When is the best time to visit Porto?


Perfect Porto always has something on the go – a packed calendar full of festivals, cultural celebrations, markets and events means there’s rarely a dull moment to be found.

Choosing the perfect time for your visit will most likely depend on weather and visitor numbers. Whether you’re in search of warm sunny days and bustling streets or quiet moments at a budget-friendly price, our guide to Porto’s seasonal fun will help you find the perfect month for your trip.

Do like the locals do and head to the beach in the hottest months of July and August © Kizaru / Getty Images

June to September is the best time for festivals and beach-going

Porto’s summer brings long warm days and cloud-free skies. The city gets less rainfall at this time of year, though even in summer, occasional showers are possible. June is also the kickoff to Porto’s busiest time of year for events, with vibrant festivals such as the 50-hour, non-stop Serralves em Festa, and the revelry surrounding the Festa de São João, Porto’s biggest celebration, marking the feast day of St John the Baptist. Unsurprisingly, hotel rates rise as visitors come to experience the joie de vivre and warm weather.

The temperatures average around 23°C (73°F) but periodic heatwaves push temperatures into the high 30°Cs (high 90°Fs). July and August are the warmest months of the year, and you’ll find tripeiros (Porto locals) cooling off at Praia de Matosinhos and other nearby beaches. Keep in mind that even on the hottest days, ocean temperatures can feel brisk on Portugal’s northern beaches.

August is also the busiest time of the year in Porto – be sure to book your accommodation well in advance to avoid disappointment. Porto Busker Fest takes over the city with improvised stages popping up everywhere to provide a fun soundtrack to your vacation. The soaring August temperatures plummet in September, though the crowds are mostly still around. Catch the tail end of Porto’s lively open-air summer festival season, hitting markets, joining yoga sessions in the park and seeing open-air performances such as the Concertos na Avenida.

Predictably, summer coincides with the peak visitor season in Porto. You can expect higher hotel prices and bigger crowds wherever you go, and you’ll want to reserve well ahead at top restaurants.

Enjoy Porto’s wine and mild weather from March to May and October

Porto has two shoulder seasons and they fall during the spring and autumn months. Colorful blooms fill the parks around the city from late March to early May, and if you take a day trip to the countryside, you can see wildflowers on scenic hikes through northern Portugal’s nature reserves. April brings fewer rain showers than the previous four months and Easter processions bring color to the streets both in Porto and in nearby Braga, which has Portugal’s biggest Easter festival.

Warmer temperatures and longer days make the month of May an ideal time for scenic walks along the riverbanks and across Porto’s bridges, as well as boat trips along the Douro and other outdoor activities. The amount of visitors goes up, as do the hotel prices, but you can still find better deals than you will in the summer. This is also the perfect month for theater fans as the International Festival of Iberian Expression Theater (FITEI) fills the calendar for almost the entire month.

Late September and October bring bright fall colors to the city’s parks and tree-lined streets. The spectacle is especially dramatic along the banks of the Douro River upstream from Porto. This is also grape harvest season at wineries in the Douro Valley, so you’ll have the opportunity to see wine-making and grape-stomping in action.

The weather is a bit of a mix at this time of year, with more rain than in summer but fewer wet days than you’ll see in winter. Temperatures are near perfect for outdoor activities, with daily highs of around 17°C (63°F) in March, and around 20°C (68°F) in October.

Azulejos mosaics inside the main train station at Porto
Even when it’s raining, you can admire Porto’s famous azulejos tiles in many indoor locations © trabantos / Shutterstock

November to February is the cheapest time to visit Porto 

Porto has a reputation for cold, rainy days during the winter months. December is the city’s wettest month, with an average of around 15 days of precipitation. Even on those rainy days, however, you can get patches of dry weather in between the storms. Cheery Christmas markets, roasted chestnuts and colorfully decorated squares form a memorable backdrop to visits to Porto in December. 

Traveling at this time of year means dressing in layers. You might have a cold, misty morning, followed by midday sunshine with highs of around 15°C (59°F) and evening showers. January is the coldest month of the year, though the evening lows rarely fall below 5°C (41°F). When the weather turns dreary, plan your days around visits to art galleries and museums, medieval cathedrals and other indoor sights. When all else fails, retreat to a cozy cafe such as Café Candelabro or a candlelit wine bar such as Prova as the rain arrives. The IndieJúnior children’s film festival also makes this a fun time for families to visit.

Porto’s busy entertainment calendar doesn’t slow down during the cold days of February. In fact, this is a great month for catching concerts at the Casa da Música and other venues. Film lovers won’t want to miss Portugal’s premier fantasy film festival, Fantasporto, which often coincides with the costumed parades of Carnaval.

In exchange for a bit of chilly, damp weather, you can avail of rock-bottom prices for flights and accommodations. Count on lodging discounts of up to 50% off high-season rates.

 

This article was first published Jun 17, 2022 and updated Jun 14, 2024.



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