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Best time to visit Portugal – Your Complete Guide

Best Time To Visit Portugal for amazing views

Are you looking for the best time to visit Portugal? Planning a holiday can be stressful, to say the least, and the last thing that you want is to plan your holiday and it turns out to be the wrong season or time of year.

Thankfully, you have stumbled across an article that will give you information about all the do’s and dont’s and the best time to visit Portugal. So, without further adieu, let us jump straight into it.

Portugal is a beautiful holiday destination that is often people’s first choice when it comes to choosing the best location for vacations, backpacking, and even honeymoons.

Not only does the country have some of the most beautiful beaches for those who want to take a cool dip or catch a luxurious tan, but it is also home to breathtaking architectural structures that have been standing in place for as long ago as the 16th century.

I am not sure about you, but traveling has a tendency to make me build up quite an appetite. Now, Portugal may not be popular for pizza like Italy is or for Sushi like Japan is, but it has gained a lot of popularity for its exquisite seafood dishes which are an equally good appetite quencher. 

Things to Avoid in Portugal

As we all know, every country has its own set of customs and cultures that may be contradictory to the cultural backgrounds that most tourists come from.

Visiting a foreign country can also be quite scary if you do not know what to expect, where to go, how to speak their native language, or which areas are safe to go to, and which are dangerous to go to. It is important to get clued up on all of these elements before you embark on your journey.

So, let’s take a look at a few of the things to avoid when traveling to Portugal.

1: Do not Point

In Western culture, it is a standard gesture to point your index finger at someone without having any negative intentions behind it. However, I would not recommend any finger pointing in Portugal.

This is simply because pointing your finger at someone is considered to be extremely rude and offensive in Portugal. So be sure to follow up on the necessary cultural etiquette before you travel to Portugal.

2: Forgetting your Walking Shoes

It is not necessary to look like royalty when you are visiting Portugal. As a matter of fact, it is more likely to make you stand out in a bad kind of way since the civilians that you encounter will most likely be wearing modest clothes.

The roads in Portugal are also a bit different from the roads that you will find in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, or most other countries. On the contrary, a majority of the roads are quite rough since they are made out of cobblestone.

On top of that, Portugal is well-known for having a lot of hills some of which you will need to climb. So, wearing high heels might make your trip a bit more uncomfortable than you would hope for.

3: Getting too Drunk

Let’s be honest. We all love to have a few cold ones or a glass of wine every now and then, especially if we are on vacation in one of the world’s top tourist destinations.

However, in Portugal, it is frowned upon to go overboard or stumble all over the place. As a matter of fact, you will probably get more than a few judgmental looks if you get too drunk since Portuguese citizens consider it as a sign that you don’t know how to handle your alcohol.

So, it is best to keep to having a few drinks and settling for getting just a little bit tipsy as opposed to getting wildly intoxicated.

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Best Time to Visit Portugal

Camilo Beach (Praia do Camilo) at Algarve, Portugal

So by now, you have thought long and hard about your ideal holiday destination and you have most likely decided on going to Portugal, especially if you are reading this article.

The question that we need to answer next is, “When is the best time to visit Portugal?” In order to answer this question, let us take a look at a few different options and what kind of weather and activities these time frames have to offer.

1: January and February

January and February may not be the Best time to visit Portugal if you are looking for a luxurious beach holiday. It can be a great time to visit if you are interested in some of the other activities that the country has to offer.

Portugal’s weather conditions are quite rainy during the months of January and February so it is not the best time to take a dip in the ocean. However, this does not mean that you have to avoid Portugal entirely during this month and it most definitely does not mean that you should panic if you have already booked your trip during these months.

There is still a large variety of exciting things to do in Portugal despite the rainy weather conditions. For starters, you can escape the rain and winter chill by exploring the castles and forts that are located in the Eastern regions of Portugal.

There are also a couple of mind-blowing celebrations that take place in Portugal between the months of January and February. For starters, there are carnivals that have a different theme in every city.

The only things that the different cities’ carnivals have in common are that they have flamboyant parades marching down the street and everyone is dressed up in equally flamboyant costumes. This is also the period in which Three Kings’ Day festivities take place and people of all ages sing beautiful carols at your doorstep.

In other words, January to February is the best time to visit Portugal if you are looking to immerse yourself in Portuguese culture, but it is most definitely not the perfect time for a beach holiday.

