You’re finally taking that well-deserved winter vacation to weather for Portugal in December . Before you start dreaming of vinho verde, pasteis de Nata, and stunning sunsets over the Algarve coast, you need to know what to pack. December weather in Portugal can be unpredictable, but with the right information, you’ll be ready for anything. Whether you’re exploring charming Lisbon, historic Porto, or the sunny Algarve beaches, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about temperatures, rainfall, and what the locals will be wearing so you can enjoy your Portuguese escape with confidence. By the end of this article, you’ll be an expert on what to expect for the weather in Portugal in December and be ready to experience the magic of Portugal in winter.
Typical Weather Conditions in Portugal During December
Portugal in December usually means cool weather, with average high temperatures of around 15°C (59°F) and lows dropping to 6°C (43°F) at night.
- December brings occasional rain to Lisbon and the country’s centre and northern regions, especially later in the month. Pack a jacket, comfortable shoes, an umbrella and maybe a scarf. The good news is the rain usually only lasts a couple of hours before the sun comes back out.
- The Algarve region in the south has a bit more stable weather in December with less rain and slightly warmer temperatures, averaging around 17°C (63°F) for highs and 10°C (50°F) for lows. You’ll still want to pack a jacket for evenings, but you may get some beach days too.
What to Expect Weather-wise
You can expect a mix of sun and cloud weather in December in Portugal, with a chance of some rain, especially in the north. The weather starts turning colder, especially at night, so be prepared for temperatures to drop. The winds start picking up too, particularly in coastal areas.
December sees the most rain of the year for Portugal, with an average of 12 rainy days for the month. The rains usually come in short-lived bursts in between sunny spells though. Snow is rare, but you may see some in the mountains.
All in all, while December in Portugal won’t likely be warm and beachy, the weather is often still pleasant enough to enjoy exploring all the country has to offer, from world-class cuisine to stunning scenery. Pack for variable weather, go with the flow, and you’ll discover the charm of Portugal in winter.
Average Temperatures Across Portugal in December
Portugal sees a wide range of temperatures in December, from crisp to downright frigid, depending on where you are. In the northern highlands, daytime highs average in the mid 40s Fahrenheit, while nights often drop below freezing. Bundle up!
The Coast and Lowlands
Along the coast and in lower-lying areas like Lisbon and the Algarve, daytime December temps average in the mid 50s, though it can feel chillier with ocean breezes and rain. Nighttime lows hover in the mid 40s, so pack a jacket.
The central interior sees daytime highs in the low 50s and nighttime lows sometimes dropping below 40 F. Places like Evora and Coimbra remain cool, so dress in layers.
The Alentejo region in the south has a semi-arid climate, with warmer average highs in the upper 50s but cold nights, often in the 30s. The Algarve, Portugal’s southernmost region, sees the mildest weather, with average December highs of 63 F and lows rarely below 50. You can probably still enjoy beach walks, but the water will be frigid!
In summary, while much of Portugal remains cool and rainy in December, the Algarve offers the best chance of comfortable temperatures for exploring. But no matter where you go, be prepared for a range of conditions and pack clothing you can layer, including a coat, hat, gloves, and scarf. With the right gear, you’ll stay cozy while enjoying all this lovely country has to offer in the winter.
What to Pack for Your December Trip
Packing for a December trip to Portugal means preparing for chilly weather, as well as the potential for rain. But if you have the correct necessities and layers, you can keep warm while taking in all that the nation has to offer.
Bring thick winter clothing, such as a parka with insulation. December’s average high is in the mid-40s F, but it may be much colder, especially at night. If it’s raining, a waterproof coat with a hood will also keep you dry.
Comfortable yet stylish boots, like ankle boots, Chelsea boots or low-heeled booties are perfect for walking on cobblestone streets and through charming towns. Pack waterproof boots as well in case of rain.
Scarf, Hat, and Gloves
Don’t forget cold-weather accessories like a scarf, knit hat, and insulated gloves. A scarf can also double as a blanket on a chilly bus or train ride.
Pack base layers like thermal undergarments, sweaters, cardigans, and button-down shirts. Portugal’s weather can vary, even within the same day. Layers will allow you to adapt to changing conditions and temperatures.
Bring comfortable yet stylish pants for travel and sightseeing like jeans, slacks, or corduroys. Also, pack a pair of thermal leggings to wear underpants or pajamas for extra warmth.
Cozy pajamas, slippers, and socks are must-haves for relaxing in your hotel room. Portugal’s buildings can get quite chilly in winter, so you’ll appreciate the extra comfort at night.
