Portugal in December | Weather, Things to Do & What to Pack

Things to Do in Portugal in December 

1. Spend time With Your Loved Ones at Madeira
2. Feel the Christmas Spirit in Coimbra
3. Explore the Coastal Town of Tavira
4. Traverse the Stunning and Historic Town of Lagos
5. Pump Your Adrenaline at The Algarve
6. Enjoy Christmas and Sightseeing in Lisbon
7. Tour the Entire Sao Jorge Castle
8. Traverse Around Porto
9. Roam Around Vilamoura
10. Partake in Outdoor Activities at Sao Miguel Island

Portugal in December is one of the best times to visit as the country goes into full festive swing due to Christmas. With brightly lit towns and cities, fairs cropping up everywhere, and parties on the agenda, the sight will leave you awestruck. It is a peaceful time before the holidays, perfect for visiting popular destinations that tend to be overrun with tourists in the summer and taking advantage of reduced rates during the off-season. During the month of December, the Serra da Estrela mountains will be covered in snow, making for a truly unforgettable scene.

One of the best things to do in Portugal in December is to ski on the slopes of these mountains. Southern Portugal and the Algarve are perfect for sightseeing and outdoor activities because of their moderate climate, but if you're looking for a change of scenery, you may also visit Portugal's eastern side. The Algarve, for example, will have weather most like that of a mid-spring day in the United States, and hence will be the finest place to visit in Portugal. It's not beach-bathing weather, and you'll need a light jacket for evenings out, but it's nice for getting out and about throughout the day.

Here is the list of best things to do in Portugal in December:

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Essential Information About Portugal in December


Weather in Portugal in December

December is a pleasant time to visit Portugal, thanks to the country's moderate climate! With its western European location, the country experiences a wide range of climatic conditions. Different regions have unique climates, meaning the weather up north in Portugal in December won't be the same as it is down south, and vice versa. The beaches and the mountains are both affected by this occurrence.

Lisbon, the country's capital, is the best bet if  you  want a realistic snapshot of Portugal's weather in the month of December. The capital city sees daily highs of 15 degrees Celsius and nighttime lows of 9 degrees Celsius on average. Water temperatures are up to a balmy 17 degrees Celsius, and humidity levels are down. When it comes to precipitation, tourists should pack an average of 106mm for 14 wet days. On average, the sun sets at about 5:15 PM throughout the month, with some days having slightly later or earlier sunsets.

What to Pack For Portugal in December

  • Pack a lightweight raincoat and windproof travel umbrella as Portugal in December faces cold and rainy weather.
  • Warmer clothing and footwear are recommended for blending in and being comfortable in Portugal in December, but sunglasses are a must-have year-round.If you frequently purchase bottled water, think about switching to a filtration water bottle instead. You can fill it up at any water fountain and be certain of drinking clean, safe water without using any disposable plastic containers.
  • If your electronic devices are not suited for European voltage, you will require a travel adaptor plug and a step-down voltage converter to operate them in Europe (230V).
  • Make sure to carry a camera and capture moments with your loved ones. 
  • TravelOn Anti-Theft Heritage Tote Bag (cotton, canvas, and swede).

Things to Do in Portugal in December


Spend Time With Your Loved Ones At Madeira

  • Plan your trip to the Portuguese island territory located off the northwest coast of Africa on a chain of four islands.

  • Visit Madeira, a subtropical island in Portugal in December and try hiking in the beautiful trails combined with waves and lush greenery. 

  • As the water temperature in Madeira is just right for surfing in this month, you must bring along your surfboard and get on the water surface. 

  • Take pleasure in the warmth of the winter sun while lounging in a boat and gazing at snow-capped mountains.

  • Enjoy the subtropical weather and wine with which this region is synonymous. 

  • During the holiday season, Funchal's streets are illuminated with festive lights, and on Christmas Eve, a fireworks show is sent off over the ocean to ring in the festival.

Location: Madeira


Feel The Christmas Spirit in Coimbra

  • Coimbra, the university city of Portugal, is a must-see for any traveler interested in the country's rich history and culture. 

  • You, with your expert local guide, will see all the sights at the most aesthetically pleasing locations such as Biblioteca Joanina and Old Cathedral. 

  • Experience the magical ambiance of the streets of Portugal in December with your loved ones which will leave you spellbound. 

