Often overshadowed and overlooked by tourists for its more popular neighbor, Spain, Portugal actually packs a strong punch. And while we always tell you to avoid Europe travel in peak summer months Portugal actually is a great destination to visit in August. Read on to know why.
So let’s face it, summer in Europe can get very hot during the day and almost feels like Ahmadabad heat for us Indians. It’s also peak time, crowded and costly so why would we ask you to visit Portugal in August?!
Well for one Portugal’s south called Algarve has fabulous beaches and water based activities that you just cannot miss! The beaches and sea caves here are fabulous and and best explored in August or September, after all how many times have you visited a European beach in May-June and run out of the water because it felt too cold?
The summer crowds actually do bring the quieter villages and towns to life and we are really fond of the villages of Portugal. Definitely visit the capital city of Lisbon and surrounding attractions like the village of Sintra known for its quirky Palaces and mansions. Then there are towns like Obidos which is a typical whitewashed Mediterranean town and then coastal towns like Nazare known for its giant waves, Peniche for its sea fortress and Cascais for its many casinos.
The wine trail in Portugal around Porto and its Duoro valley is a UNESCO Heritage zone and another must do in the country. Then there are remote National Parks like Peneda Geres that always remain cool and see very few crowds.
While the southern coast sees an average highs of 29°C evenings are a balmy 20°C. The sea temperature varies between a crisp 19°C to avery comfortable 23°C depending where you are on the coast making it perfect for kayaking,sailing, scuba diving and other water activities the region is widely known for. Cities like Porto see highs of 25°C and lows of 16°C while the sea temperature is an uncomfortable 17°C.
Lisbon can be warmest at 29°C and see lows of 19°C with sea temperatures around 20°C. It’s not the most pleasant sea temperature but it’s the warmest it gets, hence a visit in August.
Places like Peneda Geres National Park have ideal weather for hiking and other activities with fewer crowds.
Beaches galore, the southern coast of Portugal is very popular and so are the many caves along the coast. The Benegal cave is probably the most visited. Many of these caves are accessible only by sea and most opt for boat cruises. Some of the smaller caves cannot be accessed by these bigger tourist boats. Opt for a Kayaking tour to the caves and you will enjoy an amazing experience of kayaking inside the caves. It’s an adventure you will love and you get to avoid the super crowded touristy caves. For special occasions we even arrange private picnics on the secluded beaches inside the caves.
While the Canary Islands of Spain are more popular few know of Azores and Madeira and even fewer go. While Azores are further away from mainland Portugal they are a haven for nature lovers. Whale watching, hiking, scuba diving, you name and Azores is the best place to do it. Read more about it here.
Madeira set between Morocco and Portugal has often been named the Best Island Destination in the World. The islands comprise of dramatic cliffs, gorgeous natural lava pools with the clearest of water perfect for swimming and picture perfect villages like Funchal. Summer temperatures remain around a comfortable 21°C and the sea temperature a pleasant 23°C. Now you know why we recommend this destination in August. Snorkeling, scuba diving and swimming are really popular activities here.
While most National Parks in Europe are packed to the brim in August Peneda Geres National Park is offbeat and vast enough to feel one with nature without running into another human being if one so wishes. The many mountain villages, wildlife and wild ponies, waterfalls and hiking trails make it a walker’s paradise. If you don’t prefer walking and hiking then biking and driving also offer amazing vistas of the 300 year old granite cliffs, bogs and rivers this national park is known for.
Be it the Port wine from the Duoro valley or the Madeira from Madeira Islands, Portugal’s wine and food scenes are one of the best and oldest in Europe. We arrange Romantic day-trips from Porto into the Duoro valley for those short on time. If you can do spend a few nights, you will love the scenic vineyards, perfectly perched quintas (wine estates) and fantastic wine and food, all served with a view to die for.
For true wine lovers we recommend traveling further north of Porto and Duoro Valley to the Vinho Verde region with especially good white wines and for lovers of red the Alentejo region starting North East of Lisbon and all the way south to Algarve has many wines made from indigenous varieties. And if you do visit the island of Madeira then do try the namesake Madeira wines.