After living here 3 years and after having visited Portugal for the last 12, I can honestly say that I like Portugal best out of season!
The summers are great, they are busy, lively, hot, yes very hot!
The days are made of Swimming, beaches, long evenings, sweat and looking for refuge.
It’s the only season when you will see a Portuguese dressed in a ‘summery’ way and you wont find them on the beach or street between 12pm and 3pm and some days not even before 5pm because of this gigantic dry heat that marks each summer.
You’ll see the tourists huffing and puffing, red faced, slow moving and sweaty backed through the cities and from the beaches their exploring, looking like their every step could be the last, sun burnt children desperately licking ice creams while “moaningly” complaining as the parents try to find refuge in any piece of shade they can find.
The land is barren and of a brownish orangey shade, the sun pelts downs and makes it difficult to enjoy or even see the view. Yes it’s a great time to complain about the heat, fight of the mosquitoes with a secret satisfaction and get into an air-conditioned car to try to find some lovely pine fields where the shade and fresh smell make you feel recovered.
The summers are ofcourse great! The sun literally forces you to relax and take it easy but to get the real Portugal feeling, views, nature and people, you should travel at least once out of season and you^ll probably find yourself coming back for more.
Why visit Portugal out of season:
1. People have more time to be themselves and offer the better, typical hospitality oriented Portuguese service.
2. You can really ‘SEE’ its amazing green landscapes and it’s incredible all year round blooming flowers (yes even roses bloom in Portugal in the middle of winter
3. You wont need to fight with all the other tourists to get the attention your looking for on a holiday.
4. You’ll get to know the real Portugal!
5. you’ll experience the incredible fresh air, amazing winter birds, skies and green flowery nature, cultural sites that can be visited without queues and cities in their normal lively pace.
Negative: forget swimming in natural water after September and until May! From January to April take a rain coat or large umbrella. Take clothing for all seasons temperatures can vary from 20 or in the south even 24 degrees in the afternoon to 6 degrees at night or colder in the North in the coldest period (January – February)!
Summer month temperatures
May reaches 30 degree days and fresh cool nights, cold waters especially the Atlantic.
June 30 + though also 24 degree days nights are still generally cold cold waters especially the Atlantic internal lakes are starting to heat up..
July hot 30+ cool waters slowly getting warmer especially the Atlantic, internal lakes have gotten to nice warm temperature.
August is the hottest month and also has the highest water temperatures all round.
What to do out of season.
Autumn and spring –
Autumn is generally dry and the summer stretches well into September. In October, November and December the temperature starts slowly to cool down but afternoons will still be warm as will some of the water of the internal lakes. The autumn and spring are a perfect time to visit the larger cities, or go for active, cultural, wine or gastronomic holidays. In de autumn Nature will still be recovering from the hot summer season but a few days of rain will make it flourish and bloom and bring it back to resembling Lord Byrons Portugal.
January and February are the most unpredictable months but you can count on rain, summery sunny spells, thunder and cold evenings. It can rain for a week or three weeks but it can just as easily give you a winter tan. I think winter is perfect for fireplace weekends or weeks in the countryside or by the sea to discover Portuguese gastronomy and wine in a romantic or active atmosphere. Close to the rivers you’ll wake up to the steam rising in the morning light or by the sea you’ll watch the power of the waves trying to conquer the land.
It’s a lovely time for hiking in nature dressed accordingly.
In the North on the Serra Estrela you’ll get a Swiss mountain feeling with a lot less snow and you’ll be able to take part in some ski activities. In the Southern Algarve count on strong wind, fresh beach walks and an average temperature of 18 degrees.
Rain and hot summer days! temperatures start to climb rapidly in the spring a 30 degree day in March Ive experienced but generally temperatures stay between 22 and 26 Celsius at their highest in March and 18 at it’s lowest. After March, even though April can still be quite rainy temperatures start a rapid climb back to the summer heights.
Autumn, winter and spring are certainly the best season for active holidays in Portugal.
Portugal out of season is an amazing wonderful experience that you wont forget and my main reason for living in this gorgeous country!
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