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When to visit Portugal

by SmarterTravel Staff

Mainland Portugal and the islands of Madeira and the Azores have relatively mild climates year-round. Most visitors come to the mainland during the summer for sun, beaches, and touring; but the rest of the year provides a good mix of lower prices and pleasant weather ideal for sightseeing. The islands' locations in the Gulf Stream (Azores) and in subtropical mountainous zones (Madeira) make them pleasant destinations any time of the year.

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  • high season: mid-June to mid-September
  • low season: late November to mid-February
  • shoulder season: late September to mid-November, late February to early June

Weather Information

Portugal's weather varies by region. In general, summers on the mainland are hot and dry with an average high of 80 degrees, but slightly lower temperatures occur in coastal areas. Winters are relatively mild, but temperatures cool and rainfall increases. This wet season starts in November and continues through March. Some snowfall occurs in the Serra da Estrela mountains, but the valleys remain mild and wet. Autumn brings warm and sunny days, with particularly pleasant weather at the beginning of November that is referred to as "St. Martin's summer" (which occurs around the saint's day on November 11). The Azores' weather remains mild year-round, and Madeira's subtropical climate renders it even milder with summer temperatures in the mid-70s and winter temperatures in the high 60s.

Crowd Information

More tourists visit Portugal during the summer. Holidays such as Christmas, New Year's, and Easter are also high traffic periods.

Closure Information

In general, restaurants, hotels, and shops do not close for any specific occasion; however, smaller shops may close early on Saturdays and all day on Sundays and holidays. Major shopping centers and souvenir shops typically remain open on these days. Check to be certain that travel plans will not be interrupted by an unscheduled closing.

When to Save

Prices are reduced during the low and shoulder seasons, while they are the most expensive during the summer. "St. Martin's summer" in November is often a good time for both low prices and warm weather.

When to Book

Make reservations at least two months in advance to secure travel dates during high season or holidays.

Information provided by the Portugese Trade and Tourism Office.

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