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Climate in Portugal by Seasons and Regions of the Country

4 de March, 2024

Climate in Portugal by Seasons and Regions of the Country

Discover the weather and climate in Portugal throughout the seasons and in different regions: from sunny beaches to snowy mountains!
Praia do Algarve, famosa e ensolarada graças ao clima em Portugal
Reading: 9 min

Sun, warmth, paradise beaches… The image many have of Portugal is of a country blessed with a mild and inviting climate. And it’s no coincidence! With over 300 days of sunshine per year, Portugal becomes an irresistible destination for those seeking radiant days and pleasant temperatures. But the climate in Portugal goes far beyond sun and warmth. The country presents a surprising and enchanting climatic diversity. From north to south, from the coast to the interior, landscapes and climates transform.

In this article, we will explore the fascinating climatic variation of the country. Discover the peculiarities of each region throughout the different seasons of the year. Get ready to be enchanted by the surprises of the Portuguese climate. Whether you’re a lover of heat or cold, Portugal has the perfect climate for you!

The Climate in Portugal: Influences

But what makes the climate in Portugal so special?

Climatic factors in Portugal

Latitude: Situated in the extreme southwest of Europe, Portugal is bathed by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and borders Spain to the east. This position between sea and land shapes the country’s climate, creating a diversity of microclimates that vary from north to south and from coast to interior.

Atlantic influence: The Atlantic Ocean has a significant influence on the climate in Portugal, especially in coastal regions. Cold ocean currents moderate temperatures, making summers milder and winters softer. This influence is particularly evident in the northern part of the country, where the climate is more humid and rainy.

Mountainous relief: Mountains also play an important role in the climate in Portugal. The Central Range, which crosses the Iberian Peninsula, creates a natural barrier that prevents the entry of cold air masses from the north. This contributes to the interior regions of Portugal having more extreme temperatures, with hotter summers and colder winters.

Climatic Diversity in Portugal: from Porto to Lisbon

  • Average annual temperature: 17°C
  • Days of sunshine per year: Over 300
  • Average annual precipitation: 500 mm
  • Warmest region: Algarve (annual average of 18°C)
  • Coldest region: Serra da Estrela (annual average of 10°C)

Fontes: Instituto Português do Mar e da Atmosfera (IPMA) e World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Spring in Portugal: Cherry Blossoms (Source: TurismodoCentro.pt)

How is the weather in Portugal in Spring?

(March 20/21 to June 20/21)

Flowers take over the scenery in Portuguese spring and are everywhere, as nature is valued in the country, with most cities being quite tree-lined and filled with gardens. It is also a season of long days, with the sun setting after eight in the evening in June.

In the north, the season arrives with mild temperatures, between 10°C and 20°C, and verdant landscapes. It still rains, contributing to the lushness of the vegetation.

In the center (Lisbon and Coimbra), the coastal region offers inviting beaches for the first swims of the season. In the interior, flowery fields and verdant landscapes provide bucolic settings for unforgettable walks.

In the south, especially in the Algarve, spring is hot and sunny, with average temperatures that can exceed 25°C. This region is known for its golden sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, attracting visitors for activities such as sunbathing, coastal walks, and water sports. By this time, tourists begin to arrive and fill the luxury resorts and hotels, eager for the warmth.

In the Alentejo and other inland areas, the heat intensifies, reaching up to 30°C. It’s ideal for agriculture. Fields become flowery, and orchards, full of tasty fruits. The hottest cities, like Évora and Beja, celebrate spring with cultural festivals and traditional fairs.

In spring, the Portuguese often enjoy outdoor walks, family picnics, visits to parks and gardens, and participation in local cultural events and festivals. Cafés and outdoor terraces start to fill up with people wanting to enjoy the first warm days.

How is Summer in Portugal?

(June 21 to September 23)

In the north, especially on the coast, the climate tends to be milder and more humid, with maximum temperatures usually ranging between 20°C and 30°C. The coolest cities in this region include Porto and Viana do Castelo.

In the south, the climate becomes hotter and drier, with maximum temperatures often exceeding 30°C and even reaching 40°C on some days. Cities like Faro and Albufeira experience very hot summers.

Throughout the country’s coastline, whether in the north or south, it is common to find a cool breeze coming from the ocean, which makes the climate more tolerable during the summer months. However, inland, especially in mountainous areas, temperatures can be higher and the air drier, making the heat more intense. Inland cities like Évora and Beja are known for having particularly hot summers. In this region, temperatures can reach up to 40 degrees.

In summer, the Portuguese often enjoy outdoor activities: they go to the beach, cycle in the streets with family, have gatherings in parks, enjoy the long warm nights for outdoor dinners, and take night walks through the city. Many people also take advantage of the summer vacation to travel around the country or to beach destinations in southern Portugal. The Algarve is full of visitors. It is also the season of music festivals and medieval fairs.

Clima em Portugal: paisagem do outono em Amarante
Autumn landscape in Amarante. (Source: Amarante Tourism/Facebook)

How is the weather in Portugal in autumn?

(September 22 or 23 to December 21 or 22)

The first weeks of Portuguese autumn are usually pleasant. There are still sunny days, although they become shorter as the days go by. Temperatures start to decrease by the end of October, marking the beginning of an alternation between rainy and sunny days.

In mid-November, there is a period of sunny weather known as São Martinho’s Summer, which coincides with the celebration of the saint of the same name. It is when there is a break in adverse weather conditions, bringing sunnier days and milder temperatures. This phenomenon is often accompanied by the tradition of roasting chestnuts and drinking new wine and is associated with a curious legend of a saint who split his cloak in half to cover a cold beggar, and in gratitude, the sun shone intensely, bringing a period of warm and mild weather.

