The Climate in Portugal

Portugal has long been a popular year-round holiday destination for Europeans. This is, in part, due to its relatively warm winters and long hot summer days. The climate in Portugal can vary considerably from one region to another and is influenced by the topography, latitude and proximity to the sea. If you are planning to travel throughout Portugal, expect the Northern region, including Porto and the Douro Valley, to be cooler. A good sweater is highly recommended, especially at night, during all but the summer season.

A Nossa Senhora da Rocha Church near Vila Vita in Porches, Algarve
Beautiful church view while sailing in the Algarve from the Praia Nova in Porches

The Algarve, being influence by the sea and southern latitudes, is much warmer with an afternoon or evening breeze almost guaranteed. Let’s have a closer look at the climate in the Algarve.

SUMMER

The Cliffs by Praia do Coelho near Albufeira
The stunning cliffs at Praia do Coelho near Albufeira Marina

The Algarve is the sunniest and one of the warmest regions in all of Europe with mild winters and hot, dry summers. Though bordering the Atlantic, it has a Mediterranean climate similar to Spain and Greece. The average high temperature is 25ºC / 77ºF with it’s peak in July and August at around 29°C / 82ºF with averages in September and June falling around 26°C / 79ºF. In the evening, the temperature rarely goes below 20°C / 68ºF making it an ideal climate to go out for al fresco dinning in the evening. 

The predominant wind direction in the summer is from the North, overland. These prevailing winds and the afternoon land breeze provide a reliable beam reach while under sail. Since the wind is coming over land, the sea state remains calm with relatively small waves. 

The surface water temperatures allow for an refreshing swim at an average of 20ºC / 68ºF throughout the summer months and peaking in September. The water temperatures are at their lowest around the Cape of St. Vincent near Sagres and increase as one navigates towards the Gulf of Cadiz. 

AUTUMN 

Autumn Sailing in the Algarve
Private sailing trip – Autumn in the Algarve

If you prefer to avoid the summer heat and the crowds, Autumn is a great time to visit the Algarve. 

In October and November, the average high temperatures are around 24°C / 75°F during the day with evening temperatures around 15ºC / 59°F. The land breeze and prevailing winds becomes less intense during these months, so night-time strolls through our historic seaside towns are still enjoyable, though a sweater is recommended. This is the best time to swim in the Algarve as the seas are still warm from the long summer days. Though you are more likely in autumn to see clouds in the sky and some rain, the Algarve has the least amount of rainfall compared to the rest of Europe and under 150 mm of precipitation falls within these months. 

 

WINTER 

Doggy morning sailing in the Algarve
Winter Sailing – A beautiful, but rare foggy morning sailing in the Algarve

Winter is the shortest season in the Algarve and lasts from December until February.

The weather is very mild with an average of 16°C / 60°F, though the nights can be fresh with single digit temperatures. The prevailing winds back towards the Southwesterly direction in the winter months, so evenings safely berthed in marinas, or one of our protected bays and channels is highly recommended.  The sunrises and sunsets are at their most beautiful during these months as the Sun rises and sets over the ocean. 

The weather can be stormy with the strongest winds of the year making for some exhilarating sailing. If you choose to charter a boat over this season, make sure you have an experienced skipper and proper wet-weather gear.  

SPRING 

Still morning exploring the sea caves on a private motorboat tour
A warm and still morning – perfect conditions for exploring sea caves and cliffs

March, April and May are great times to visit the Algarve. The average high temperatures climb to 18°C / 64°F in March, 20°C / 68°F in April and 22°C / 71°F in May however night time temperatures remain cool, so a light jacket is advised. 

This is a great time for outdoor activities such as sailing, exploring sea caves and hiking. Though the sea temperatures are still cool in the spring, sunbathing is certainly a popular activity on the numerous beautiful beaches that line the Southern coast.

These are the greenest months in the Algarve as our early spring benefits from the rain that falls during the winter months. The prevailing winds veer towards a more Northerly direction producing increasingly drier days. Some great sailing can be had as the afternoon land breeze increases with raising day-time temperatures. 

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