Portugal has great weather, from what I’ve researched so far. The entire country is 561 km (349 mi) long and 218 km (135 mi) wide. Although it is fairly compact, Portugal’s climate varies from the north to the south.
Portugal has a temperate climate. Since the country borders the Atlantic, the ocean influences the weather a lot.
Northern Portugal’s Weather
The winter weather in the northern region tends to be relatively cold and wet, much like in Seattle, Washington. There can be a lot of rain, especially between November and March. The average high temperature is usually below 15.5℃ (60℉) near Porto and Braga. Freezing temperatures rarely happen. The average low is 7.2℃ (45℉).
Further inland, the temperature in winter is lower. It’s further from the Atlantic, so the warmer ocean breezes don’t affect the weather. Plus, the altitude rises in the interior. It’s been known to snow there, but the snow doesn’t last long at all.
Summer weather in the north is sunny and mild. The average high temperature runs about 24℃ (75℉). Cooler weather prevails near the coast because of the ocean breezes. The days tend to be sunny. The sun shines about an hour less than in Lisbon, south of the central region.
I imagine that everyone will feel the weather differently. For instance, I tend to do much better in cooler climates. In the past, when I had to work during snowy Vermont winters, I’d wear a coat and boots but have on a skirt with bare legs. It was perfect for me!
I don’t care what the weather is in Portugal, at first anyway. Temperatures will seem so much lower to me because the numbers will be in Celsius, not Fahrenheit. Lower numbers automatically mean lower temperatures. Am I right? Besides, it’s Portugal. Everything will be better because it will all be shiny and new to me.
Central Portugal’s Weather
Beginning about an hour south of Porto is the central region. Here, the winters are a bit milder than in the north. Coimbra, where we’ll spend at least the first year, is about 2 hours south of Porto. Average daytime temperatures in Coimbra run around 15.5℃ (60℉), and it can get as cold as 4.4℃ (40℉) in January.
Further inland in this region is the country’s one and only ski mountain. The Serra da Estrela ski resort has an altitude of nearly 2,000 m (6,560 ft). It boasts 8 runs, the longest being nearly 1 km (0.6 mi), and 4 ski lifts.
In Coimbra, during the winter there is between a 20-30% chance of rain. Precipitation decreases in the summer. The driest months are mid-June to mid-August, with only a 5% chance of rain.
Coimbra is approximately 30 minutes inland from the ocean. There aren’t as many windy days here as in the north. Towns along the Atlantic will generally be cooler than the inland areas during the summer. Ocean temperature along the Atlantic coast in this region stays mild in the summer, 17.2-18.3℃ (63-65℉).
Lisbon, the capital, is about two-thirds of the way down the coast from the northern border. It’s not considered to be in the central region, but I’ll cover it here.
In this part of Portugal, the weather is a bit warmer than in the central region. Because it’s not directly on the coast, but in a sheltered bay, winds are less here. The average temperature in the winter is 14.4-17.2℃ (58-63℉). Summer averages 25.6-28.3℃ (78-83℉).
The ocean temperature is cool even this far south. In the winter, it’s around 14.4℃ (58℉), and in the summer it’s 18.8℃ (66℉).
The sun shines regularly in the summer. In the winter, there are also stretches of sunny weather here.
South-Central Inland Region’s Weather
This region is called the Alentejo region. It’s generally a hot, dry area, subject to heat waves coming up from Africa.
Temperatures here can reach 40.5℃ (105℉) or even a bit higher, but they average 28.8-32.7℃ (84-91℉) in the summer. For winter, temps average 13.8-15.5℃ (57-60℉).
From June until September, the average monthly rainfall is 2.5-12.7 mm (0.1-0.5 in). In the winter months, it rains about 76 mm (3 in) per month.
When I was researching places to live in Portugal, I considered the city of Évora. It’s in this region. But the heat would have been brutal for me. I still may consider it in the future since the humidity rarely gets above 20%. I can live with dry heat; it’s the muggy heat that makes me want to die.
Because the area is so hot and dry, wildfires in the Alentejo region can get bad. Not only are things dry, but the invasive eucalyptus is very flammable because of the oils in it. Having our home burn down is not on the things-to-be-desired list.
The Algarve’s Weather
In the Algarve, the weather is very similar to a Mediterranean climate. It’s just not as humid. The region is along the southern part of Portugal, nestled up against the Atlantic, across from the northern coast of Africa.
Winter temperatures range from a low of 10-17.7℃ (50-63℉) to a high of 16.1-18.9℃ (60-66℉). In the summer, the range is 18.3-28.9℃ (65-84℉).
The chance of rain is about 20% in the winter months but drops to 0% in July and August.
Because of the great weather, many ex-pat retirees choose to live in this region. They can enjoy the sun, warmth, beaches, golf, and many outdoor activities throughout the year.
The Azores Islands and Madeira Islands
The Azores consist of nine major islands approximately 1,600 km (1,000 mi) of the coast of Portugal in the North Atlantic. The Madeira Islands lie 980 km (609 mi) southwest of Portugal, 300 km (186 mi) west of Morocco.
Temperatures in the Azores stay fairly steady year-round. The winter low-high average is 14.4-16.6℃ (58-62℉) and summer low-high averages are 18.3-25℃ (65-77℉).
Rainfall in the Azores averages a low of 5 mm (0.2 in) in July to a high of 76 mm (3 in) in December. The weather can be quite muggy, especially in the summer months. This fact alone rules out the Azores as a place for me to live comfortably.
The Madeira Islands have a temperature similar to the Azores. In winter, the average temperature is 16.6℃ (62℉), and in summer, the average is 23.3℃ (74℉).
Rainfall is a bit less in the Madeira islands than in the Azores. July is the driest month, with 0 mm (0 in) of rain. In December, the wettest month, the average rainfall is 35.5 mm (1.4 in).
For the humidity level in the Madeira islands, it is much the same as in the Azores. Peak humidity here is in September, while in the Azores, peak humidity is in August.
Water temperature ranges from 17.8℃ (64℉) in March to 23.3℃ (74℉) in August. In the Azores, in the north Atlantic, water temperatures are 16.1℃ (61℉) and 23.3℃ (74℉), respectively.
Awesome Weather in Portugal
No matter what you like to do, Portugal has the weather for it. From swimming to golf, outdoor concerts to scuba diving, hiking to skiing, Portugal is the place to be.
I used this tool to research the weather patterns of the various areas in Portugal. You can use it to look up any city in the world.
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