2: March, April, and May

Best time to visit Portugal

The frosty winter weather has finally blown over and beautiful flowers are blooming for as far as the eyes can see. Yes, Spring time is the best time to visit Portugal if you are looking to take in a natural beauty that the country has to offer.

The weather conditions may not be ideal for swimming yet, but you will definitely feel a sense of warmth filling the air. Another reason as to why Spring is the best time to visit Portugal is due to the fact that there are plenty of festivals that take place during this time.

As a matter of fact, there is a wide variety of festivals to choose from and each of them is guaranteed to give you a once in a lifetime experience that you will be speaking about for years to come.

Best Time To Visit Portugal If You Enjoy Festivals

The first festival to add to your diary is the Freedom Day Festival where Portuguese citizens celebrate a time when the country met the end of a dictatorship that lasted for more than 40 years. The most common ways in which Freedom Day is celebrated.

You can watch one of the many spectacular concerts that are hosted during the festival or you can put your fitness levels to the test and join the freedom run. For a more culturally immersive experience, you can take part in Corrida da Liberdade which is an annual Portuguese festivity.

But wait there is more! Portugal is popularly known for their dedication to the Catholic religion which is why they have a Holy Week as well. During Holy Week you can witness the spectacle of parades marching down the roads and listen to the beautiful sounds of church choirs singing.

If you are looking for even more cultural festivities you can go and watch some spectacular and theatrical performances at the Festival de Sintra. The intention of this festival is to embrace the theatrical culture that Portugal has to offer through hosting opera shows and more.

The last festival to take note of if you are traveling to Portugal between March and May is the Fatima Pilgrimage.

This is a festival that was specially created to celebrate a time in which four apparitions of Mother Mary were witnessed by a few shepherd boys. It would appear that Springtime in Portugal is a time of celebration, so get your party boots on!

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3: June, July, and August

Palace of Pena in Sintra. Lisbon, Portugal.

As I have mentioned before, Portugal is home to some of the most beautiful beaches that you will find around the world. So, I am sure that it is safe to say that summer is without a doubt the best time to visit Portugal.

You can catch that beautiful holiday tan, splash around in the waves or even go snorkeling if you want to take full advantage of Portugal’s summer weather temperatures.

The only unfortunate part about visiting Portugal during the summer includes the fact that it is peak season which means that everyone else has traveled to Portugal for their own summer beach holiday. You will find the beaches and tourist attractions will most likely be crowded, so it is not the best time to visit Portugal if you are an introvert.

Best Time To Visit Portugal If You Love Hot Weather

Also, Portugal is known to have excessive heat temperatures in the summer which may be difficult to adjust to if you are used to a different climate. This may cause your trips to the various tourist attractions and activities that Portugal has to offer a bit uncomfortable and sweaty, to say the least.

So do not forget to bring along a bottle of cold water on your day out. Now, let us delve a bit deeper into the summer festivities that Portugal has to offer. For starters, attending Festa de São João is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Portugal.

You will get to see the sky filled with fireworks and a few entertaining dances. The next tradition that is followed at this festival is probably a lot more entertaining than the concerts and the dances are. If you want to see fully grown adults hit each other with garlic then Festa de São João is definitely the place to be.

The last festival that takes place between June and August is Portugal Day which takes place on the 10th of June. This festival was created to pay tribute to one of Portugal’s most famous poets who was adored by many.

4: September and October

Best Time To Visit Lisbon Portugal

If you would like to plan your trip based on popular opinion then any time between September and October will be the best time to visit Portugal which is the feedback that was received from previous tourists who traveled to Portugal during this time.

The primary factor that makes this period such a great time for traveling to Portugal includes the fact that the country’s weather conditions seem to find the perfect middle ground during these two months. In other words, the temperatures are not cold enough to leave you spending your entire trip cuddled up underneath your blankets but it also is not hot enough to leave you covered in sweat after a day out.

As a matter of fact, the weather conditions during these two months are absolutely perfect for those of you who are looking for things to do in Portugal without having to worry about any weather-based interruptions.

One of the best things to do in Portugal during these months includes going for a hike through some of the country’s forest, mountain, and prairie landscapes so that you can take in the beauty that Portugal has to offer while you burn those unwanted calories.

Best Time To Visit Portugal For A Winery Experience

You can also make a pit stop at one of the local wineries to get a taste of authentic Portuguese wine that comes straight from the acres of vineyards that cover the grounds. Just be sure to organize a designated driver in the event that you end up enjoying the wine a little bit too much.