Following these tips will ensure you pack everything needed for a comfortable visit to Portugal in December. With the essential cold weather gear and versatile layers, you’ll be ready to experience all the magic of Portugal during the festive winter season.
Best Destinations for Sunshine and Warmth
Portugal’s southern coast offers some of the warmest, sunniest destinations in December. Escape the chill and head to the Algarve region, known for its Mediterranean climate with mild winters.
The Algarve region in southern Portugal sees average highs of 15-17°C (59-63°F) and 6-8 hours of sunshine per day in December. While not quite beach weather, it will feel downright balmy compared to much of Europe. Popular towns like Lagos, Albufeira, and Faro make great bases to explore the area. Go for walks along the coast, visit historical sites, dine al fresco, or just relax in the warmer temperatures.
The stunning Madeira archipelago, located off the coast of Morocco, boasts pleasant subtropical weather in December with average highs of 19°C (66°F) and 7 hours of daily sunshine. The natural beauty of the islands, from volcanic peaks to colorful gardens, will brighten any winter day. Funchal, the capital of Madeira, is a charming city with a historic old town, cafes, restaurants, and a lively harbor. Go hiking in the mountains, whale watching, or just soak in the views.
In the middle of the Atlantic, the Azores islands have a mild oceanic climate with December average highs around 15-17°C (59-63°F) and a good chance of sunshine. The islands are an eco-paradise, with opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, kayaking, and bird watching. Most rain falls between October and March, so pack a light jacket, but you can still expect plenty of pleasant, rain-free days to explore. Ponta Delgada on São Miguel island is a great starting point, with cafes, shops, historical sites, and beautiful gardens.
The southern coast and islands of Portugal offer some of the warmest, sunniest escapes in Europe during the winter. Mild temperatures, natural scenery and an easygoing vibe will help you recharge until spring comes around again.
Tips for Enjoying Portugal in December
December is a great time to visit Portugal, with mild weather and smaller crowds. Here are some tips to make the most of your trip:
Dress in layers
The temperatures in December average in the mid-50s Fahrenheit, so pack a mix of clothing. Bring a heavy coat, gloves, scarf, and warm shoes for chillier days. You’ll also want lighter layers like sweaters, long-sleeve shirts, and pants that can be worn alone or layered under the coat. The temperatures can fluctuate, so layers will ensure you stay comfortable no matter what.
See the sights
Take advantage of the smaller crowds to explore popular attractions like Belem Tower, Jeronimos Monastery, and Sao Jorge Castle in Lisbon without big crowds. You may even be able to skip the lines at some places. Walk around the Algarve’s charming towns and beaches. Many tourist destinations offer extended holiday hours, so you’ll have plenty of time to sightsee.
Indulge in food and wine
Portugal’s cuisine shines in December with hearty dishes like cozido a portuguesa, a meat and vegetable stew, and leitão assado, roasted suckling pig. Warm up with a glass of port, Madeira or red wine. Bakeries overflow with sweet treats like sonhos, and fried dough pastries dusted with sugar.
Celebrate the holidays
Get into the holiday spirit at some of Portugal’s Christmas markets. Lively markets in Lisbon, Porto, and other cities sell handcrafted goods, food and drinks. Town squares are decorated with sparkling lights and nativity scenes. Religious celebrations include midnight mass on Christmas Eve and Epiphany on January 6.
Save on accommodation
Hotel rates are lowest in December, especially if you travel before December 20 or after New Year’s. You may find discounts of 20-50% off summer high season prices. Some beach destinations like the Algarve offer very low rates, as the weather is too chilly for sunbathing and swimming.
Enjoying Portugal in December is all about bundling up for crisp weather, finding cozy cafes to sample seasonal fare and wine, and taking advantage of smaller crowds at top attractions and lower hotel costs. With the right mindset, December can be an ideal time for an authentic taste of Portugal without big crowds and high prices. Have a great trip!
You now have all the information you want about the weather for Portugal in December. The vacation spirit will warm your heart, the temperatures are moderate, the rain is moderate but there is a fair likelihood of sunny breaks. Bring your sense of exploration, a lightweight jacket, and an emergency umbrella. Now go experience Portugal’s beauty in December with its vibrant Christmas lights, fun markets, and breathtaking natural landscape with a chance of snow in the mountains. Who could possibly want more? Booking your flights now will allow you to experience Portugal’s sights, sounds, and flavors during the most delightful season of the year. December is a great month to go to Portugal.