A guide to weather in Portugal

It might seem pretty obvious that Portugal is a hot and sunny country, but don’t think that’s all this fantastic destination has to offer. Like any other country on Earth, Portugal enjoys its own unique approach to the seasons of the year, and different parts of the country will offer you different experiences, depending on when you visit and how far north or south they are.

Most holidaymakers heading to Portugal gravitate to the bustling and sunny shores of the Algarve area, but don’t discount a break to the islands of Madeira either. Our team of experts have put together a handy guide that’ll help you get ready for your time in the Portuguese sun.

Seasons in Portugal

If you look at a map of the world, you’ll find that Portugal has similarities to the UK, inasmuch as it’s a narrow country with the same timezone. This means that, unlike the tropical countries of Asia or even other countries just a little further south, Portugal has the same cycle of spring, summer, autumn and winter that most other European countries enjoy.

With that in mind, you can expect the hottest times of the year to be the summer months of June, July and August, followed closely by spring’s March, April and May. For those six months of the year, temperatures rarely dip below a warm and welcome 20°C.

However, in the height of summer, you’re going to be seeing days often surpassing 30°C, so you’ll want to pack sunglasses, sunscreen and light, breathable clothes. 12 hours of non-stop sun is the norm in the long sunshine days you’ll be enjoying in the warmer months.

If a winter break is more on your agenda, you should be aware that winter is a fairly rainy time in Portugal. Having said that, autumn and winter in Portugal still beat what you’ll put up with back home, with 17°C in the cooler months presenting a pretty respectable average.

It’s no wonder so many people are choosing to make Portugal their winter break destination of choice. September and October are becoming popular months for holidaymakers looking to beat the traditional holiday bustle of high summer.

North versus South

The popularity of southern coastal regions of Portugal for holidaymakers is real for a reason. Put simply, it’s the hottest part of the country for most of the year, although the whole country enjoys no small amount of sunshine. It’s in the south that you’re most likely to experience those dizzying temperature highs that leave the sweltering benchmark of 30°C far behind.

Meanwhile, in the far north of Portugal, temperatures are still warm, yet they’re more close to matching the kinds of winters you’re used to back home, or in other countries further north in Central Europe. Some northern Portuguese mountain ranges remain snowcapped right until the middle of spring, while the Algarve in the south is already well on its way to a seasonal high by that time.

The difference in Madeira

The Portuguese island of Madeira is a fair distance from mainland Portugal and, although the island is classified by many experts as subtropical, for the most part the weather remains entirely Mediterranean. That means you’re going to find the warmth here similar to Portugal, with the key difference being that the overall yearly average is less extreme between seasons.

In winter, expect nothing below 15°C, and in summer, expect nothing much higher than 25°C. However, with the rain season hitting towards the end of the year, most visitors to Madeira still choose late summer and early autumn as their preferred time to visit.

Whether you’re going to Madeira or Portugal, one thing’s for certain, and that’s the guarantee of glorious sunshine and a fantastic climate that’s yours to enjoy.