A WELCOMING CLIMATE
The Portuguese weather forecast
The climate in Portugal is typical for the Mediterranean – temperate, but without the extremes seen elsewhere on the continent. It is one of the warmest European countries, but the cooler waters of the Atlantic Ocean keep the inland heat at bay. The western parts of the country have a more maritime climate with cooler, dry summers; the southern regions enjoy a more Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers.
‘With more than 3,300 hours of sunshine a year, the Algarve gets more sun than nearly any other destination in Europe’
ITH A summer lasting from May to September, and a winter from December to February, Portugal enjoys average annual temperatures on the mainland that range from 8–12 °C in the mountainous interior of the north, where they depend more on elevation than latitude, to as high as 20 °C in places such as the Guadiana Basin. Extremely high temperatures of more than 40 °C are not all that uncommon during the summer months in southern Portugal. Average annual humidity is around 85%.
With more than 3,300 hours of sunshine a year, the Algarve gets more sun than nearly any other destination in Europe. According to World Weather Online: ‘Algarve enjoys one of the most stable climates in the world’. Overall, Portugal receives about 2,500 to 3,200 hours of sunshine a year, an average of 4 to 6 hours during the winter months and between 10 and 12 hours in the summer. Generally, the southeast tends to be sunnier than the northwest.
Rain in Portugal also depends largely on latitude, with the northern regions getting the most on an annual basis. The northern mountains might receive as much as 126 inches of rain in any given year, while the more arid southern regions may see as little as 12 inches a year. The average across the entire country is 25 inches of rain per year.
Snow falls are regular in the upper altitudes of the northern and central parts of the country – Vila Real, Bragança, Viseu and Guarda – where winter temperatures can drop as low as −10.0 °C. Snow can fall anytime between October and May in these areas. Snowfall in the south is rare, but can occur at higher elevations.