Portugal weather: the land of sunshine

Sunny beach with people walking

Portugal weather attracts millions of tourists every year. It is normal to see tourists with shorts when we use scarves. We call those days Winter, others will just see it as an early Spring. So, yes, we are lucky. This is the land of sunshine and warm temperatures.

I normally joke and say that there are three things in Portugal that we can definitely not complain about: that is food, wine and the weather. On average, a year in Portugal has more than 300 sunny days. So sunglasses and sunscreen will be your friends here. During Winter, temperatures rarely go below 10ºC, specially in Lisbon, where the influence of the Atlantic Ocean moderates the temperatures.

Snow is something that we normally see in pictures. It snows in the North of Portugal, especially in the mountains of Serra da Estrela. But, once again, it is very rare in the capital in Lisbon. Just to give you an idea, the last time it snowed in Lisbon was in 2006. It hadn’t snowed in the capital for 52 years. So, the next day, it was on the front page of every newspaper.

Portugal weather: the scientific explanation

The World World Meteorological Organization (WMO) characterizes climate according to the average values of several climatic elements over a period of 30 years. The Portuguese Institute for Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA) has been collecting weather data since 1865. According to this observation, mainland Portugal has a temperate continental climate, Type C, subtype Cs (A temperate climate with dry summer).

This will show you three main variations in that type C climate. Here are the explanations, according to IPMA:

Csa, temperate climate with warm summer and dry in the interior regions of the Douro Valley (part of the district of Bragança), as well as in regions south of the mountain system Montejunto-Estrela (except on the west coast of Alentejo and Algarve).

Csb, temperate climate with dry and mild summer, in almost all regions of the northern mountain system Montejunto-Estrela and the regions of the west coast of Alentejo and Algarve.

In a small region of Alentejo, in the district of Beja, is Arid Climate – Type B Subtype BS (steppe climate), BSK variety (cold steppe climate of mid-latitude).”

What about Algarve?

Algarve is located in the South of Portugal and it is probably the most famous region for beach lovers. The reason: the weather, of course, and the temperature of the waters. Even though the Algarve coast is facing the Atlantic Ocean the Mediterranean influence is already felt and the temperature of the water tends to be higher than in Lisbon, for example.

The climate is similar to Lisbon but even less rainy, with just around 500 mm (20 in) of rainfall per year. So, once again, the perfect spot for those allergic to cold temperatures and rainy days.

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