One of the finest months to visit Portugal, October brings a riot of fall colors and some glorious clear days. While rains begin to fall on the north, the south is still largely sunny, making this a terrific time for coastal hiking, slow touring in the rural interior and even the odd beach day. The crowds are drying up in the cities and at the country’s Unesco World Heritage sites, too, making this the perfect month for exploring in peace.
Fall has arrived in Portugal, bringing with it more fickle weather, which can swing from clear-skied, warm and sunny days to serious downpours at the drop of a hat.In October, summer is definitely over and Autumn is in full swing as the temperatures begin to dip. You can expect more rainy days, less sunny days, chilly evenings and mildly warm day time.
While temperatures in Porto in the north can still nudge highs of 70°F (21°C), they can drop as low as 54°F (12°C), and around 10 days of rain are to be expected. Edging south towards Lisbon, it’s a tad warmer, with highs hitting 73°F (23°C) and around eight days of rain. Driest and hottest of all is the Algarve, where there’s still plenty of sunshine and maximum temperatures of 77°F (25°C), though you should certainly expect the odd shower.
As the month progresses, things get cooler and wetter, so come prepared with a waterproof, sweater and umbrella.
What to Pack
In October, it is best to dress in layers. You may leave the morning with a pullover on, then by midday, it may warm up enough that you can remove it. The evenings usually cool down to the point where you will wear it again. You may feel like you want to wear shorts on a few warmer days, but you would be better off in jeans or long pants in case of rain.
So you want to see the trophy sights but without the madding crowds? Wise choice. October is by far and away one of the best months for exploring the most popular cities, towns and Unesco World Heritage sites in relative peace. Sintra, near Lisbon, is a fine choice, with a weird and delightfully whimsical collection of fantasy Moorish and Manueline castles and palaces spreading across thickly forested, boulder-speckled hills.
Of course,Lisbon is lovely in Autumn when the sun mellows and the tree-lined streets turn honey-colored. One of the sunniest and liveliest capital cities in Europe, the Portuguese capital has become unexpectedly fashionable as travelers from all around the world set foot upon this historical yet cosmopolitan city. It’s easy to find what you’re looking for in Lisbon as the city constantly reinvents itself while looking back on its rich history. Explore Lisbon, walk the city streets and its neighborhoods, go deeper into the surrounding area and attractions, from the beautiful coastline to the wine-producing countryside. Yes, you have read it right, near Lisbon you will fantastic wineries waiting with amazing wine tastings and regional delicacies.
In Serra da Estrela you will find the highest mountains of Portugal and a spectacular national park with incredible scenery, glorious flowering beauty, and spectacular rock formations. The roads, though narrow and windy, have plenty of places where you can stop and savor the views. A network of hiking trails covers the area and fall is arguably one of the best seasons to get into the mountains. Enjoy the best fall foliage and check Rota das Faias – Beech Trees Trail – for a glimpse. Plus, the delightful small town of Belmonte makes an excellent base for exploring the region.
Serra da Arrábida mountain ridge stretches along the southeastern coast of the Setúbal Peninsula. It is located on the opposite bank of the River Tejo – a short 45-minute drive away from the city of Lisbon – and is a very popular destination due to the natural landscapes, particularly its green, lofty mountains edged by a long coastline of golden beaches. While visiting this region, also visit its main wine producers, like Quinta da Bacalhôa and José Maria da Fonseca Company. The first is an innovative winery, palace, and museum, which stands on a former royal estate dating back to the 15th century, complete with a formal miniature maze, a large pond, and vines within its walls. Five minutes away, are the original headquarters of José Maria da Fonseca, a family-owned company and the oldest producer of Muscat, the sweet dessert wine this region is known for.
Alentejo in the last years has become a fantastic destination and during the fall is even better. With views into infinity plains, wheat fields alternate with vineyards, olive groves, and forests of cork oak, you will be impressed with such breathtaking views. This is also a great time for water sports as water levels – usually lower during the hot summer months – have started to increase. Plus, Alentejo’s slow-paced vibe is a big draw for visitors seeking to unwind. Afterward, visit the unique wineries of this region that produce some of the most awarded wines of the country, like Herdade do Esporão.