  • Buy some souvenirs from The Coimbra Christmas Market, or Mercado de Natal de Coimbra which  is a yearly highlight of the city's holiday season. 

  • The market features hundreds of wooden stalls selling traditional Portuguese Christmas fare and unique gifts.

Location: Central Portugal

Explore The Coastal Town of Tavira

  • Located on the more tranquil eastern side of the Algarve, this picturesque coastal village of Tavira has a lot to offer in Portugal in December . 

  • The Tavira Island is home to an impressively lengthy stretch of beach stretching for 11 kilometers (6.8 miles). 

  • Revel in the nippier temperature that may seem a little chilly for sunbathing but would be perfect for a leisurely stroll along the water's edge. 

  • Later, go down the Gilão River to the salt flats to see the stunning birdlife of Ria Formosa Natural Park, where you can spot flamingos and spoonbills.

Location: In the east of the Algarve on the south coast of Portugal


Traverse The Stunning and Historic Town of Lagos

  • Lagos, one of the most visited places in Portugal, is known for its historic walled center and breathtaking cliffs. 

  • Enjoy the spellbinding view of the cliffs of Ponta de Piedade, and Castelo dos Governadores in the winter without having to fight through crowds.

  • Enter the majestic Igreja de Santo Antônio, one of those sparkling churches that leaves onlookers in awe.

  • Get to the stunning Praia do Camilo beach by descending 200 wooden steps.

  • Visit the old part of Lagos in Portugal in December which has vibrant architecture, laid-back seafood eateries, tiny museums, and charming cobblestone alleyways.

  • Visit the several nearby courses in the Boavista Golf & Spa Resort, which features an 18-hole layout created by renowned architect Howard Swan.

Location: In southern Portugal's Algarve region


Pump Your Adrenaline At The Algarve

  • Algarve is a coastline, well-known for its trendy warm-water baths, stunning sights, and adventurous hiking trips. 

  • Play golf at the four golf courses situated right on the marina, which makes it a bonus for beachgoers. 

  • You can relax in the sun all day and take quiet evening strolls on Algarve's beaches.

  • To explore Ria Formosa National Park, Tavira and Olho are excellent options for a base in Portugal in December. 

  • Walk across to Tavira Island, where the Anchor Cemetery is located, and take a boat to one of the other islands in the nearby vicinity.

Location: Southern Portugal


Enjoy Christmas And Sightseeing in Lisbon

  • During the weeks leading up to Christmas, when roasted chestnuts fill the air and Christmas lights sparkle in the streets, the capital of Portugal truly takes on a mystical quality.

  • Visit the iconic Jeronimos Monastery, Belém Tower, and Santa Justa Lift once the Christmas crowds have dispersed in Portugal in December.

  • Downtown in the Baixa district where you can purchase souvenirs are the Rossio Christmas Market and the Praça do Municipio market. 

  • Taking the train to Sintra to see the colorful castles and cozy cafes is one of the unmissable things to do in Portugal in December.

Location: In the western Iberian Peninsula on the Atlantic Ocean


Tour The Entire Sao Jorge Castle

  • One of the best Portugal attractions, the Castelo de Sao Jorge towers over the city of Lisbon whose design reflects its complex and eventful past. 

  • The fortifications include battlements and other medieval royal living quarters and seaward views that stoked the explorer's spirit of Portugal's royal family.

  •  Explore the renovated ramparts, towers, and moat in addition to the courtyard gardens of the castle in Portugal in December.

  • Visit the Santa Luzia overlook and see the Ulysses tower and the statue of King Manuel I.

  • Learn about the Castle's Neighborhood and the Martim Moniz Door.

Location: R. de Santa Cruz do Castelo, 1100-129 Lisboa, Portugal


Traverse Around Porto

  • Porto, a historical seaport, is a wonderful destination which you can visit during the colder months in Portugal in December. 

  • In the medieval Unesco Ribeira district, you can visit the historic landmarks like the Palácio de Bolsa (19th century) and the baroque So Francisco Church (1700s). 

  • Explore the charming, winding cobblestone streets lined with merchants' homes. 

  • Try authentic Bacalhau dried salted cod fish served in a variety of preparations, such as in a sandwich like the Francesinha, which combines ham, steak, and melted cheese. 