In the north, maximum temperatures usually range between 5°C and 20°C. The coolest cities in this region include Bragança, Vila Real, Viseu, and Braga.

In the south, autumn is still relatively warm, with maximum temperatures that can reach 25°C, especially at the beginning of the season. In cities like Faro and Albufeira, it is still possible to enjoy sunny days with a summer feel, even in the middle of autumn.

How is winter in Portugal?

(21/22 de dezembro a 20/21 de março)

When comparing Portuguese winter to that of other European countries, it becomes clear that the climate in the country is very pleasant.

In the southern part of the country, even winter is mild and sunny. Maximum temperatures in this region vary between 7°C and 15°C, with less rain compared to the north. The Algarve beaches continue to be a point of interest, attracting visitors seeking to escape the colder weather in other parts of Europe, although swimming activities are less common at this time of year.

In northern Portugal, winter is colder and wetter. Maximum temperatures can vary between 5°C and 10°C, and minimum temperatures can reach zero degrees Celsius or even below zero in some areas such as Peneda-Gerês National Park, Serra da Estrela, and parts of the Minho and Trás-os-Montes regions. There are frequent rains and periods of fog.

Clima em Portugal: Imagem do Inverno ee da neve em Bragança (Fonte: Turismo de Bragança)
Clima em Portugal: Inverno em Bragança (Fonte: Turismo de Bragança)

Does it snow in Portugal?

Yes! In the interior of Portugal, especially in the mountainous regions of Serra da Estrela, winter is characterized by lower temperatures and occasional snowfalls. Places like Covilhã and Guarda may experience harsh winters, with temperatures dropping below zero and snow covering the landscapes, creating opportunities for winter sports and related activities.

Where to see snow in Portugal?

Serra da Estrela

Serra da Estrela is the main destination for those wishing to see snow in Portugal. With an altitude of 1,993 meters, the mountain range provides low temperatures during winter, making it ideal for skiing, with a ski resort available for enthusiasts of this sport. Covilhã is one of the nearby base cities, facilitating access for visitors. Seia, Manteigas, Gouveia, and other surrounding cities also offer lodging options and a rich local gastronomy to complement the experience in the region.

Montesinho Natural Park

In the northern part of the country, Montesinho Natural Park, in Trás-os-Montes, offers high chances of witnessing snow due to its high altitude. This region is known for its picturesque villages, such as Rio de Onor and Montesinhos, which preserve traditional architecture and offer a charming atmosphere even without snow.

Peneda-Gerês National Park

Another destination is Peneda-Gerês National Park, where locations like Soajo, Pitões das Júnias, and Montalegre provide authentic experiences in the midst of nature, with the possibility of snow in winter. In the Serra do Marão, located in the Center-North of Portugal, snow is common due to its altitude of 1,400 meters.

Piódão

Further south, near Serra da Estrela, is the Serra do Açor, where the stunning village of Piódão is located, known as the most beautiful in Portugal. Although snow is not guaranteed, a visit to this historic village, with its shale and slate houses, is highly recommended.

Other cities…

Additionally, cities like Bragança, Marvão, Guarda, and Gouveia, due to their high altitudes, also have the possibility of being covered in snow during the coldest months.

Does it snow in Porto and Lisbon?

It is extremely rare for it to snow in the cities of Porto or Lisbon, due to their Mediterranean climate, altitude, and proximity to the sea. In both cities, hailstorms are common.
In Lisbon, the phenomenon was recorded in 1954, 1974, 2006, according to Visão Magazine.

In Porto, where the cold is more intense, snow can occur in some municipalities of the Porto District (surroundings), especially those at higher altitudes. It is extremely rare for it to snow in the city of Porto, even more so in its historic center, due to the low altitude and proximity to the river. What usually happens in the city is a form of wet snow that melts instantly upon touching the ground.

What are the warmest regions in Portugal?

Algarve:

Located in the south of the country, the Algarve is known for its paradise beaches and mild climate throughout the year. In cities like Faro and Albufeira, the average temperature in August can reach 35°C, with peaks of up to 40°C. The sea water temperature is also quite pleasant in summer, ranging between 20°C and 25°C.

Alentejo:

Alentejo, the region south of the Tejo River, is known for its arid landscapes and hot, dry climate. In cities like Évora and Beja, the average temperature in August can reach 38°C, with peaks of up to 45°C.

Douro Valley:

Located in the north of Portugal, the Douro Valley is famous for its vineyards and mountainous landscapes. In cities like Pinhão and Peso da Régua, the average temperature in August can reach 32°C, with peaks of up to 35°C. Nights in the Douro Valley are often cool, ideal for resting.

Ribatejo:

Ribatejo, the region north of Lisbon, is known for its fertile plains and hot, dry climate. In cities like Santarém and Coruche, the average temperature in August can reach 34°C, with peaks of up to 38°C.

Lisbon:

The Portuguese capital has a Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. In summer, temperatures can reach 30°C, especially in July and August. The sea water temperature on Lisbon’s beaches ranges between 18°C and 22°C in summer.

What time of year to visit Portugal?

Portugal has charms in every season of the year. However, if I had to choose among all seasons and months of the year, I would suggest a visit to the country in June. At the end of spring, the country is still covered in fragrant flowers. It’s not yet hot, but it’s not cold either. It rarely rains, and the population is receptive and eager for outdoor activities. There’s a feeling of happiness in the air…

If you are planning to live in Portugal, be sure to also check out our articles on the main Portuguese cities and also on the affordable cities to live in the country. If you are looking for residence permits, see here all the available options. If you wish to speak with our experts, please fill out our request form here.

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Author:

Atlantic Bridge

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