Does it snow in Portugal? All you need to know

Reema Bharti

Reema Bharti

· 7 min read

Yes, it snows in Portugal. But it's not as simple as that.

Let me explain. Portugal is a bit like two different places.

There's the coastline, where cities like Lisbon and Porto are. Then there's the high mountains, like the Serra da Estrela. These are very different spots.

In cities like Lisbon and Porto or in Northern Portugal, one would usually experience warm temperatures. Even in the winter, it hardly gets very cold and the average temperatures hardly every drop.

People walk around in light jackets and sweaters due to the mild winters. Can you find snow? Not really! It's very rare to see snowflakes there.

But then, there's the Serra da Estrela. It's the highest mountain range in Portugal. When I went there, I felt like I was in a different country! It was so much colder, as it experiences a strong winter weather. And yes, it does snow there. In fact, there's even a ski resort!

Imagine that, skiing in Portugal! People zipping down the slopes in their colorful ski suits. Children making snowmen and having snowball fights. The mountains covered in a blanket of white. It was a magical sight.

So, does it snow in Portugal? Yes and no.

It all depends on where you are. If you're by the sea, probably not. But if you're up in the mountains, get ready for a snowball fight!

So there you have it. Portugal, a land of sun and surf, but also of snow and ski slopes. Now isn't that something?


Where does it snow in Portugal?

The places it snows in Portugal are:

  1. Serra da Estrela

  2. Serra do Marao

  3. Serra do Montemuro

  4. Serra do Montesinho

Even though Portugal is famous for its sunny coastlines and golden beaches, it also has spots where you can experience a snowy winter.

There are several mountainous regions across the country that can transform into a winter wonderland and you can even find ski resorts.

  1. Serra da Estrela:

This mountain range, which includes mainland Portugal's highest point at almost 2,000 meters, is known for its stunning snow-covered landscapes. It's the most significant and most well-known snowy region in Portugal.

The snow season here can start as early as November and usually lasts until May, giving you a long window to experience Portugal's winter wonderland.

When the snow starts to fall, the entire mountain range is transformed into an ethereal spectacle, with the once green and brown peaks taking on a blanket of pure white.

For a moment, you might even forget you're in Portugal as you're surrounded by snow-capped mountains and beautiful winter scenery.

  1. Serra do Marão:

Located in the northern part of Portugal, the Serra do Marão mountain range is another spot that sees a fair share of snow. The temperatures here can drop significantly during the winter months, with snowfall becoming a common occurrence.

The sight of snow-covered mountain peaks against the backdrop of lush green valleys below is a visual treat.

It's like a scene from a painting, with the contrast between the white peaks and the vibrant valleys creating a stunning tableau.

  1. Serra do Montemuro:

This less well-known mountain range is located in the central-northern part of Portugal. Despite its lower profile, it offers a unique destination for winter enthusiasts.

The weather here can be rather unpredictable, with snow showers often transforming the landscape into a snowy paradise out of the blue.

It's like a secret hideaway for snow lovers, offering the chance to escape the crowd and enjoy the snowy vistas in peace.

  1. Serra de Montesinho:

Tucked away in the northeastern part of Portugal is the Serra de Montesinho. This region is renowned for its natural park, a sanctuary for wildlife and nature lovers.

During the winter, it's not uncommon to see the park's rolling hills covered in a thick layer of snow.

This creates an incredible and serene landscape, with the silent hills under the snow offering a stark contrast to the bustling beach resorts in other parts of the country.

Walking through this snowy landscape, you can enjoy the silence of winter, with only the crunching of snow under your boots breaking the quiet. It's a beautiful, peaceful side of Portugal that's worth exploring.

Is Portugal good for skiing?

Yes, Portugal is good for skiing, particularly in Serra da Estrela. Although Portugal might not be the first name that pops into your mind when you think of skiing, the country has a quaint charm for winter sports lovers.

The Vodafone Ski Resort in Serra da Estrela offers around 9 ski runs ranging from easy to difficult levels. As a novice skier, I enjoyed the gentler slopes, which gave me plenty of time to find my skiing legs.

More experienced skiers in my group enjoyed the challenging runs. The resort also has a ski school, offering lessons for beginners.

Top Snow Activities in Portugal

The top snow activities in Portugal are:

  1. Snow sports in Serra da Estrela

  2. Exploration of the beautiful Covão dos Conchos

  3. A visit the nearby city of Guarda

  4. Hiking in Serra da Estrela

  5. 4×4 Jeep Tour of Serra da Estrela

If you think winter in Portugal is all about relaxing by the fire with a hot cup of cocoa, you're in for a surprise.

