Portugal truly is a country with everything: from white sand beaches, beautiful architecture, and all kinds of wine. It is no surprise that Portugal has been a popular tourist destination, especially for solo female travelers.
It can be difficult to choose the right time to visit the country because there is so much to see and so many landscapes.
It can be cold and rainy in winter, but there is no wrong time or right time. You can experience many seasonal and unique festivals that are well worth the effort. It all depends on what you are interested in.
You can go to Porto to taste the Port wine or you want to find the best time to visit Sintra.
This is my guide to help determine the best time for you to visit Portugal.
March through May
Portugal’s springtime is a great time to visit.
Tourists are welcomed back to attractions that were closed in winter by their doors. The hills become a vibrant green as the blooms of colorful flowers. Rain is possible throughout the day, so plan accordingly if you have outdoor plans.
But don’t be discouraged by the rainy storms that are often interspersed with blue skies and periods of sunshine. You can also enjoy a little rain if you are willing to take it.
You’ll find many spring celebrations, including many cheese festivals, a fish fest in Lisbon in April, a chocolate festival at Obidos, a Maderia flower festival, and the Iberian Mask Festival at Lisbon in May.
From June to September
Portugal’s summer brings in a lot of sunshine, which attracts people from all over the globe.
Tourists make it difficult to navigate the streets, beaches and other sites. Prices can rise by up to 30%, and local transportation options are often sold out. To save money, time and headaches, it is a good idea to book in advance if you plan to visit during summer months.
Evenings can get very hot so plan your itinerary around indoor activities that will keep you cool. Museums are great places to do this!
Summer is a great time to visit Portugal’s coastline if you are comfortable bumping into other tourists. Nazare, along with the entire Algarve region (Portugal’s southernmost region), are brimming with tourists and locals who want to enjoy the warm turquoise waters.
October through November
Autumn is a wonderful time to visit Portugal. The crowds have gone and the weather starts to cool down. The autumn colors begin to emerge in oak and vineyard forests, which turn their color into autumnal reds or golds. For the best fall colors, visit the forests in Montesinho Natural Park, Serra de Estrela and Coimbra.
Fall is also the time when grape harvesting starts so if you’re looking to sip some Portuguese wine at a local vineyard, this is the perfect season. Layers are a must!
A wine tasting tour is a great way to see Porto, the famous porto wine. Even Lisbon can be your destination for a wine tasting tour!
Fall is also a great time to visit if your goal is to enjoy food-related festivals. Lousa hosts honey and chestnut festivals, while Fundao hosts a mushroom festival.
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From December to February
Winter can be very cold in Portugal, and many resorts close down.
It is harder to plan a vacation when tourist attractions are closed or not open. Plan ahead and dress warmly. Also, bring an umbrella. It’s still a great time to visit because there are few people and the lodging is quite affordable.
You can also spend winter months in Portugal skiing. You can spend your day on the slopes, then wander the streets lined by Christmas market stalls.
You can extend your vacation by visiting Madeira, which is known for its spectacular fireworks display, or Praia dos Pescadores, Algarve. You can also enjoy special concerts throughout the country to welcome in the new year.
The last holiday is Three Kings’ Day, which takes place on January 6th. Many families host a traditional dinner, children are often given gifts, and carolers sing door-to-door. If you are able to make it during this period, you will be able to enjoy all the holiday cheer!
All in all
As I said, there is no right or wrong time to visit Portugal. It all depends on the activities you choose and the weather conditions you prefer.
While shoulder seasons can be a great way to save money and beat the crowds, keep in mind that not all resort and coastal towns have as many open places.