  • Sample a glass of regional wine in the region of Porto with your better half.

Location: Along the Douro River estuary in northern Portugal


Roam Around Vilamoura

  • Vilamoura has an award-winning marina full of upscale bars, restaurants, and boutiques, making it one of the Algarve's more refined resorts. 

  • Lisbon, hosts the annual Masters golf tournament in Portugal in December on the challenging Victoria Course, one of the city's five courses. 

  • One of the major highlights of Vilamoura is the Cerro da Vila archaeological museum that introduces one to old culture and tradition

  • Roam around the beaches of Vilamoura with your loved ones and get lost in the beauty of sandy beaches and pristine water.

Location: Algarve region of southern Portugal


Partake in Outdoor Activities At Sao Miguel Island

  • On your trip to Sao Miguel Island, engage in outdoor things to do in Portugal in December such as kayaking, paddleboarding, road cycling, surfing, diving, coasteering, sailing, fishing, hiking, and mountain biking.
  • Spend some time watching marine life or just want to add a day trip to your trip, the Azores are the best place in Europe to do so.
  • Discover one of the island's oldest calderas, Furnas in the island's eastern region which is home to more than thirty geysers and mineral-rich springs.
  • Check out the lovely atmosphere here in December that is a blend of scents from the local wild aloe, ancient cedars, and gushing aquifers.

Location: In Portugal's Azores archipelago

People Also Ask About Portugal

  1. What are the popular things to do in Portugal in December?

    1. Sample traditional treats and meats: Christmas is just around the corner in the month of December, which means that bakeries, grocery stores, and stores all over the country are stocking up on holiday treats. Guests in Portugal in December can munch on rissóis (small, savory fried turnovers) or codfish cakes while sampling Queen’s and King’s cake besides filhoses. 
    2. Explore the christmas market: Algarve hosts a fantastic Christmas market that you shouldn't miss if you're planning on spending the holidays in the south. Several wooden stalls sell tasty treats, wines, distinctive celebratory merchandise, and handmade gifts from all over Northern Europe besides traditional Portuguese goods and services that the market is known for. Stroll around the numerous stalls in Portugal in December that offer exciting games to entertain children.
    3. Visit the Gulbenkian Museum: Checkout the Gulbenkian Museum and travel to 5000 years in the past. One of the interesting things to do in Portugal in December is to take the museum tour that houses a magnificent collection of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Islamic, Asian, and European art. Look around the beautiful Gulbenkian Garden, the beautiful Parque Eduardo VII, and the rest of the museum's many treasures.
  2. What are the most famous places to go in Portugal in December?

    1. Obidos: Obidos, located in the Leiria district, is often referred to as an "open-air museum" because of its medieval castle and the picturesque white houses that line its cobbled streets. You can sample a lesser-known Portuguese delicacy called Ginja de bidos, a liqueur made from sour cherries and typically presented in edible chocolate cups.
    2. Caldas da Rainha: Discover Portugal's storied artistic legacy in this town near Leiria and see some excellent collections at the Museu José Malhoa and the Museu da Cerâmica. It features ceramics from the 16th to the 20th centuries and paintings by the Portuguese naturalist painter, respectively.
    3. Plaia Da Rocha: Plaia Da Rocha is a massive beach and one of the most frequently visited tourist destinations in Portugal. Dine in style at one of the marina's fine dining establishments or hit up one of the many themed bars on Av Tomás Cabreira.
    4. Serra de Estrela: Portugal's highest mountains, the Serra da Estrela, is the only destination where you can enjoy winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, sledding, and even snowmobiling.
  3. Does it snow in Portugal in December?

    Yes, it snows in Portugal in December. Up to 8 inches (203mm) of snow can fall throughout the month while temperatures drop to as low as 34.5 degrees Fahrenheit (1.3 degrees Celsius).
  4. How is the weather in Portugal in December?

    December in Portugal, a country in the southern Mediterranean, is characterized by mild to warm days and cold and damp nights, especially near the coast but warmer and drier inland. Daytime highs hover near 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius), while nighttime lows dip to around 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius).
  5. Is December a good time to visit Portugal?

    Yes, Portugal is an excellent holiday destination to visit in the month of December as the country gets in full festive vibe.
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