Although skiing is a popular winter pastime, there's a whole array of snow activities to discover. You can find yourself sledding down a hill, exploring a fairy-tale-like frozen lake, or even touring snowy landscapes in a 4×4 jeep!

  1. Snow sports in Serra da Estrela:

Serra da Estrela isn't just about skiing, although the slopes are fantastic. The resort also offers a multitude of other snow sports, including snowboarding and snowmobiling, to get your adrenaline pumping.

One of the most unforgettable experiences I had was barreling down a hill on a sled at top speed, the icy wind rushing past my face.

But if high-speed sports aren't your thing, there's plenty of room for a leisurely snowball fight or building a snowman.

The point is, Serra da Estrela has something to offer everyone, whether you're an adrenaline junkie or a lover of cozy winter days.

  1. Exploration of the beautiful Covão dos Conchos:

Covão dos Conchos, a natural lake located high in the Serra da Estrela mountains, is an enchanting winter destination.

The lake, surrounded by snow-capped peaks, often appears as a scene straight out of a fairy tale. The hike to the lake can be a challenge, but it's well worth the effort.

With each step, you'll be treated to panoramic views of the snowy landscape, leading up to the serene, frozen lake. It's an experience that combines adventure, tranquility, and the beauty of nature in a unique way.

  1. A visit the Nearby City of Guarda:

Not far from the Serra da Estrela is the city of Guarda, the highest city in Portugal. Guarda occasionally gets its share of winter snow, creating a beautiful blend of cultural heritage and natural beauty.

Imagine walking through the city's ancient walls and stunning cathedral, all dusted with a layer of fresh, white snow. It feels like stepping back in time, into a place where history and the magic of winter converge.

  1. Hiking in Serra da Estrela:

If you're an outdoorsy person, Serra da Estrela offers numerous hiking trails that take you through its stunning, snowy landscape.

I remember bundling up in my warm clothes, lacing up my hiking boots, and setting off on an adventure across the snow-covered hills.

The views were just breathtaking, a sea of white stretching out as far as the eye could see. It's an experience that stays with you long after your footprints in the snow have disappeared.

  1. 4×4 Jeep Tour of Serra da Estrela:

A 4×4 jeep tour of the Serra da Estrela is a thrilling way to experience the snow-clad mountains. With a skilled driver at the helm, we navigated through narrow, winding trails and reached places that would have been impossible on foot.

It was an exhilarating ride, filled with stunning views of the snowy landscape, the frost-laden trees, and the winter sun shimmering on the snow.

So, the next time you're planning a winter getaway, don't overlook Portugal. With an array of activities, from the high-octane thrills of snow sports to the serene beauty of a snow-covered city, winter in Portugal offers an experience for everyone.

Who knows, you might find your new favorite winter activity right here in the sunny heart of Europe!

How much does it snow in Portugal

It snows between 30 to 50 centimeters in Portugal. Portugal isn't known for heavy snowfall like you'd see in Canada or Russia. But in certain regions, it does get a decent amount.

In the Serra da Estrela mountains, for example, you might see around 30 to 50 centimeters of snow in the winter. That's about knee-deep.

On the other hand, in the cities like Lisbon or Porto, snow is extremely rare. In my time there, I didn't see a single snowflake in the city.

Which months does it snow in Portugal

The snow season in Portugal typically kicks off in November and can last until May. But the most snowfall usually happens between December and February.

This is when you're most likely to experience the winter wonderland in the mountains.

Is December a good time to visit Portugal

Yes, December is a good time to visit Portugal. The weather is cool but not freezing, perfect for walking around and exploring.

Plus, the cities are beautifully decorated for Christmas. Imagine seeing Lisbon's streets twinkling with Christmas lights.

And if you're a snow lover, the mountains in December are often coated in a fresh layer of snow, great for winter sports.

What is the coldest month in Portugal

The coldest month in Portugal is usually January. The average temperature can dip down to about 8°C (46°F) in cities like Lisbon.

In the mountains, it can get much colder, with temperatures often dropping below freezing. Remember when I went hiking in the Serra da Estrela in January? I had to bundle up in multiple layers!

