When to Go to Portugal

The peak season for visiting Portugal begins in spring and lasts through early autumn. From March to May much of the countryside is covered with wildflowers. April is often rainy, but in May the weather warms up.

In general, it is not insufferably hot in Portugal in summer, except in the interior of the Alentejo. Along the coast, cool breezes mean you might need an extra layer in the evening. With locals hitting the beaches in July and August, weekend traffic can be unbearable. Like many European capitals, Lisbon traditionally shuts down in August. It's a great time of year to explore the cooler Minho, or head for Portugal’s highest mountain range, the Serra de Estrela.

September sees most people back at work, and beaches empty out, even though the Atlantic waters are at their warmest. It's also the grape harvest season—the perfect time to visit wineries. The rains begin in early November.

Winter brings snow to the mountains and rain in the valleys. Homes are generally not well insulated or heated, and budget accommodations might not be, either. For reliable winter sun, head for the Algarve.

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