Best time to visit Portugal

Porto - Best time to visit in Portugal - On The Go Tours
The spring and autumn months are considered the best time to visit Portugal

Seasons and Weather

Like a lot of Europe, Portugal comes alive in the spring and summer as people across the globe flock to the continent to make the most of the sun. Spring is a highlight in Portugal as the flowers start to come out and colour the landscapes. In summer things start to heat up and there are festivals all across the country, which is a cultural delight to witness. As autumn comes the crowds start to simmer down a bit but the weather is still perfect for a city break.

Spring (March - May) in Portugal is absolutely beautiful as flowers start to lace the hillsides and the sun starts to peak its head out of the clouds. It’s also the shoulder season so the crowds haven’t fully descended on the country, which generally means cheaper hotels. The waters of the Atlantic Ocean are still cold at this time of year so not ideal for swimming. However, it’s the perfect time to head to the Douro Valley and try some of that famous Port wine. Autumn (September - November) is also a pleasant time to visit the country as the crowds have eased and the weather is cooling down.

If you like the heat then summer (June - August) is the best time to head to Portugal because this beautiful country gets some serious summer sun. As to be expected, the closer you go inland the warmer the country gets. The water also finally starts to heat up a little. Culturally it’s also the most vibrant as June, July and August see a number of festivals take place and Portuguese celebrations are like no other. June is a particularly busy month with Portugal's National Day, St Anthony’s Day and St John’s Day taking place.

Climate in Lisbon

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp Min °C131111121417181818161312
Temp Max °C181718192228323230252019
Rainfall (mm)786537115158145106311953

Climate in the Douro Valley

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp Min °C5324812151412953
Temp Max °C111113162027343329211312
Rainfall (mm)26212673146109119521688239
Campo Maior festival - Best time to visit Portugal - On The Go Tours
Visit Portugal during one of its colourful festivals

Festivals and Events in Portugal

A country rich in culture and history, almost every village in Portugal has its own festival to celebrate the local saint’s day. Ranging from small family gatherings to massive celebrations that attract visitors from all over the world – these are some of the best of Portugal’s festivals.

Carnival

One of the most vibrant and colourful festivals in Portugal, the streets come alive during Carnival. Think bright, bold costumes and masks, dancing and theatrical performances, and elaborate floats that take weeks to build for the event. It usually takes place on Shrove Tuesday every year and is a party not to be missed on the Portuguese calendar.

Holy Week

Easter, or Holy Week as it is also known, is an important time for the Portuguese. It’s the perfect time to visit the country to see the unique Portuguese cultural traditions. Several torchlight processions take place throughout villages across Portugal. Each town or region will have their own special traditions to celebrate Holy Week though folk dancing and fireworks are often a feature. Easter means spending time with family in Portugal and feasting on folar (a traditional bread) and roasted lamb.

Portugal National Day

Portugal day is held on the 10th of June every year and commemorates the death of national literary icon Luis de Camoes on the same date in 1580. This holiday is celebrated by Portuguese citizens and emigrants across the world. They take the day to celebrate Portuguese culture and remember the history of their beautiful country with parades, concerts and military ceremonies.

St Anthony’s Day

Every year on June 13th in the city of Lisbon, the feast day of St. Anthony is celebrated to commemorate the death of the saint in 1231. St. Anthony is also known as Anthony of Lisbon and the patron saint of Portugal. In his hometown of Lisbon, festivities begin the night before as a parade of singers, musicians and dancers take to the streets. The next day it continues with more parades and traditional Portuguese dancing.

St John’s Day

St John’s Day celebrates the birthday of the great saint. In Porto, you can expect large parties where people quite uniquely hit each over on the head with plastic hammers – don’t worry, it’s harmless. This takes place the night before the national holiday. On June 23rd the city comes alive and in true Portuguese style, the party lasts long into the night. St. John's Day is also big in the city of Braga where you can expect to see folk dramas, illuminations, dancing, music and poems.

2018 Calendar

To help plan your 2018 visit to Portugal, here’s an overview of the year's festivals and events.

February 13th – Carnival (countrywide)
March 25th to 31st – Holy Week (countrywide)
June 10th – Portugal National Day (countrywide)
June 13th - St Anthony’s Day (Lisbon)
June 24th – St John’s Day (Porto)
December 25th – Christmas Day (countrywide)

There's also a number of national holidays in Portugal and on these dates many businesses and some tourist sites will close for the day so plan your visit accordingly.

Portugal Trip Styles