It was over the Easter weekend that the clocks went forward and days were seemingly longer. It has started to feel like Spring in Portugal! Even though Portugal’s sunny and hot weather is a major factor for bringing in the summer crowds, there’s actually never a wrong time of year to visit. Each season has its own unique charm and, often, people who visit in the summer months decide they want to come back at mid- and low-season to explore the country a little bit better, and a little bit differently.
Despite the rain today (yes, we get rain in Portugal, too!), I managed to get some photos over the last few days of the colorful flowers that are already in bloom and fruits that are ripening on trees. And before I go into the advantages of coming to Portugal September through May, I wanted to share some of these here.
Yes, it can get chilly and yes, it’s more likely to rain outside of the summer months, but certainly no more than anywhere else. However, the advantages of visiting at mid and low season are certainly tempting:
1. Better prices on hotels. The difference between high and low season is huge! Suddenly, those fancy hotels become much more affordable. You’ll also find that lots of hotels do special deals such as extra meals or services included in your stay. Go on, treat yourself!
2. You see more sights and fewer sight-seers. You’re more likely to get a spot on that Douro valley boat tour you wanted to take so badly, even though you’re booking it with less notice. Your chances of waiting behind a long line of tourists at a monument or tourist hotspot are also greatly reduced. Do you really want to waste your valuable vacation time standing in line? I don’t.
3. Restaurants in prime tourist real estate will be significantly less crowded, which realistically means better and faster service for you. And even though Portuguese people are (almost always) quite friendly and helpful, you’ll always get a more personal service at any smaller hotel or guest house you stay at if you’re the only guests at that time.
I hope these pictures and my reasons above convince you to visit Portugal outside of June, July and August. Do you really want to miss these beautiful Spring flowers and a less touristy experience of Portugal? The correct answer is, “no, I don’t”.