Portugal is a stunning country that will wow you during any month of the year. However, if you have a specific reason for visiting, you may want to research the best times to visit Portugal. Luckily, we’ve done all the hard work for you. So whether you want to miss the crowds, get the best wine, or surf the biggest waves, we know when you’ll want to pack your bags and fly to Portugal.
Most of Portugal’s tourism happens during the hot summer months. This is when you might spend hours in line waiting for entry to popular historical sites. However, if you head to Portugal in spring or early fall, you’ll enjoy much shorter waits and smaller crowds. Just make sure your visit doesn’t coincide with Carnival, when lots of visitors will be coming in for the festival.
While Lisbon might hit a humid 90 degrees (32 Celsius) in July or August, the weather between March and May will likely stay in a much more tolerable range. While the winters will be cool and rainy, it rarely snows in the coastal cities. Higher in the mountains, you will be able to find snow in the winters.
With its massive coastline, Portugal is widely regarded for its excellent surfing. You can catch the best waves in late fall or early winter. The waves will be biggest in December and January, but the stormy weather makes them unpredictable and difficult to surf. In October or November, you’ll get the perfect waves and fewer crowds than during the summer months. Remember to bring a wetsuit, though, because it can get pretty cold.
Many people might not realize that there’s actually a best time of the year to go wine tasting. However, when visiting Portugal’s stunning Douro Valley, you’ll want to make sure to go during grape harvesting season, in September and October. This is the time when many vineyards will be offering their exciting harvesting tours and offering classes on wine production. At some vineyards, you can even harvest some grapes yourself during this time.
Portugal’s Algarve region is known for its beaches, but it also boasts some pretty incredible golf courses. If you want to hit the links, you should visit Portugal in September or October. During this season, the weather will be great, and the courses will not be packed with summer tourists. October is also when the rest of Europe begins to close up its golf resorts for the season, making Portugal the perfect fall golf destination.
Festivals are an important part of Portuguese culture, and one you won’t want to miss. Like Brazil, Portugal celebrates Carnival, a festival that takes place before the beginning of Lent each year. Carnival in Portugal usually lasts about three weeks, with nonstop parties the whole time. One of the biggest draws of Carnival is the elaborate costumes, which locals will start preparing months in advance.
After Carnival season, the best time to visit Portugal and catch some festivals is during the month of June. Portugal is largely Catholic, and June is full of holidays celebrating specific Catholic saints. Some of the best festivals are Lisbon’s celebration of Saint Anthony on June 12th and 13th, and Porto’s São João Festival on June 23rd.
Another great holiday in Portugal is Madeira’s New Years celebration. They have one of the best New Years parties in Portugal, and visitors love the spectacular fireworks display each year.
If you’re on a budget, you’re going to want to avoid the summer months, when tourists flock to Portugal. During this time, prices on flights and hotels will go way up, along with the costs of tours and sightseeing activities. While there may be some draws to visiting outside of the major tourist season, such as limited availability for certain activities, you’ll generally save money and avoid crowds if you choose to visit Portugal during the off-season.
Even though your trip may not be for several months, it’s important to book your flights and hotels in advance. We recommend booking your hotels 4 to 6 months in advance, to get the best deals and availability. You’ll want to book further in advance if you plan on traveling during peak tourist season.
However, you won’t have to worry about that if you book one of our incredible packages. Speak with one of our agents today for a customized experience you’ll never forget.