Algarve in winter: the best time to visit southern Portugal

Costa algarvia com flores chorão

The Algarve is a region well known for its pleasant climate, marvellous beaches, safety and all the activities and parties that take place in the summer. And for these reasons, the Algarve is considered one of the best destinations in Europe to visit in the summer.

But what many people don’t realise is that in winter the Algarve still has a lot to offer! Vam

The climate in the Algarve

The climate in the Algarve is considered to be one of the best in Portugal and even in Europe, as it is of the Mediterranean type. Temperatures are therefore mild all year round.

This means that there are rarely extremes of temperature such as excessive heat or too much cold.

The Algarve is sunny all year round. Winters, compared to the rest of Europe, are mild with good temperatures. Some say that the Algarve is sunny 300 days a year.

When is the best time to visit the Algarve?

As mentioned above, this region is well known for its summers. But the best time to visit the Algarve depends on each person and their preferences.

So here are the advantages and disadvantages of each season.

Summer in the Algarve

In summer, the Algarve undergoes a drastic change in several aspects, such as:

  • Various festivals and events;
  • There are more water activities available;
  • All the shops and restaurants are open;
  • Opening hours are extended;
  • There is an increase in nightlife;
  • The Algarve’s cities are full of people (the population triples);
  • As a result of the significant increase in population, traffic increases and so do the queues.

Autumn in the Algarve

In autumn everything calms down. Algarvians often say that autumn and spring are their holidays.

  • The population is starting to decline;
  • Almost all activities continue to operate;
  • Shops and restaurants reduce their opening hours, some even close;
  • The weather is usually mild at the start of the season, which means you can still go to the beach at the start of the season;
  • There isn’t as much congestion, whether in traffic, on the streets, on the beaches, etc.

Winter in Algarve


Contrary to what many people think, the Algarve is still full of activities in winter. In the summer, everything in the Algarve is geared towards beaches, water and sun, which means that in the winter there seems to be nothing to do, but that’s not true.

  • The cities are calmer and safer;
  • In the Algarve, the winter weather is much more tolerable compared to the rest of the country or Europe;
  • Some water activities are still available, such as surfing, kayaking and SUP;
  • Interest in other activities or hobbies appears, such as ice skating or going to see the animals;
  • This season is the best time for Portuguese gastronomy. There are many more typical Portuguese dishes, traditional sweets and it’s even the best time to try Portuguese wine.

Spring in the Algarve

Spring is a beautiful time of year, full of colour, with mild and pleasant weather. It’s a time when you want to do anything and everything, but it’s also the time when work starts. In the Algarve, things for the summer are organised from spring onwards.

  • The cities of the Algarve are full of colour;
  • The sun and good weather are more constant;
  • Summer and winter activities are available at the same time;
  • Holidaymakers start to appear;
  • Shopkeepers begin to open their shops and get things ready for the summer;
  • Opening hours are reduced;
  • Algarvians take the opportunity to enjoy the beaches and activities of the bathing season;

What to do in the Algarve apart from the beaches?

The Algarve has a lot to offer all year round, and it has a lot more to offer than just its marvellous beaches. Here we’ll give you some ideas of what to do in the Algarve, especially if you’re travelling in winter and don’t have the chance to enjoy the sun on the beach.

Adventure through nature

The Algarve is a region with many trails and hidden places full of beauty. How about a walk in the middle of nature, discovering different landscapes. You can choose from a walk in the mountains, along the beach walkways or in the gardens.

Discover the best places to contemplate the sunset or simply socialise with nature.

Examples: A Foia (Serra de Monchique), Serra do Caldeirão, Costa Vicentina, Cabo de São Vicente (Sagres), Ponta da Piedade (Lagos), Ria Formosa, Algar Seco (Trilhos de Carvoeiro), among others.

Get to know Algarve culture

The Algarve has several historic towns and villages where you can find statues, monuments, old churches, castles and preserved buildings in certain areas. There’s a lot to discover in the Algarve’s cities. There are lots of typical markets selling typical foods, sweets, jewellery, handicrafts and even clothes.

Take a trip to the Algarve’s historic towns and immerse yourself in what the culture has to offer.

Examples: Lagos city, Portimão, Silves, Albufeira, Faro and Loulé

Savor a Good Wine

In the Algarve there are four Regions that produce wine with Denomination of Origin, Lagoa, Lagos, Portimão and Tavira. Portugal has great wines and for those who appreciate it, you can always choose to take a trip to a wine tasting.

Examples: Quinta dos Vales (Estômbar), Quinta da Tôr (Loulé), Quinta do Canhoto (Albufeira).

A kart race

Experience an activity with a lot of adrenaline and high speed and for which you don’t need sun or summer. To practice Karting you do not need a license, you are provided with all the necessary equipment and instructions as well.

Examples: Autódromo Internacional do Algarve (Portimão), Electric Karting Albufeira Marina (Albufeira), Karting de Almancil.

Kayak, SUP and Surf

There’s nothing better than being in the Algarve and practicing aquatic activity, and these activities are possible at any time of year.

You can go on incredible kayak or SUP trips, explore the entire Algarve coast, with its rock formations and all its beauty and marine life. These are activities that do not require any degree of experience and that give you the best experience possible.

Surfing is undoubtedly something that you cannot miss in the Algarve whatever the season! In winter you have greater freedom, whether in terms of having better waves or in terms of space and time to practice. The cold is not an obstacle as long as you use the right equipment.

Have adventure and have fun practicing these activities full of adrenaline and excitement

8 reasons to visit the Algarve in winter

  1. The climate is mild all year round, there are practically 300 days of sunshine, that is, winter is not a severe winter;
  2. Calm season, without much confusion, stress, traffic, or even noise. As it is low season, it has great advantages for those who like peace and quiet and want to have spaces and space to enjoy their holidays;
  3. Security in Portugal is great. As a rule, it is a calm country without many crimes, but in the summer there is a tendency for there to be more crimes because there are many more people. While in winter everything is calmer;
  4. There is a lot to do. As we say, the Algarve is much more than the beautiful beaches;
  5. Good time to try the best typical Portuguese dishes;
  6. Good time to visit the historic cities and learn more about the Algarve culture;
  7. There are more places for Kayak tours in winter and Stand Up Paddle tours, to discover the wonders of the Algarve coast.
  8. Winter surfing in the Algarve is better! You have more time and space to practice your maneuvers, you have big waves and empty beaches.

Keep reading: Albufeira is not just a beach — activities to do in Albufeira for those who don’t like the beach.

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