“To Travel is to Live” - Hans Christian Andersen
Portugal is one of the most popular countries when it comes to holidays. With its typical little streets, relaxing on the beach by the Atlantic Ocean, and Azulejo, there’s a broad Portuguese culture to discover and Porto embodies it all!
Portugal welcomes 11.5 million tourists a year and a good number of them go to Porto, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Portugal’s second city.
This is hardly surprising, with wine cellars, cruises along the River Douro, and the historic centre, Porto’s perfect for a city breaks or longer stays.
Just like most European cities, certain times of the year are better than others.
So when is the best time of the year to visit Porto?
In this article, we're going to look at when you should visit Porto, when the weather's at its best, events going on in the city, and how long you should spend visiting Portugal's second city.
When Should You Go to Porto?
Porto is in the north of the country away from Lisbon and its trams and the heat of the Algarve. However, it still has some great attractions and fewer tourists.
Visiting Porto is always a good idea, but there are a few things that you’ll need to consider before deciding when to go to Porto. Be it your budget, time constraints, work, what you want to do there, you need to consider several things before you plan your trip.
According to the Weather
Of course, Porto is famous for having better weather than in the UK (Where isn't?). While the winters aren’t bitter, certain seasons are still better than others.
Like any good travel guide will tell you, the summer in Porto is warm and bearable thanks to the Douro river running through the city. However, everyone will have their preferences in terms of weather.
In short, the best months to visit Porto are:
We wouldn’t necessarily tell you that the other months are out of the question, but December, January, and February are the coldest of the months of the year and also when it rains the most.
On the other hand, the hottest months are July, August, and September. If you want to go for a swim, you’ll want to go between June and October when the water’s welcoming.
Find out more about the different areas of Porto.
According to the Season
The second criterion you need to consider depends on the influx of tourists. The north of Portugal is becoming more and more popular thanks to flights from budget airlines making the region more accessible.
Porto has seen an increase in tourism in recent years, making some periods very busy. Even if it’s nowhere near as busy as other tourist destinations, certain times of the year are better than others when it comes to getting places on a cruise down the Douro or a Port-tasting session in a wine cellar. After all, Port wine is from the city and many tourists will come just for that!
As you’ll have understood, the most popular times of the year coincide with the best weather and the holidays across Europe (July and August). If your objective is to visit Porto and its monuments like the Lello Bookstore and the Stock Exchange Building and you’re not that bothered by the weather, you’ll want to go when it’s not too busy.
Spring is a great time to go to Porto and you can enjoy the charming old town with too many queues. It’s often beautiful in Porto!
You might want to get Portuguese tutorials before you go!
When You Should Go to Porto: Events throughout the Year
The weather and other tourists aren’t the only criteria you need to consider when you visit Porto. Portugal’s second city has plenty of cultural events throughout the year for you to enjoy. With festivals, concerts, and other gatherings, when you visit Porto could be decided based on what’s happening in the city.
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As you’ll have understood, Porto is quieter in the winter. With concerts, festivals, and local events, you can enjoy even more Portuguese culture! Of course, there are plenty of times throughout the year when you can enjoy Portuguese events.
With so much going on throughout the year, why not make sure you’re there for them?
If you’re interested in the busiest times of the cultural calendar, go during May, June, or July. You also need to think about how long to spend in Porto.
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How Long Should You Spend in Porto?
Porto is, as you’ll have gathered, a city with plenty of things to see and do where something’s always going on. You might be travelling with your family, partner, or friends, but struggling with planning what you want to do there. Again, when you decide to go will also dictate how long to spend there.
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If you’re heading to Porto in summer, you’ll need a bigger budget. In winter, things are cheaper but it's also colder. Generally, an influx of tourists leads to higher demand and, therefore, higher prices.
Keep in mind that if you’re staying for a week, you’ll need more money for accommodation in Porto and transport in July than in October.
However, if it’s the only time of the year you can go and you’re on a strict budget, have you thought about reducing the amount of time you go for?
Porto in summer is worth it, though!
On the other hand, it’ll be easier to find accommodation on a budget and visit the beaches without too many tourists. In this situation, you probably won’t want to go in the water as it’s around 15 degrees colder than in the summer.
So what do you reckon?
What you want to do and see in Porto will dictate how long you spend there. There are plenty of things to do in Porto in winter including the wine cellars in Vila Nova, shopping in the old town, and visiting the monastery, for example. That said, if you want to do things like go for a cruise down the Douro and get some nice photos, you should go in summer.
Since Porto is one of the nicest cities for a long weekend, it’s not great when it’s raining. Don’t forget that a lot of people visit Portugal for the sun! That said, you can always enjoy a glass of Port after a walk along the river in Vila Nova de Gaia. You’ll always find something to do in Porto!
Going to Porto is a great idea! However, what you want to do, your budget and the type of holiday you want will affect the best time to go! In short, there's always something going on in the summer but it’s cheaper and quieter in the winter.
Don’t forget that Porto is a lively city throughout the year! Boa tarde!
Whether you're visiting Portugal for the coastline, wine tasting, Roman ruins, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, or just as part of a trip around the Iberian Peninsula, it might be worthwhile to learn some of the language first. Fortunately for you, there are plenty of talented Portuguese tutors on Superprof! There are three types of tutorial available, each with its advantages and disadvantages: group tutorials, online tutorials, and face-to-face tutorials.
Group tutorials are great for those on a budget as you can share the cost of the tutor's time with the other students in attendance. However, you will get less one-on-one time with your tutor and receive more generalised tuition. It could be useful if you're going to Porto with a group of friends who'd all like to learn Portuguese!
Similarly, online tutorials are good if you're on a budget as the tutor doesn't have to travel and can, therefore, charge less per hour. If you both have a webcam and a decent internet connection, you can get Portuguese tutorials from anywhere in the world. Your tutor might even be from Porto and happy to show you around the city once you get there.
Finally, face-to-face tutorials are between you and the tutor. This is the most costly type of tutorial but it's also the most cost-effective. With these tutorials, you can get bespoke Portuguese lessons and learn exactly what you need to know. They'll work with your strengths and weaknesses and put together a course that will work for you!
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