Is Portugal such a bad country

In the gray and dreary month of November, Portugal is a fantastic travel destination to soak up a dose of winter sun or for an entertaining city break.

However, you should plan your trip carefully and be flexible. In November there can be bad weather in Portugal too. Nevertheless, there are many good reasons for a vacation, especially at this time. So you can visit all the popular tourist attractions without the summer crowds. Accommodation is much cheaper and all holiday resorts are much quieter and more relaxed.

If you are planning a trip to Portugal in November, you should try to stay in the bigger cities (with enough offers even in rainy weather) or on the coast of the Algarve (in the south of the country, with the best chances of good weather).

In the south of Portugal, there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy even in November. Play a round of golf in Vilamoura, hike the Rota Vicentina along the coast, go on a bike ride in the eastern Algarve or surf in Sagres.

This is the ideal time for a round trip or a vacation in a motorhome in the south and east of Portugal: the streets are empty, parking spaces are everywhere and the prices of the car rental companies are lower than at any other time of the year.

Deserted beaches and a clear blue sky in the Algarve

From November onwards they pile up on the coast Nazaré huge waves. These reach heights of up to 30 m and attract daring surfers from all over the world. It's a spectacle that you don't want to miss.

A surfer on a wave over 25 m high - view from the Sitio headland in Nazaré

In late autumn or at the beginning of winter, the average age of holidaymakers in Portugal rises. A much quieter, more relaxed atmosphere then prevails in the holiday resorts. There are also fewer tourists in the big cities (Lisbon, Porto, Coimbra). However, as there are many young people living here, the atmosphere is lively at any time of the year.

You can soak up some excellent winter sun in the Algarve. The region is also much drier and warmer than the rest of the country. The weather in the Algarve is pleasant (max. 18 ° C), but not really suitable for lying on the beach all day or enjoying sunbathing by the pool.

Madeira is also a great choice for a November vacation. Regardless of the rainy season, the temperatures are pleasant thanks to the Gulf Stream (max. 21 ° C). Most of the rain falls on the northwest side of the island and thus away from Funchal and most of the regions popular with tourists.
Related articles: Lisbon travel guide- Porto travel guide - The Algarve - Madeira

Weather in Portugal in November

The best way to describe the weather in Portugal in November is the word “unpredictable”. Still, it's definitely better than the rest of mainland Europe.
The country is divided into three zones: in the north it is rainy and cool, along the southern Algarve it is pleasantly mild. In the rest of the country (including Lisbon) the weather is changeable.

Recommended itineraries for a November vacation in Portugal

One week in Lisbon - Explore Lisbon for three days and then visit Sintra, Setúbal, Cascais, Evora and Obidos on day trips.
Lisbon and the Algarve - Spend three days in Lisbon and then four relaxing days in Albufeira or Lagos.
From Lisbon to Porto - Create a varied holiday with two days in Lisbon, a day trip to Sintra, two days in central Portugal (Nazaré, Obidos, Tomar and Coimbra) and two days in Porto.
Castles and fortresses in eastern Portugal - Evora, Elvas, Marvão, Castelo Branco, Monsanto, Almeida, Trancoso. (You will need a car for this route.)
Round trip along the Algarve - Spend one night in Faro, two nights each in Tavira and Albufeira, and three in Lagos.
Madeira - Use Funchal as a base to explore the island on day trips when the weather is nice.

Below is an interactive map highlighting our suggestions as well as the best places to vacation in Portugal in November. The yellow line shows the tour from Lisbon to Porto, the green line shows the week-long holiday in Lisbon. The red line marks the round trip along the Algarve and the blue the tour in the east of the country.

Areas in Portugal that you shouldn't travel to in November

You should avoid the Duero valley, the mountains of the Serra da Estrela and the resorts in the north.

In November it gets very wet in the Duero Valley. And even if you find offers for boat tours, we advise against it. Because of the (probably wet) weather, you won't get any pleasure out of it.

In the coastal towns to the north (north of Costa Nova and Aveiro) expect strong winds, likely rain, and lots of locked doors. In November, the places usually appear gloomy and barren.
A drive through the mountains of the Serra da Estrela has its pitfalls at this time. You can only go skiing there from the end of December.

Background: Portugal is a fairly small country and has a well-developed rail network. You only need 2.5 hours from Lisbon to the Algarve and 3 hours from Lisbon to Porto. So you can react spontaneously to the local weather conditions. Because therein lies the key to a vacation in Portugal in November: flexibility.

Lisbon is also well suited for a city break in November. The city offers plenty of variety. In bad weather, numerous museums, bars and trendy restaurants as well as other leisure activities await you.

If the weather is good, take the train to the magical one Sintra with his extraordinary Pena Palace as well as the ruins of a Moorish castle. In warm temperatures, a trip to is worthwhile Cascais or to the traditional Sesimbra directly on the beach.

Visit the enchanting Pena Palace in the sunshine - with only a few tourists!

If it does rain, we recommend a visit to the Ozeaneum, the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos monastery and the Calouste Gulbenkian art museum or a trip on tram line 28. If it rains even more, a visit to the LxFactory, the center of the arts and crafts scene, is on the program. Enjoy Portuguese cuisine in the Timeout Market and wind down the day in an underground bar in the Bairro Alto district.

In the off-season you don't need to worry about long queues for the most popular tourist attractions. You don't have to share your day with would-be influencers taking selfies everywhere or countless coach tourists.
Lisbon is a fantastic November travel destination.
Related articles: Lisbon travel guide

The Algarve is wonderful for a holiday in November, if you don't mind that the resorts are extremely quiet and the temperatures do not allow you to bathe in the sun all day.

We recommend that you go to the larger cities at this time of year, i.e. to Albufeira, Lagos or Vilamoura. People live there all year round, so there are plenty of restaurants and bars that are open. For a little glimpse into Portuguese culture we can offer you a visit to the lovely Tavira or in Faro recommend.

Bargain hunters get their money's worth in November in the Algarve. Have a look through comparison portals on the Internet and you will see that many luxury hotels offer rooms at the average price of 3-star hotels. We advise you to rent a car for your vacation. So you can explore the region and are not tied to a single location.

The western Algarve is home to lively resorts and golden rocks.

November is the high season for surfers in the western Algarve. A very special atmosphere and fantastic surfing beaches await you in Sagres.

Here are some ideas for your November vacation: hike the impressive Praia do Vale de Centeanes hiking trail, take a boat along the coast of Albufeira or Vilamoura, or cycle the quiet roads around Burgau or Tavira.

November is also a popular time for a golf vacation in the Algarve. The weather is mostly sunny and dry, but without the intense summer heat. Vilamoura is the best destination for golfers.

In Porto, the weather at this time of year is difficult to predict: it can be good and pleasant or it can be very wet. The city does not have as many leisure activities and sights that are suitable in bad weather as Lisbon. The most popular is a visit to the spacious port wine cellars on the banks of the Duero. The city's most famous product is produced and tasted in 14 different cellars.

In dry weather we recommend a detour to beautiful Guimaraes. The city is considered to be the birthplace of Portugal. Or you can rent a car and drive through the Duero Valley.

Our tip: If you are actually planning a vacation to Porto in November, keep your travel plans open as long as possible. Keep an eye on the long-term weather forecast and then make a decision. If the weather forecast is bad, we recommend that you switch to Lisbon or the Algarve. If, however, it should stay dry, a visit to Porto is worthwhile and you can look forward to a bargain vacation!
Related articles: Porto travel guide