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Coastal weather in winter

South of Portugal, Algarve, is one of the warmest places in Europe during the winter. The temperature in the usual sunny day on the south coast usually rising up to 20-23 °C. Sitting on the beach on the sun is pretty nice, it’s comfortable in t-shirt and light pants. But if it’s windy or cloudy weather it can be quite chilly and then you would need a jacket.

West coast of Algarve is colder and much more windy. Temperatures are usually 2-3 degrees less and wind makes the weather feel differently. In the same time, this wind often goes together with high waves, which are good news for surfers.

Algarve is the sunniest region in Europe. Sun shines here most of the days except *rainy seasons*. There are no definite rainy seasons, but while living here, last 2 years I can see rainy November – December and March-April. Well, spring and autumn weather is a topic for another article.

Sometimes in winter temperature drops, especially it can happen while storms. It can be very windy even in the eastern Algarve coast, which usually quite calm. Waves on the south coast also can become quite high, up to 4-5 meters. And day temperature drops to 14-15 in the day time.

Why come to the south of Portugal in winter?

Weather in the inland

Inland of Algarve in winter usually colder than the coast. The temperature at night can drop up to 0 degrees in the rare cold days. In general, the climate becomes more continental, even with just 20 km inside the land.

Greens of inland also have some differences. More continental trees, a little bit less – tropical ones.

In winter small rivers of Algarve have more water. There are some waterfalls, which dry up in summer. So winter is a better time to visit, for example, Pego de Inferno – nice waterfall river lagoon near Tavira.

Why come to the south of Portugal in winter?

How about bathing in the ocean?

The water of the ocean is generally cold here. Even in summer on the west coast of Algarve water often isn’t warm enough to have long bathing. South coast waters are much warmer. In sunny winter days, it’s usual to see some brave foreigners from north swimming. Beaches in winter are empty from people, so it’s much nicer to spend time there.

Note: Activities like cycling and hiking better to do in any season except summer, as it can be too hot.

Why come to the south of Portugal in winter?
Why come to the south of Portugal in winter?
Why come to the south of Portugal in winter?
Why come to the south of Portugal in winter?
Why come to the south of Portugal in winter?

Day/night difference in temperatures

Coming to one of the Algarvian towns in day time you’ll be surprised by amazing warm weather. But when the sun goes down all of sudden it becomes much colder. And if you went to walk around in the t-shirt, you can be caught by a sharp cooling in the evening. 

Notice, that most houses on the south of Portugal don’t have hitting system. So at day time, if the sun doesn’t come to the room, it can be colder inside than outside. At night these houses are very cold. Not all people use electric heaters, as bills for electricity will be costly.

Most hotels have heating. But if its cheap ones, they may not have. In that case, you can start to ask for one more blanket.

Why come to the south of Portugal in winter?

So, Which month is better to come?

Winter in Algarve is green, it will remind you of summer in Europe. Tropical always green plants make the mood. Winter in Algarve is greener than summer, as a lot of plants became burn out with intensive summer sun.

In the middle of February starts the blooming season, when trees and flowers everywhere start to bloom even more. It usually continues until the middle of April.

December can have some rains left from ‘November rainy season’, so its risky to come.

While Climate change is putting variabilities to every weather, last 2  years February was amazingly sunny, warm with zero rains.

Why come to the south of Portugal in winter?
Why come to the south of Portugal in winter?

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Is Algarve Safe or Dangerous?

The quick answer is a very safe touristic destination, Algarve is not dangerous comparatively to most other touristic destinations. As any other touristic area there are some pickpockets and a few drug pushers, but apart from that nothing really to worry about. Portugal holds the 3rd place in the Global Peace Index 2020, right behind Iceland and New Zealand.