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Vacationing in Portugal – Summer Edition (2024)

The summer is here and brings long sunny days demanding a special program. For most people, this is the season in which they travel to foreign destinations, relax, and spend time with their family and friends. Especially in Europe, summer is also the high season.

As a renowned destination, Portugal does not miss the mark. The nation welcomed 18 million tourists in 2023, breaking pre-pandemic records. What about you? Do you also dream of an Iberian getaway?

Then, discover what makes Portugal the perfect destination for your next summer trip. Explore the activities you can do, where to stay, and how to organize an unforgettable summer in Portugal.

Why Portugal is the Perfect Summer Destination

Most visitors highlight identical aspects when visiting Portugal. It has beautiful beaches, stunning landscapes, a vibrant culture, tasty food, and warm weather. It seems to have something to offer every traveler, from its captivating beaches to its historic sites. Thus, Portugal stands out as the ideal summer getaway. But is it really all that great?

Portugal is the perfect summer destination
Portugal is the perfect summer destination

Start by exploring the top aspects that make Portugal your next destination for a perfect summer vacation.

Warm and Sunny Weather

The summer in Portugal is warm and sunny
The summer in Portugal is warm and sunny

Portugal enjoys a Mediterranean climate. It benefits from plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures during the summer months. The country enjoys long days from June to August, with average temperatures ranging between 24°C and 30°C.

The southern regions are slightly warmer than the northern areas. Still, you will find clear skies and gentle breezes wherever you go. The good weather creates perfect conditions for enjoying the outdoors, whether lazing on the beach or exploring charismatic historical sites.

Lately, summers in the country have become too warm, with temperatures surpassing 40ºC in some regions. Thus, it is best to go prepared and take good sunscreen, sunglasses, and a summer hat. Additionally, stay indoors if there are extreme heat warnings in the area you are visiting.

Beautiful Beaches

Portugal has an impressive coastline filled with breathtaking beaches, each with unique charm. The Algarve is known for its stunning Mediterranean-influenced coast. With golden sands, crystal clear waters, and dramatic cliffs, it has a warm and inviting atmosphere.

The beaches of the Algarve, such as Praia da Marinha and Praia da Falésia, are ideal for sunbathing and swimming. In contrast, the beaches on the Atlantic coast, such as Praia da Nazaré and Praia do Guincho, have strong waves, perfect for water sports. Costa da Caparica is another famous beach location. These Atlantic Ocean beaches are a paradise for surfers and adventurers.

Unique Festivals

Portugal has a vibrant summer calendar of festivals and cultural events. Some of the best-known celebrations relate to the Catholic church, the most prominent in Portugal. Natives commemorate the Santos Populares (Popular Saints) with music, dancing, and fireworks. In June, Lisbon celebrates the Santo António festival, while Porto organizes the São João Festival.

Another popular event with religious roots is the Festa dos Tabuleiros, which happens in Tomar every four years. During it, young women parade through the streets wearing headdresses decorated with flowers and bread.

Portugal has a vibrant summer calendar of festivals and cultural events
Portugal has a vibrant summer calendar of festivals and cultural events

The small country also hosts numerous music festivals. In the Azores, the Maré de Agosto Festival showcases the region’s rich cultural heritage. It brings together worldwide famous artists on a stage by the beach.

Other renowned festivals include the NOS Alive in Lisbon and the Super Bock Super Rock in Meco Beach. In the Alentejo region, the Sudoeste Festival is one of the most awaited events of the summer months.

How to Plan The Perfect Portuguese Summer Vacation

Are you already dreaming of your sun-soaked vacation in Portugal? Then, start planning it! Now, programming the ultimate Portuguese summer getaway does not have to be daunting. With the right tips and strategies, you can plan a trip that is as memorable as it is stress-free. Here are some ideas for places to visit, must-try activities, and accommodation options.

Top Places to Visit and Must-Try Activities

Go Surfing in Nazaré

Nazaré is a charming coastal town in central Portugal. The region is known for its legendary waves. In fact, it is home to the highest wave ever surfed in the world, reaching over 100 feet. Hence, Nazaré offers an unparalleled surfing experience for thrill seekers.

