While there’s really not a bad time to travel to Portugal, it is important to keep your interests in mind while you’re deciding when to go. Depending on how much you are willing to spend and what you want to see and enjoy, some months provide better options than others. Without further ado, here is our travel guide on the best time to visit Portugal with Acanela.
BEST TIME FOR SURFING
Although it’s not necessarily the warmest season, surfers will find the best waves in Portugal from November to January. With an abundance of coastline (in addition to the Azores Islands), Portugal has the perfect surf spot for all. To watch the pros in action under the blue skies, visit Nazare or Peniche. For those looking to try out this water sport but not feeling ready to hit the colossal waves just yet, the beaches near Porto, Figueira da Foz, Sagres, or Ericeira are all calmer surf options. Note that you should avoid surfing in Portugal in the late winter, as this is when the waters become stormier and much more dangerous.
BEST TIME FOR MUSIC
Portugal’s music festivals are normally in full swing between spring and fall, with the peak falling between June and August. No matter your taste in music, there is an option for everyone's ears.
Rock in Rio Lisboa is one of Lisbon’s largest annual events. Held in Bela Vista Park, this nine-day music festival features world-famous musicians and internationally recognized DJs.
For a contemporary music festival, check out Serralves Em Festa in Porto. Many workshops, exhibitions, artists and guided tours accompany these three days of music.
For a great mix of music and the beach, the EDP Beach Party is a huge two-day electronic dance music party in Matosinhos.
Lastly, jazz lovers can head to Lisbon in August for Jazz em Agosto for the most important annual jazz event of the year. Hosted in an open-air amphitheater, listen to many world-acclaimed musicians in this free-admission event.
BEST TIME TO VISIT THE ALGARVE
Located on Portugal’s southern coastline, the Algarve offers stunning beaches, a fantastic climate, and aesthetic fishing towns. Avoid large crowds of tourists, partying college students, and scorching temperatures by visiting the Algarve from either late April to early June or mid-September to late October. While the waters may still be too cold to enjoy in the spring, it is still a great time to lie on the beach and enjoy the breathtaking ocean views. This is also a good time to enjoy the great golfing options in this region. Hike up to the popular viewpoint of Ponta da Pieda or kayak through the picturesque caves for alternative activities to ocean swimming.
Post-peak summer season, expect warm water temperatures until at least halfway through the fall.
For the most popular towns with a great mix of good restaurants, nightlife, history, and beaches, look into visiting Lagos, Albufeira, and Tavira.
BEST TIME TO VISIT THE AZORES
This Portuguese archipelago in the North Atlantic Ocean has abundant sightseeing, nature, and activities to offer. For most visits, you’ll find the most prime opportunities from April to June. At this time, you will be able to find great availability of all hotels, transportation, sights, and activities. Expect better rates up to 30 to 40 percent cheaper than the high peak summer months.
The Azores are also a great whale-watching spot with many different species swimming throughout the surrounding water. April through June is a great time for this activity due to the specific migratory routes during this period.
The biggest events of the year for this region are the Santo Cristo Festivities that occur in Panto Delgada and Sao Miguel every April to May. Expect the return of thousands of native Azoreans for this highly religious event.
For another local event, Tourada a Corda, also known as the running of the bulls takes place every day from May to September on Terceira Island. Note that crowds tend to get very busy by July, so plan far in advance if planning on visiting during this region’s peak season.
BEST TIME TO VISIT PORTO
Porto is Portugal’s second-largest city and a popular tourist destination with its picturesque riverfront. Wander through the streets and check out the hiking paths in search of delicious food and wine. Head to Porto in either late spring or early autumn.
Spring presents sunny and warm days alongside the colorful foliage which should be in full bloom. Early autumn can still boast warm temperatures (62-75 F), but the city and surrounding beaches will not be super packed with tourists.
Porto is one of the wettest cities of southern Europe, so you should prepare prepare for rainy days if you’re visiting outside of the previously highlighted seasons.
BEST TIME TO VISIT FOR WINE
The northern part of Portugal is well known for its delicious wine. September to October is the grape harvest season in Portugal’s Douro Valley. Check out the autumn scenery and enjoy the comfortable temperatures. This is a great time to cycle or stroll through the valley, as the weather will not reach its sweltering peak as it does in July or August. Take advantage of participating in the time-sensitive wine activities such as the harvest, wine production, and many tours that only occur during that specific time of the year.
Time to take advantage of Portugal and all of its stunning beaches, great events and delicious food! Which activity will help pick your best time to visit Portugal? Let Acanela help you plan your next trip to this popular destination!
Post written by Kirsten Cusack, @kirqsak