This is also a great time to explore the beautiful beaches that Portugal has to offer since you won’t have to worry about freezing toes or painful sunburn. Another one of the great things to do in Portugal during the months of September and October is to go on a sightseeing adventure.

Apart from the beautiful beaches that I cannot seem to stop talking about, there is a lot more that Portugal has to offer. For starters, the country also has beautiful mountain landscapes and lush fields that are filled with colorful flowers.

The country is also home to a wide variety of wildlife that you might encounter if you are lucky enough. Otherwise, if you are traveling with children, you can always make a pit stop at the oceanarium that offers a wide variety of ocean habitats and creatures.

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5: November and December

Yellow vintage tram on the street in Lisbon, Portugal.

It is that time of the year again and what better way is there to spend your Christmas than spoiling yourself with a trip to Portugal. Some may argue that November and December is not the best time to visit Portugal due to the fact that it falls within the peak of the winter season.

However, this theory is up for debate. Although one might expect Portugal to have freezing cold temperatures but this is not necessarily the case. As a matter of fact, regardless of the fact that other areas in Europe experience freezing cold winters, you may be lucky enough to find a few sunny days during winter in Portugal.

Believe it or not, despite the fact that the Portuguese culture is most likely significantly different from your own culture there is still one thing that we all have in common which is naturally the Christmas festivities.

If you are looking for things to do in Portugal that will not cost you a cent, you can always take a stroll through the streets to take a look at the Christmas lights and decorations that have been put up in different houses.

Christmas Festivities In Portugal

On the 24th of December, you may want to plan your own family activity in your hotel room since the 24th of December is traditionally the day on which Portuguese families have get-togethers and family dinner parties to celebrate the festive season.

These dinner parties are not the usual kind of dinner parties that you may be used to. As a matter of fact, bright and lively decorations are set up all around the town in preparation for the dinner party which is in actual fact a gathering that involves most of the town and is referred to as the Midnight Mass which is a lot less scary than it sounds.

Inhabitants of the area are also likely to invite you to join in on the festivities. This will give you the traditional Christmas that you were hoping for while also giving you a taste of how Christmas is celebrated in different countries and cultures.

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Best Things to do in Portugal

Now that you have decided exactly when you will be traveling to Portugal it is time to decide on what you are going to do on your vacation. Portugal is a top tourist destination for a good reason.

It not only has some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery, but it also has great activities to keep locals and tourists entertained. Let us take a look at some of the best things to do in Portugal.

1: Benagil Sea Cave

Benagil Cave in Carvoeiro Algarve Portugal

If you have decided to plan your trip to Portugal during the summer you simply cannot afford to miss out on exploring the country’s ancient Benagil Sea Cave.

This is a great expedition for backpackers and families to embark on, especially if you want to get to know what the beach life in Portugal is really all about. The caves are also a great romantic hideout for couples who are on their honeymoon or adventure junkies who don’t want to leave any stone unturned.

2: The Anchor Cemetery

Ancient anchors in the Cemetery of the Anchors, in Tavira, Portugal

If you are looking for things to do in Portugal that aren’t too mainstream, be sure to make a pit stop at the Anchor Cemetery that is located at Praia do Barril.

Naturally, this is not going to be on your average tourist’s bucket list since, despite the fact that these are just anchors, the cemetery has a rather eerie vibe to it which is why a lot of tourists prefer to flock around the other attractions that Portugal has to offer.

However, if you are the adventurous kind of traveler who likes to walk where no man has walked before, the Anchor Cemetary should definitely be on your bucket list.

3: Sintra


Image Credit: Balate Dorin/

Are you a grown up who still enjoys fairytales? Well, there is certainly no shame in that and to make matters better there is a perfect place in Portugal where you can walk, talk and feel like royalty.

Sintra is one of Portugal’s most ancient areas and it contains Portugal’s most intricately designed architectural structures which include some beautiful castles. If you want to know what it felt like to be royalty a few centuries ago, be sure to take a stroll through the dream-like castles at Sintra.

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So, now you know what the best time to visit Portugal is and what you can do on your holiday during whichever time you plan it for.

You can now officially start planning your trip, packing your bags, and preparing yourself for a holiday that you will not soon forget.

Do not forget to take a look at some of the life changing festivals that Portugal has to offer in order to have a full cultural experience. Also, do not forget to stop by some of the country’s beautiful beaches on your journey.