skies.

What months are the rainy season in Portugal?

Winter and spring are the rainiest times in Portugal, but this can often depend significantly on the month and exact location. If you want to avoid rain, visit from May to September.

Which month is the coldest in Portugal?

Usually, January is the coldest month in Portugal, but the country is often still warmer than many U.S. locations in the winter. Lows are typically in the 40s, while highs can reach the mid or upper 50s. You may see rain or sunny skies; it just depends.

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About Lori Zaino

Lori is an intrepid traveler who loves creating itineraries that exude “luxe on a budget.” She’s written for CNN, NBC, The Infatuation, and more, and loves to muse about points-fueled trips to Sri Lanka, Sicily, and Myanmar.

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