When it comes to climate, no time of year is considered extremely bad to visit Porto or any other city in Portugal. In fact, the country has one of the warmest climates on the continent, and proof of this is that while some European countries “freeze” in winter, the land of Vasco da Gama surprises the visitor with milder temperatures.
July and August are considered the hottest and least rainy months of the year, ideal for those who do not mind the heat and want to enjoy the city, which is on the banks of the Douro River. However, the only warning for this period is for the lodging prices, which end up being “higher” than usual.
But if you intend to combine good weather, reasonable prices and also to enjoy a quieter city, when it comes to tourist movement, the tip is to book your stay from March to May or from September to the end of October, taking into account however, that there is a higher incidence of rain from September on.
In any case, here you will find a breakdown of what to consider when planning your travel to the city and find out what’s the best time to visit Porto for you.
Best time to visit Porto: What to Consider?
There’s not much you need to consider when deciding when to come to the city. The most important factors are the weather in Porto as well as the prices. These are somehow connected – since, with the rainy season and cold temperatures, the tourism slows down – but still, it’s essential to understand each variant to make the best decision.
The weather is the most important criterion to have in mind when planning your trip to Porto. Porto is located in the north of Portugal and therefore tends to be colder than in the south. The climate, in general, is mild and oceanic, very pleasant all year round. The average temperature in winter there is 12ºC, and although it is not very low, it is worth remembering that it is humid. See below in the graph the average temperature of Porto from month to month.
Porto has unpleasant rainy periods during spring, autumn, and winter despite all the beauty. So, especially between November and February, do not visit the city without a parka or raincoat! These items are indispensable in your suitcase, as they are better than umbrellas here since there’s usually a lot of wind.
In some years, the rains can extend until May. It is not uncommon for rainy periods to last more than three weeks in the city. If you want to avoid the showers at all costs, then opt for the other months, when they are more occasional. In any case, on most days, the sky can be cloudy, but discreet sunshine will appear.
The costs are also an important consideration in deciding when to go. Usually, accommodation is the factor that influences the cost of your travel the most when you think about the best time to visit Porto for you. Hotel rooms cost above 100€/night – for double rooms – from April until October. The low season comes between November and February, with January and February being the cheapest months to travel.
On the other hand, attractions like wine cellars or cruises are not cheaper during the low season since their prices remain the same all year round!
If the goal is to save money, it is essential to do some research beforehand and negotiate with the companies or individuals who host the tours and activities you want to attend. Be sure to check with each tour company about their discounts and policies for the low season before committing yourself.
Best Times of the Year to Visit Porto
Porto offers visitors distinct experiences throughout the year. Depending on the time of the year you come, you’ll experience a completely different city. Porto during winter is melancholic and more empty, meaning you don’t need to worry so much about the tourists – only about the rain and the strong winds; meanwhile, during summer it’s vibrant and full of people on the streets and outside in the restaurants, either on the city center or the Ribeira area.
1. September and October
This is a great time to visit Porto because it’s not overrun with tourists, but you’ll still enjoy warm weather.
But, not only that, if you’re planning on visiting the Douro Valley during your trip, this is one of the best times to do so, since this is the grape harvest season and you can see the beautiful grape fields and do some wine tasting in a beautiful Quinta! But if you’re going, book early as most people tend to grab up all tour spots quickly.
However, don’t forget that this is also when the rainy season starts, so be prepared to experience some cloudy or even rainy days. This can be an excellent opportunity for getting your museum-hopping done without waiting around much at any one place. This should give you enough distraction room while you wait for the rain showers to stop.
2. April and May
With the days getting longer and warmer temperatures, spring is a perfect time to visit Porto. The city isn’t crowded with tourists yet so that you can enjoy all of the outdoor festivals during this season. It’s easier to get hotel and restaurant reservations at this point too. Travelers also tend to find better deals on airline tickets which makes it an affordable destination for many people who want their money to go further when traveling overseas as they do here!
During these months, it’s also great weather for biking or boat rides along some of those famous paths like Leça da Palmeira bike path (aka “The Gold Coast”), Matosinhos bike trail, Vila Nova de Gaia’s trails by the riverside as well as to enjoy a Douro River cruise, a boat trip that takes you along the Douro, where you can see Porto from a different angle.
There is a very special reason why we recommend visiting Porto in June, and it’s the festival of São João. If you enjoy traditional parties and want to get into some special local celebration, that’s when you should come.
Officially, the party starts around 6 pm on June 23rd and lasts until midday the next day (12 hours). The magic night attracts thousands upon thousands to the city for this celebration! However, the City Hall organizes many activities related to São João during the whole month of June. So, this is one of the best times you can go and visit the city!
4. July and August
One of the best times to visit Porto is during the summer months since the temperatures are warm and the nights are generally mild so that you can drink on one of its terraces or rooftops. However, if you don’t like crowds, this might not be the best choice as the city gets full of tourists. Consequently, it’s harder to get a table at restaurants and accommodation is more expensive too. The lines to visit museums and monuments are also longer during this time of the year.
In any case, if you come in this season, make sure not to miss out on experiencing a few local hotspots like beaches and pools, too – but be aware that the ocean’s temperature is not so inviting (it’s cold).
Overall, during the high season, many events are going on in Porto. There is always something to do every night! So it’s a perfect time if you want to have some fun!
5. November to March
This is the best time of the year to visit Porto if you’re on a budget. Hotel rooms and flight prices are cheaper. Even though it may not be an obvious choice when thinking of visiting Portugal’s second-largest city, it makes perfect sense since fewer tourists are clogging up streets at this time.
During the off-peak season will also help you experience it as a real city, where locals go about their daily lives and not just another touristy location. You’ll experience the foggy mornings and the gloomy feeling that takes over during the winter months.