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Best Time to Visit Portugal

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Pena Palace in Sintra, Portugal

Pena Palace in Sintra, Portugal

The best time to visit Portugal is from May to June and September to October.

Portugal is serene and lively, with captivating cities, exceptional scenery, and diverse traditions, all influenced by the changing seasons. With the dry sunshine of the south and the cool northern winters, the dramatic Atlantic coastline and wild eastern border, the country’s evocative landscape supports unique culinary flavors and vibrant regional cultures.

The following guide offers helpful information on each season to enable you to enjoy Portugal’s timeless beauty.

Overview
  1. Best Time by Travel Season
  2. Best Time for Sightseeing
  3. Best Time for Beaches
  4. Best Time for Surfing
  5. Best Time for Grape Harvesting
  6. Best Time for Olive Harvesting
  7. Best Time for Portuguese Food Experiences
  8. Best Time for Hiking
  9. Best Time for Cycling
  10. Best Time for Families with Children
  11. Best Time for Couples or Honeymooners
  12. Best Time for Seniors
  13. Best Time for Spring & Summer Activities
  14. Best Time for Fall & Winter Activities
  15. Book for the Best Time to Visit Portugal

Best Time by Travel Season

Cityscape of old town Lisbon with castle on the hill during sunny summer weather Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

High Season: June • July

Lovely is the only way to describe summer in Portugal. The beaches and rivers have warmed, and the Mediterranean sunlight washes over the country.

The gorgeous weather offers a chance for thrilling experiences, from the rugged mountains along the border to the sharp sunlight around the northern wilderness and the golden coastline of the south, especially in popular coastal destinations during a luxury Portugal vacation or when discovering the Azores Islands.

Summer festivals bring an air of celebration to cities and towns, giving way to authentic beauty found in traditional artifacts, grand architecture, and historical monuments.

Shoulder Season: April • May • September • October

Spring and fall in Portugal are a time of rebirth, celebration, and immersive ambiance. The shift in weather sees flowers and delicious ingredients sprout across the fields. Sunlight, cool breezes, and vibrant colors spread from the hills to the sea, creating a spectacle along the streets of major cities and charming villages.

Festivals reach their peak, waves curl near the coastline, and a cheerful ambiance lingers in the country, revealing the ways the flavors and aromas of the cuisine shift with the seasons, accentuated by fewer crowds and lush displays of foliage easily explored during a 10-day Portugal tour.

Low Season: December • February

Portugal has mild but unpredictable winters that give you plenty of sunshine and stretches of rain. Even with the uncertain weather, Portugal in winter is a fantastic destination, with plenty of festivals to keep you warm, fewer crowds, and distinctive cuisine only available from December to February.

Christmas markets envelop big cities and charming towns, while Carnival celebrations rival those of Brazil. While Portugal may not seem like the perfect winter destination at first, it truly has a diversity that could entice a variety of winter travelers.

Best Time for Sightseeing

Walking the castle walls around the medieval town of Óbidos, Portugal

Óbidos, Portugal

Best Months: April • May • September • October

Whether visiting the regal gardens in spring, lounging on the golden sands, or admiring the variety of fresh seasonal ingredients, you can find the true essence of Portugal’s heritage, culture, and natural landscapes in spring and fall.

The seasons are not dramatic, but change the spirit of the land and sea, with shifting weather patterns and fewer crowds.

The shoulder seasons of spring and fall, mainly April to May and mid-September to October, are known for the best weather in Portugal, while still giving you opportunities to enjoy the country's vast array of activities, from exploring the top wine regions to visiting famous Portuguese castles.

Best Time for Beaches

Beautiful beach and architecture in Carvoeiro, Algarve, Portugal

Carvoeiro in the Algarve region, Portugal

Best Months: July • August

Summer is definitely the best time to visit Portugal’s famous beaches, specifically in July and August.

While these are the most popular times of the year to do so, July and August also offer the best weather. The heart of summer also ensures the waters around Portugal, whether at the beach or on a popular riverbank, have warmed.

Best Time for Surfing

Body boarding and surfing in Carcavelos, Portugal

Carcavelos, Portugal

Best Months: January • February • March • September • October

Late winter and early spring is the best time for surfing in Portugal. The winter storms off the coast and shifting weather keep the water cold and create months of powerful swells, producing waves up to 15 feet tall.

While winter and spring are best left for those with advanced skills, it is still a great time to witness the drama of surfers carving the break or just enjoy the crash of the curling waves along the coastline.

Best Time for Grape Harvesting

Vineyards in the Douro Valley, Portugal

Douro Valley, Portugal

Best Months: September • October

Not only is fall the best time for the grape harvest in Portugal, but it is also the best for wine tasting. The harvest season brings a celebratory atmosphere to the country, especially in wine-growing regions like the Douro Valley and Alentejo.

Tastings and wine production give you an authentic experience of the harvest season amidst the autumn scenery, making it a perfect time to walk through the vineyards or cycle along the valley terraces for a unique experience in Portugal.

Best Time for Olive Harvesting

Olive trees surrounded by yellow lupine flowers in the Alentejo region of Portugal

Alentejo region of Portugal

Best Months: October • November

Olives in Portugal are an essential part of the culture and gastronomy, representing a richer sense of history, with the harvest taking place in October and November.

With a timeless connection to ancient Mediterranean life, from the Romans to the Moors, the olive harvest brings understanding to the wealth of culture and its indelible connection to the cuisine. The harvest brings wizened trees to life, shining a light on local heritage that’s captured in the oil’s aroma and taste.

