Portugal enjoys some of the warmest weather in Europe, with temperatures similar to most Mediterranean countries, but with a cooling breeze from the Atlantic.
Portugal weather averages and climate information
Although Portugal has a coastline that faces the Atlantic Ocean, its climate is very much like that of most Mediterranean countries. This means it’s hot in the summer and temperate in the winter, which makes it popular with tourists looking for some winter sunshine.
Portugal gets more sunshine on average than California, which is due to it sharing the same latitude as its neighbour Spain. An average temperature of 21 °C for the year is helped by mild winter temperatures that dip to 14 °C in the capital Lisbon in the centre of the country. Head further south to the popular Algarve region and average temperatures are 16°C.
The inland part of Portugal is smaller than most European countries, but it’s hotter than the coast during the summer as it doesn’t have the same cooling winds. To the north, the weather is cooler, but where you find beaches the water temperature is good for swimming. When the Atlantic winds blow, Portugal is also noted for its windsurfing.
The Algarve region in the south of Portugal is the most popular tourist destination due to its higher temperatures year-round than the north. You can expect a high average of 29 °C in the height of summer and an average of 26 °C throughout this season.
Head for the north of Portugal and temperatures are a little cooler in general but still average 26 °C between June and September. This is tempered on the coast by a breeze from the Atlantic, but inland regions can be hotter as they are protected from the wind by mountains.
Summer weather in Portugal
Peak summer temperatures of 29 °C in Lisbon and the southern half of Portugal can be expected during the daytime. It makes this part of the country feel comfortably warm and there’s very little rainfall from June to August, with no more than 4mm expected per month. Between May and August, there’s at least 10 hours of daily sunshine, rising to 12 hours in July.
Winter weather in Portgual
If you stay in the southern half of Portugal during the winter, you’ll experience mild temperatures that average 16 °C between December and January in the Algarve. Move to the north of the country and the weather is more severe due to the effects of the Atlantic Ocean. Strong winds and high rainfall averaging as much as 120mm in December make the weather more severe.
When is the best time to go to Portugal?
The best time to go to Portugal is in July when temperatures rise to 29 °C but coastal areas still feel fresh thanks to a cooling wind from the Atlantic.
For sunshine and warm temperatures, it’s best to avoid the north of Portugal between November and March. The southern half of the country from Lisbon down has much more agreeable winter temperatures, with an average of 14 °C in the capital and 16 °C in the Algarve in winter.
Portugal tourist information
Should you visit during winter, Portugal's average daytime maximum temperatures are an approximate 16 °C, similar to that on the coastal towns of Spain. The average number of sunshine hours is five to six per day during these winter months. Portugal receives refreshing sea breezes, making for very pleasant conditions during the summer months, where maximum temperatures average 28 °C alongside averages of 12 hours of sunshine per day.
Named after its second largest city Porto, which came from the Roman name for the Port of Cale - a vital port town in the north of the country - Portugal was formerly at the forefront of overseas exploration; with many colonies in the Far East and South America. Their trade routes helped them to become a major force on the world's economy, until left-leaning constitutions took hold in the mid-20th century and caused the grant of independence to many of their colonies.
With only Spain as its neighbour on the whole peninsula, Portugal packs more than 35,000 square miles into its borders, ensuring that there is more than enough things to see and do for anyone making the trip there. Capital city Lisbon and second city Porto attract the majority of travellers looking to expand their cultural horizons; both are on the west coast of the country which will have afforded their major city status while acting as shipping trade ports.
Given its rich history, Portugal is home to many significant sites that are listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, making a trip to see them essential. The Alto Douro Wine Region is one such location; it is believed that the agreeable climate and healthy soil has seen grapes grown here for wine production since Roman times. Other sites of major historical interest include two 12th century monasteries and the Prehistoric Rock Art Sites in the Côa Valley, located near the Spanish border.
The nightlife particularly in Lisbon is diverse and hugely popular among visitors and residents alike; as are the most celebrated sports in the country. World-famous footballers such as Eusebio are still held in high esteem by fans of his main club Benfica; with whom he won eleven league titles. Visit a Benfica or Sporting Lisbon football match to see just how seriously the Portuguese take their football!
Climate and weather information for popular holiday destinations across Portugal:
Last updated: Mar 14, 2014 10:07 AM