Climate of Portugal
Where is the country of Portugal located? Portugal is a southern European country on the Iberian Peninsula, bordering Spain. Although Portugal, like Spain, is located on the Iberian Peninsula, it has a different climate. Portugal is generally a bit cooler than Spain because of the cooler seawater of the Atlantic Ocean. The west of the country has a maritime climate and the south (the Algarve) a Mediterranean climate. According to the Köppen climate classification, the whole country except the northern part has a Mediterranean climate, with warm dry summers, and the north has a moderate maritime climate, with cooler, dry summers.
Portugal is therefore a popular holiday destination for a reason. Many Dutch tourists choose to book a holiday to cities such as Porto or Lisbon, or to enjoy the sun in the Algarve. If you are smart, you can book a car in Portugal to discover as much of the country as possible. You can easily compare online car rental companies in Portugal before you go on holiday and reserve your car directly online.
In the summer months there is relatively little rainfall throughout Portugal. With a few tens of millimeters on average per month you will soon have had it. Especially in the Algarve, the total amount of precipitation in the summer months is very low.
On an annual basis there is quite a lot of precipitation in some regions in Portugal. The area around the Serra da Estrela (mountain range) is good for about 2500 millimeters per year, the northern mountain area has to process about two thousand millimeters. Along the coast it gets drier from north to south. Porto accounts for more than 1200 mm per year, Lisbon just under 800 mm and in the Algarve the average is around 500 millimeters on an annual basis.
On average, it does not get as hot in Portugal as, for example, the area around Seville in Spain, but here too peaks towards 40 degrees can occur. Especially the interior and the eastern part of the Algarve can experience high temperatures of 35 to 40 degrees in July and August. Along the coast, the heat is generally relatively well tolerated. Even when it is very hot, the relatively low relative humidity ensures that it does not get too stuffy.
Winters are mild, especially along the coastal areas. In the Algarve there is no snow in winter and the temperature during the day is often around pleasant spring-like temperatures of about 15 to 18 degrees. No bikini weather, but pleasant. The further north and higher you go, the less pleasant the winters become. In the mountains, snowfall is not a strange phenomenon and frost can also occur. Rain is quite common in the period from October to April, especially in the mountains.
Fortunately, Portugal is not directly affected by hurricanes, but it is sometimes indirectly affected. It is possible that remnants of hurricanes such as a major depression reach Portugal and cause a lot of precipitation and wind.
The Azores (Açores), which lie a bit west of mainland Portugal, are important for our weather. In summer, the strength and size of the high pressure area over the Azores determines the summer weather for much of Europe. In the Azores itself, under the influence of the Gulf Stream, it is almost always spring-like, with temperatures between 16 and 24 degrees during the day.
The island of Madeira is called the island of eternal spring, because there is always a pleasant temperature where it rarely gets too hot. Spring-like does not automatically mean dry. There is certainly sufficient precipitation in the period from October to May, especially in the northern part of the island.
The figures below are based on long-term average climate statistics. The temperatures are displayed in degrees Celsius (°C).
|Maximum temperature||Minimum temperature||Hours of sunshine per day||Days of rainfall per month||Water temperature|
Best time to visit Portugal
Do you want to know when is the best time to travel to Portugal? You can determine the best time to travel to a destination based on the weather and climate. In addition, there are other factors that are not directly related to the weather and that can influence the best travel periods for a travel destination. Think, for example, of holidays or festive periods, which makes traveling more interesting or not, because daily life comes to a standstill as a result. Portugal is the most southwestern country in Europe. Portugal is not on the Mediterranean Sea like the other countries that lie in the southern strip of Europe. Portugal is located on the Atlantic Ocean. The air temperatures are as you would expect in a warm or temperate Mediterranean climate. What you notice is that the sea water is cooler than that of the Mediterranean and that Portugal has less to do with the heat as you can experience in the summer in neighboring Spain.
The period from May to mid-October is the general best time to travel to Portugal. It depends on what you want to do in Portugal and where you are traveling to. For a beach holiday, the months of July, August and the beginning of September are the best times to visit the Portuguese beaches. For a city trip we would avoid the months of July and August because of the heat. This also applies to those who want to spend an active holiday in Portugal.
If you want to make a city trip to Portugal, you will quickly end up at cities such as Porto, Coimbra and Lisbon. Porto is quite north along the Atlantic coast, Lisbon is more south and Coimbra is a bit halfway, but then forty kilometers inland. The best months to make a city trip to one of these cities are May, June and September. The second half of April and the first half of October are reasonable alternatives. It is then slightly cooler and the chance of rain is slightly greater.
If you are going to make a tour through Portugal, it is more pleasant if it is not too hot. In the interior it can regularly be thirty degrees or warmer from mid-June. This will remain so until the end of September. If a tour is planned that includes the interior, then May, the first half of June, the second half of September and the first half of October are the best times to do it.
The Algarve region is Portugal’s most popular holiday destination. The Algarve covers the entire south coast. The Mediterranean climate here ensures good weather for much of the year. In winter there is regular rain, but even then it can be pleasant enough to avoid the winter cold of the Netherlands. However, it is not beach weather. If you want to enjoy the beaches of the Algarve to the fullest and enjoy a wonderful holiday in the sun, travel to the various seaside resorts on the Algarve in July or August. The air temperature during the day is around 25 to 30 degrees, there is hardly any rain, the sun shows itself a lot and the seawater is at its warmest with an average of 21 degrees Celsius.
The island of eternal spring, Madeira, is located in the Atlantic Ocean north of the Canary Islands. Madeira is mainly visited for nature, culture and to be active in pleasant conditions. Hiking in particular is a popular activity in Madeira. Based on the temperatures and the chance of precipitation, mid-April to mid-October is the best time to travel to Madeira. If you want something cooler, it is best to travel in the spring, when maximum temperatures are around 20 to 22 degrees. Those who prefer it a bit warmer should focus on the warmer autumn. The maximums then go towards 23 to 26 degrees Celsius.
The Azores archipelago is also part of Portugal. The Azores are located about 1500 kilometers west of the Portuguese mainland. As in Madeira, the Azores have moderate temperatures, which means that it has spring-like weather for much of the year. Traveling to the Azores will take you to Portugal’s wettest destination. Its location in the Atlantic Ocean makes the Azores more prone to disturbances. Because the summer months are the driest, sunniest and warmest, the period from June to August is the best time to travel to the Azores.