When’s the best time to go?
Rich history, medieval castles, delicious food and stunning scenery all come together to make Portugal a must-visit holiday destination for families and couples. But when is the best time of year to plan your trip? Our Portugal travel advice will help you decide.
Regardless of which part of the country you visit, summers here are generally hot, while winters are a little cooler, with snow in the mountains. Generally speaking, the weather is always a few degrees warmer in the south, with a yearly average temperature of 18°C. In the middle of the country, summer temperatures can really start to climb, with an average of 35-40°C. On the coast, the sea breeze takes the edge off the heat and you’re more likely to see a maximum of 35°C in July and August, which makes for fantastic beach weather.
You’ll find Portugal is less busy and flights and accommodation are more affordable outside the summer months, with late spring and late autumn both popular times of year to visit. The sea here is at its warmest from July to September, something to bear in mind if you’re planning on snorkelling, swimming or trying your hand at some watersports.
Even in the winter months, temperatures rarely fall below 5°C and the average temperature is around 10°C. There can be rainy days, so pack some warmer clothes as well as a waterproof jacket. This is still an ideal time of year for a winter break to enjoy some sightseeing, shopping and dining out, especially if you prefer things a little quieter and less crowded.
What should I pack?
Portugal’s Mediterranean climate means hot, sunny summer days and cool winters, but the weather rarely gets too cold, unless you’re visiting the mountains where there can be snow.
For summer trips to Portugal, make sure you pack plenty of sun cream, a hat and sunglasses to protect you from the sun’s rays. You’ll also need your swimwear if you’re planning on spending time at the beach or by the pool, as well as something to cover up with if you decide to go sightseeing or visit a restaurant for lunch.
Pack plenty of light, cool clothes for summer breaks, but don’t forget a light jacket or extra layer for cooler evenings or rainy days. With cooler temperatures in autumn and winter, trousers or jeans are ideal for sightseeing and shopping. Comfortable shoes are also a must for exploring, with a pair of sandals or flip-flops for the beach.
Passport and Visas
Do I need a passport?
You will need a valid passport to enter Portugal, but your passport does not need to have a specific period of validity, as long as it covers your stay in the country.
For more information on Portugal passports and details of the country’s entry requirements, head to https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/portugal/entry-requirements.
Do I need a visa?
British citizens visiting Portugal on holiday do not need a visa. If you’re unsure whether you will need a visa, it’s best to check with the Portuguese Embassy.
Health and Safety
Should I get travel health insurance?
Having comprehensive travel and health insurance is a must if you’re planning a holiday to Portugal. If you’re injured or fall ill abroad, your insurance could help to cover the cost of emergency medical treatment or even flying you back to the UK. It’s recommended to check your policy before your trip, just so you know what is and what isn’t covered. You should also ensure that your insurance will cover you for any activities you have planned.
Any other tips?
- The currency here is the Euro. While you’ll find cash machines in most larger towns, cities and resorts, you may find you’re unable to pay with your credit card in more rural areas and smaller towns.
- The police can stop you to ask for ID at any time, so it’s a good idea to carry your original passport or a photocopy of your passport’s data page with you at all times.
- For more information and travel advice for your trip to Portugal, head to https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/portugal.