Best Time for Portuguese Food Experiences

Mixed fresh Portuguese seafood selection at restaurant in Portugal

Mixed fresh Portuguese seafood

Best Months: April • May • September • October

Portugal in spring and fall will show you the best seasonal produce for some incredible food. Between April to May and from September to October, Portuguese food is focused on seasonal, local ingredients.

With so many flavorful and fresh options for produce, seafood, or meat, culinary experiences often top the list of the best things to do in Portugal. With the shifting landscape and daily offerings, you can find enticing aromas around every corner, from figs to blackberries, pumpkins to olive oil, for a rounded perspective of the cuisine.

Best Time for Hiking

Hiking the cliffs around Cape Roca, Sintra, Portugal.

Cape Roca in Sintra, Portugal

Best Months: March • April • May • September • October

Hiking is an essential part of the travel experience in Portugal, giving you a chance to appreciate the diverse scenery of the country.

Stunningly beautiful, it is best to visit in the spring and the fall, especially from March to April and September to October. The sunshine offers warm weather without feeling too hot and the changing colors bring lush greenery and an array of autumnal colors.

Best Time for Cycling

Biking along the Alentejo coast in Sines, Portugal

Alentejo coast in Sines, Portugal

Best Months: March • April • May • September • October

Cycling is an exciting way to see Portugal with gorgeous scenery in the spring and beautiful yellow and brown fields in fall.

Cycling in spring between March to May or in fall between September and October offers fewer crowds, particularly away from the coast, while still bringing great weather, blooming wildflowers, the beginning of the grape harvest, and spectacular views of the seaside cliffs.

Best Time for Families with Children

Family fun in the Park of Nations in Lisbon, Portugal

Park of Nations in Lisbon, Portugal

Best Months: April • May • September • October

Spring and fall are the best times to visit Portugal with family, specifically between April and May or September to October.

Perfect weather gives you plenty of time to explore the sun-soaked beaches, fairytale castles, and dramatic historic city centers as a family, without huge bags and extra jackets.

Instead, you can concentrate on the thrills of sightseeing in stunning nature reserves or charming fishing villages, trek the rugged coastline or snack in Lisbon's cosmopolitan cafes.

Learn more: Portugal Family Vacations & Tours

Best Time for Couples or Honeymooners

Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra, Portugal

Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra, Portugal

Best Months: April • May • September • October

Portugal is the perfect place for couples to experience a romantic getaway. With the charming ambiance of old-world Europe, the weather in spring or fall is ideal. From April to May and September to October, Portugal has no shortage of picturesque seaside resorts and storybook towns to explore. From pastel-colored buildings to museums, lively cafes to historic lanes, Portugal is traditional and contemporary.

Learn more: Portugal Tours for CouplesPortugal Honeymoon Packages

Best Time for Seniors

Cobblestoned neighborhood square in the old town center of Lagos, Portugal

Lagos in the Algarve region, Portugal

Best Months: April • May • September • October

The best time for seniors to visit Portugal is from April to May or September to October. Portugal is a year-round destination, but the shoulder seasons offer travelers cooler weather and fewer crowds. While winter offers seasonal festivities, cities like Lisbon can feel overcrowded and the highlights along the Algarve may become too hot and humid to enjoy. The mild climate, gorgeous scenery, and fewer crowds make spring and fall in Portugal the best seasons to explore, discover, and enjoy the country’s diversity.

Learn more: Portugal Tours for Seniors

Best Time for Spring & Summer Activities

Kayaking Ponta da Piedade in the Algarve, Portugal

Ponta da Piedade in the Algarve, Portugal

Best Months: May • June • July

The spring and summer are great months for visiting Portugal. The vibrant life never stops across the country, with welcoming Mediterranean sunlight.

From May to July, you can embrace the coastline or indulge in the cooler days of a mountain escape, explore the budding gardens or enjoy the glistening waters of the famous rivers that wind through the country.

Each new month brings a different atmosphere in which to enjoy the elegance, prestige, and seasonal cuisine of Portugal’s diverse travel experiences.

Activities: Hiking • Cycling • Beaches • Kayaking • Food Tours

Best Time for Fall & Winter Activities

Lisbon square during the Christmas season in Portugal

Commerce Square in Lisbon, Portugal

Best Months: October • December • February

The fall and winter in Portugal introduce a different view of the scenery and culture. The sun continues to shine over the nation, especially in fall, but the landscape shifts in color and gives way to celebrated festivals like the grape harvest, olive harvest, or mesmerizing Christmas markets.

Whitewater rafting can make an exciting splash and the cooler days provide a great time to hike in the hills and through the rich valleys for a memorable perspective of one of Europe’s oldest countries.

Activities: Chestnut Roasting • Whitewater Rafting • Hiking • Wine Activities • Surfing

Book for the Best Time to Visit Portugal

Pastéis de Nata, Portuguese egg tarts, and wine with a view of Porto

Porto, Portugal

Portugal has mild but distinct seasons that let you experience a wealth of natural colors, cultural cities, enticing activities, and rich flavors. Knowing the type of experiences you want will help narrow down when to visit and the must-see places to explore during your trip, from sipping wine in a world-renowned winemaking region to discovering an atmospheric beach town.

You can browse our Portugal travel guide for more information and helpful tips on ways to craft your perfect trip or enjoy the inspiring possibilities found in our Portugal tours and vacations.

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