 Go surfing in Portuguese beaches by the Atlantic
Go surfing on Portuguese beaches by the Atlantic

These monstrous oceanic waves develop due to a unique underwater canyon formation. Local beaches often welcome professional big-wave surfers worldwide. You will hear famous names like Garrett McNamara, Justine Dupont, and Natxo González. Even if gigantic waves are not your thing, this is a location you can not miss.

The surrounding region has a rugged yet picturesque coastline. You will see towering cliffs, secluded coves, and pristine beaches. After an exciting day on the waves, you can explore the narrow streets of the old town and enjoy delicious seafood.

Try Wine tasting in The Douro 

Porto and the Douro Valley are among the trendiest destinations in Europe. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a breathtaking wine region in northern Portugal. The landscape features traditional terraced vineyards clinging to the steep slopes of the Douro River.

Wine tasting in the Douro Valley is an unforgettable experience. Visitors can enjoy the region’s famous port wines and table wines. Throughout the valley, you will find wineries that offer guided tours. You can explore the historic cellars and observe the winemaking process.

Include wine tasting in the Douro Valley in your Portuguese summer trip plan
Include wine tasting in the Douro Valley in your Portuguese summer trip plan

Moreover, most wineries also offer wine tastings. Thus, they give you a unique experience and the opportunity to learn about a centuries-old winemaking tradition. All while enjoying the breathtaking views of the Douro River and surrounding vineyards.

Explore National Galleries and Palaces

Portugal is home to many national galleries, museums, and palaces. Through them, visitors get an insight into the country’s cultural heritage. In Lisbon, the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga (National Museum of Ancient Art or MNAA) houses an impressive collection of European art. You will find works by famous artists such as Hieronymus Bosch and Albrecht Dürer.

Another must-see is the Palácio Nacional da Ajuda. This magnificent 19th-century royal palace illustrates the opulent lifestyle of the Portuguese monarchy. Further north is the Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis in Porto. It harbors a vast collection of Portuguese paintings, sculptures, and decorative art.

Travelers can also explore the Palácio Nacional da Pena and the adjacent park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site combines Moorish, Gothic, Manueline, and Renaissance architecture. You will find many other national galleries and palaces in other cities, like the Art Nouveau Museum in Aveiro. They give visitors a deeper understanding and appreciation of local art and history.

Take a Boat Trip to The Caves

One of the must-do summer activities in Portugal is exploring the caves in coastal areas. On the Algarve coast, visitors can go on boat tours to discover an intricate web of sea caves. These tours offer a unique perspective of the region’s dramatic cliffs. You will also visit mysterious hidden coves and enjoy crystal-clear turquoise waters.

Take a boat trip to the caves in Portugal
Take a boat trip to the caves in Portugal

On the west coast of the Algarve, the Benagil Cave earned a worldwide reputation. It has a cathedral-like dome and a sandy beach inside. The Azores and Madeira are also a great destination for boat trips. The archipelagos have incredible cave systems and hot springs.

São Miguel, the largest island of the Azores, is also known as the green island. Its panoramic views with lush greenery are the perfect location for outdoor activities. A boat trip around São Miguel offers stunning views of its hills, volcanic craters, and lakes.

Where to Stay

You might find it challenging to find accommodation in Portugal during the summer. So, book your stay in advance to avoid frustration and ensure your trip goes smoothly. If you are planning a trip to a big city like Porto, Coimbra, or the capital, Lisbon, reach out directly to the hotel for the best deal.

Boutique hotels and Beachfront resorts

Beach resorts in Portugal offer a luxurious and unforgettable summer experience. For beach lovers, the Algarve region offers some of the most beautiful beach resorts. For example, the Anantara Vilamoura Algarve Resort is located directly on the beach. This resort proposes elegant lodgings and first-class comforts with direct access to the Silver Coast.

Another option is the Tivoli Carvoeiro Algarve Resort. Again, it overlooks the picturesque Carvoeiro beach. Here, you will find a tranquil atmosphere with lush gardens and panoramic sea views.

