Portugal also is located on the Iberian Peninsula in South Europe. It is known for one of the European countries with the most yearly sun hours. Did you know that in Portugal you can enjoy more than 300 sunny days a year? There are less sunny places to stay. What do you think?
So, it is a sunny and warm country. Indeed, it also can become very hot in the summer, especially inland close to the Spanish border. But, make no mistake. Portugal has a long coastline. And it is no sea! The whole coastline from the north to the south is with the Atlantic Ocean. A result of it is that Portugal has a different climate as the countries around the Mediterranean Sea. Read this post to inform yourself.
The inland of continental Portugal can be very hot. Especially in the summer. Near the locations Estremoz and Elvas in the Alentejo, temperatures can get very high. Over there, you’ll find beautiful vast plains. It are wonderful views over the country side of the Alentejo. And yes, it can become very hot in this part of the country. In the summer, it can become around 50°C. Of course, when you go to the water side at a river, a lake or more to the coastline of the country, the temperatures are lower. It is the same in the mountains or the natural parks.
Like everywhere, it always is cooler at the water side. So, also in Portugal. The coastline from the north to the south is at the Atlantic Ocean. It is no sea! I most cases, an ocean is colder and brings more wind directly ashore.
In Portugal it is much cooler at the coastline as other South European countries. Because, the most other South European countries are located at the Mediterranean Sea. This isn’t the case for Portugal. You can feel this Atlantic wind far inside the country. It is an important reason of the cooler Portuguese climate near the Atlantic Ocean. Of course, as I told in the paragraph above, it doesn’t prevent it to be very hot in some regions in the inland of Portugal.
Another fact to make it cooler, is that Portugal is not a flat country as you may have thought. A lot of cities and villages in Portugal are built on hills or with hilly streets. When you make a road trip through this wonderful country, you will discover it immediately. It is a small country and very hilly. Especially, when you go from the capital Lisboa to the north. In the northern part of the country you find the most hills and even mountains in the many wonderful natural parks, or in Portuguese language it is “a Serra”.
The Douro Valley from Porto to the Spanish border is one of the best examples of this with the wonderful terraces of the vineyards for the Vinho do Porto, the Port wine. The capital Lisboa is built on 7 hills. Each neighbourhood of the city is on or around a hill. Go from Lisboa to the Atlantic coastline to find the mountains of the Serra de Sintra, were the wonders of Sintra are located. This Serra also is known as a natural spa resort.
Or what do you think of the Serra da Estrela, with his wonderful cheese and snow. Yes, you read it right. Snow in Portugal. Did you know that you can ski over there? Also the mountains of the Serra de S. Mamede is worth to see, with the wonderful Marvão and the picturesque Castelo de Vide.
Of course, through the whole country are a lot of wonderful locations. Most of them are located on a hilly location, even if the way to it is more flat. This relief together with the Atlantic coastline means that it can be slightly cooler in many places in Portugal than in other South European countries, such as Spain, Italy, Greece and southern France. This is a big surprise for a lot of people.
When you go more to the north of the country it isn’t only cooler as more in the south, it also is more wet. In the northern part of the country, it rains more and it more is possible to encounter fog. Even in the summer, you have not to be surprised to have some days with fog in the morning or when you drive on a highway. Do you want as less rain as possible when you are in Potugal? In that case, you have to go more to the southern part of the country and/or more inland the country. The Alentejo is the largest part of the country, which also is known as very dry. Because, the largest part of the Alentejo is inland Portugal. But also over there, you may have fog and a gray sky till the noon and then clear out completely.
The Portuguese climate also has a downside. Inland the country, it can become very hot in the summer. The many natural parks has a lot of imported trees. Trees that burn faster as many native trees. This is a huge problem in case of forest trees. And you can imagine that it is not a good combination with the Atlantic wind. Because like oxygen, wind fuels fire. So, it is a downside of the cooler Portuguese climate through the wind of the Atlantic coastline.
Now that you know this fact, it is always a good idea to be careful, keep attention and follow the rules in the summer time in Portugal. You don’t have to be scared to travel to or through Portugal in the Summer. There is no reason for that. For travelers, it always is good to be well informed. Follow the Portuguese weather forecast on IPMA. A good mobile app and online tool to stay informed about active fires and fire risks is Fogos.pt. You get an overview of active fires through the whole country.
My conclusion about the Portuguese climate is that it is cooler as other South European countries, but it still has the charmingly warm vibes. Inland Portugal it still can become very hot. But, when I travelled once from Elvas to Badajoz in Spain, the temperature felt a lot of different for me. For me, in Spain it felt more oppressive. The cooler and more tolerable Portuguese climate is mainly due to the Atlantic coastline in combination with the relief.
Also in Portugal, they notice the effects of climate change. The weather has more extremes. Some winter months are drier or extremely wet, resulting in flooding problems. Also from earlier in the year, it can get warmer and drier. So, this can lead to even warmer summers. It needs no explanation that these are no ideal factors to avoid potential fires in the summer.
But it is the same with everything. There is only one way to get your own idea about things. It is to discover and try it for yourself. In this case, this means, travel to Portugal and discover the Portuguese climate for yourself to get your own insight in it.
I hope this post is a nice introduction for you to learn more. Also read our other posts to be informed about all the wonders of Portugal. Subscribe to our newsletter to get our monthly information in your mailbox.
You want to read more and get noticed about the posts ideal for you. Subscribe to our newsletter. This is the ideal way to stay tuned about all our posts and videos in the spotlight and selected for you.