There are an endless number of reasons to visit Portugal. Portuguese cuisine is diverse and delicious, the wine is internationally renowned, and the architecture is sumptuous and distinctive. To top it off, Portugal has some of the best year-round weather in Europe. For that reason, there are many great times throughout the year to travel to this beautiful coastal country, but to truly determine the best time to visit Portugal, continue reading to discover the best times and places to travel with your Portugal car rental.
Portugal's proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the powerful currents of the Gulf Stream have blessed the country with great weather, and it boasts summers and winters that are mild, neither too hot or too cold. June through September bring nearly endless sun and temperatures in the mid-eighties all across Portugal. In general, November through January tends to be rainier, but with plenty of sun even during the rainy season and temperatures that never get too low, even the off season brings plenty of magical vacation opportunities.
Like many places in Europe, July and August are the peak tourist season in Portugal. August, in particular, is very busy due to the fact that it's Portugal's holiday month, so Portuguese travelers join the throngs of international tourists. You'll have to pay the highest peak season prices in July and August, but the hot weather is perfect to spend endless days on Portugal's sunny beaches.
In Portugal, spring starts earlier, in February, and autumn ends later, usually in November, which means that there are plenty of shoulder season months for those travelers that would like to avoid the worst of the crowds. If you're interested in hiking or walking around cities to take in the great architecture and monuments, spring and fall are the perfect times to be outside. Portugal is still sunny, but the weather is a little cooler, and Porto, the capital city, is one of the best European cities to visit in May. You're also more likely to find cheaper flight and hotel deals in the shoulder season when compared to the peak season. If you have the freedom to travel in winter, Portugal makes a great off season destination. Winters bring crisp sunshine and blue skies to central Portugal, mild weather to the southern coast, and snow-capped peaks perfect for skiing to the mountains along the border. Just remember to bring layers if you travel to Portugal in winter; the days will be beautiful, but the nights are likely to be chilly. In winter, rent a car in Algarve or on the island of Madeira. The former has nearly perfect weather in winter, and the latter hosts the largest fireworks display in the world every New Year's Eve.
Have you ever wanted to experience Carnival but are put off by the complete debauchery of Rio de Janeiro during Carnival season? February might be the best time to go to Portugal if that's the case. Portugal originally brought Christianity and the pre-Lent celebrations that accompany it to Brazil, but Brazil's lively Carnival celebrations have, in turn, influenced the way the Portuguese now celebrate. A number of cities across Portugal host Carnival celebrations that are sure to leave you breathless.
With so much to do in this beautiful country with a great climate, just about any time of the year is the best time to travel to Portugal. This makes traveling to this great nation easy for you; just decide what you'd like to do while you're there, and then plan your amazing Portugal getaway around those activities. Before you travel, learn all you need to know with advice and tips in our Portugal Travel Guide, or find inspiration in our Portugal Road Trip Planners.