In the Invicta city, you will find the Torel Palace Porto, an exceptional five-star hotel offering luxury services and fine dining. In Lisbon, the LX Boutique Hotel delivers beautiful views of the Tagus River in an elegant and contemporary style.

Truck on a Street in Lisbon
You can book your accommodation in a historic site in Portugal

Exceptional Bed&Breakfasts

Bed&Breakfasts offer an intimate and authentic way to experience the different regions of Portugal. They are also a less expensive option than luxury hotels. In the north, historic quintas and manor houses offer an insight into the country’s rural heritage. They deliver cozy accommodation and home-cooked regional dishes.

In the southern and central regions, charming pousadas and historic inns combine traditional architecture with modern comfort. You will get stunning sea views along the coast and enjoy the beauty of natural parks and green landscapes inland.

In the Azores and Madeira, you will find family-run lodges reflecting the traditions of these archipelagos. Wherever you stay, a quaint B&B will provide you with an intimate and unforgettable base from which to explore Portugal.

Insider Tips for Your Portuguese Summer Season

One of the best tips for anyone visiting Portugal is learning some words in Portuguese. Knowing the local language allows you to enjoy your trip even more. For example, you can learn The 17 Best European Portuguese Phrases to Know if You Are Visiting Portugal.

What if you want to take your Portuguese studies to the next level? Then, sign up for The Journey! It is a unique language program that helps you acquire a new language while having fun.

Learn European Portuguese the Instinctive Way!

For the last decade, we’ve been working on putting together the best possible European Portuguese course. After much research, feedback from our students, and several iterations, we think we’ve got it! 😉

At the base of it all is a sound conviction that languages are better learned instinctively, so the process needs to engaging, varied, and enjoyable. Throughout, we used scientifically proven techniques to help you master pronunciation, phrase construction, oral understanding, grammar, and all the necessary bits to get you to fluency. And still, the whole thing is presented as an adventure. It’s a course like no other, trust us!

Here are some more tips on navigating Portugal and uncovering the essence of its culture.

Taste the Local Cuisine

When in Portugal, immersing yourself in the local food culture is essential. Seek out traditional and family-run businesses to taste authentic Portuguese cuisine. Each region has its unique culinary specialties. You will relish fresh seafood on the coast and try the famous Francesinha (a decadent sandwich) in the north.

Try the local cuisine in your Portuguese summer trip
Try the local cuisine during your Portuguese summer trip

Do not be afraid to get off the beaten track. Instead of visiting tourist-recommended spots, discover local places and explore the traditional Portuguese flavors. Besides, remember to taste local beverages. Whether they are wines, beers, or soft drinks, they will complete your gastronomic experience.

Transportation Options

Getting around Portugal is relatively easy and convenient for tourists. The country has a well-developed public transportation network with trains, buses, and subways in major cities. The Alfa Pendular high-speed trains connect Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve. They offer a comfortable and efficient way to travel long distances.

Portugal has a well-developed public transportation in major cities
Portugal has a well-developed public transportation in major cities

Buses also offer a comprehensive range of services and connect cities throughout the country. However, trips on the road are usually longer. In addition, renting a car is a popular option. It is also the best choice for visiting inland regions, where transportation means are scarce. Besides, a car allows you to travel at your own pace, discovering areas you would not otherwise reach.

Visit Portugal: Summer as You Never Lived It Before

Portugal is the perfect summer getaway destination, with many attractions to suit everybody’s tastes. It has stunning beaches, delicious cuisine, and a rich culture. You can explore the charming streets of Lisbon or relax on the golden beaches of the Algarve. You can taste Port Wine in the Douro Valley, take trips in colorful boats in the Azorean caves, or enjoy your favorite artists performing live.

What do you want to do when you visit Portugal in the summer? And, if you have already been there for the season, what did you love the most?

Planning the perfect Portuguese vacation does not have to be complicated. Choose the activities you want to do and book your tickets and accommodation in advance. Prepare well for the heat, and you will be ready to enjoy your summer in Portugal!

For a season-by-season guide, check out:

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