How to get around Portugal in winter

Getting around Portugal in the winter is pretty easy. The roads are well maintained, and public transport is efficient. Here's how you can get around

  1. Car: Renting a car is a good option. It gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace. Just be prepared for snow if you're heading to the mountains.

  2. Train: Portugal's train network is reliable and can get you to most places, including the only ski resort in Serra da Estrela.

  3. Bus: For smaller towns, buses are a good option. They are frequent and inexpensive.

Where to Stay in Portugal in Winter?

Portugal has many cozy accommodations for a winter stay. In Lisbon, I loved the boutique hotels in the city center, close to all the Christmas action.

If you're going skiing in Serra da Estrela, there are mountain lodges right next to the ski slopes.

For a more traditional experience, try a "quinta" - a Portuguese farmhouse. They often have fireplaces to keep you warm!

What Should I Pack for Winter in Portugal?

What to pack depends on where you're going. For the cities, you'll need:

  1. Warm clothes: Think sweaters, long pants, a light jacket.

  2. Comfortable shoes: You'll be doing lots of walking!

If you're heading to the mountains, pack:

  1. Winter gear: Heavy jackets, scarves, gloves, and hats.

  2. Waterproof boots: Good for snowy hikes.

  3. Ski gear: If you're planning to ski, bring your equipment. Though you can also rent it there.

Tips for Visiting Portugal in the Winter

Visiting Portugal in winter can be a wonderful experience if you keep these tips in mind:

  1. Check the weather: Weather can be unpredictable. Always check it before heading out.

  2. Try local winter foods: Portugal has delicious winter comfort foods. Try "caldo verde", a hearty green soup.

  3. Enjoy the festivities: December is a festive month in Portugal. Enjoy the Christmas markets and decorations.

  4. Be prepared for shorter days: Daylight hours are fewer in winter. Plan your day accordingly.

So, there you have it! Portugal in winter is a unique experience. Whether you're exploring snow-capped mountains or strolling through festively decorated streets, there's something for everyone.

Just pack right, plan well, and let Portugal's winter charm captivate you.


Does Portugal have 4 Seasons?

Yes, Portugal does experience all four seasons - spring, summer, autumn, and winter. However, the intensity of the seasons can vary.

Winters are generally mild in the cities but can get quite cold in the mountains with regular snowfall.

How Hot Does it Get in Portugal?

Portugal can get pretty hot in the summer, especially in the inland areas. In regions like Alentejo and Algarve, temperatures can even reach up to 40°C (104°F) in the peak of summer.

What are Winters like in Portugal?

Winters in Portugal can be quite mild, especially in the coastal areas. The average temperature often stays around 10-15°C (50-59°F). In the mountains, however, winters can be colder with regular snowfall.

Does it Snow in Lisbon Portugal?

Snow in Lisbon is extremely rare. The city has a mild climate, and it almost never gets cold enough for snow. However, if you are wondering what to wear in Lisbon at a given time of the year, check out the given blog.

Does it Snow in Porto Portugal?

Like Lisbon, snow in Porto is also very rare. While the city can get quite chilly in winter, it doesn't usually get cold enough for snow.

Does it Snow in Azores, Portugal?

Snow in Azores is almost unheard of. This group of islands has a subtropical climate, which means mild temperatures all year round.

Does it Snow in Algarve, Portugal?

Snow in Algarve is very rare. This southern region of Portugal is known for its warm climate, even in winter.

Does it snow in Faro, Portugal?

Faro, a city in the Algarve region, has a similar climate to the rest of the region. That means that snow in Faro is also very rare.

What is the Warmest Place in Portugal in Winter?

The Algarve region, particularly the coastal areas, are usually the warmest in winter. Temperatures there often stay around 15-18°C (59-64°F) even in the coldest months.

Where can I Ski and Snowboard in Portugal in Winter?

The best place to ski and snowboard in Portugal is in the Serra da Estrela mountains. They have a ski resort with multiple runs for different skill levels.

What Holidays are Celebrated in Portugal in Winter?

In winter, Portugal celebrates Christmas (December 25th) and New Year's Day (January 1st). There's also the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8th), which is a public holiday.

Portugal also celebrates Carnival, which often falls in late winter, with parades and festivities.

Reema Bharti

Reema Bharti

I am a globe-trotter with a passion for exploration. From the sun-kissed coasts of Portugal to the snow-capped peaks of Switzerland, my travels are as diverse as they are inspiring. My journeys through Spain, Finland, Austria, and Germany have fueled my soul and shaped my writing.