When we think about the Algarve we tend to think about the peak summer months, when the resorts are bustling and the beautiful Algarve beaches are packed to the rafters with happy holidaymakers. But in actual fact, some of the best months in the Algarve are the "out of season" months, when the crowds have lessened and all that the region has to offer can be enjoyed at a much more relaxed pace with better temperatures for sightseeing and activities.
The wonderful Mediterranean-like Algarve weather, which boasts over 300 days of sunshine a year, also makes the "out of season" months a great option for a winter sun holiday or short break and with plenty of cheap Faro flights for out of season travel, a trip to the Algarve can be areal bargain too!
Whether you are thinking about a winter sun holiday, getting away from it all at Christmas and New Year or simply grabbing a cheap late deal, here you can get to know the Algarve out of season months so you will know what to expect and what to pack!
Autumn in the Algarve
September and October are perhaps two of the best months to visit the Algarve - the temperatures hover around the mid to high 20's (in the shade) and often reach the mid 30's in the sun. There may be the odd shower or overcast day, but nothing to stop you getting out and about. T-shirt and shorts are still the order of the day; there is no need to queue for a table at your favourite restaurant; there's more room on the beaches and all the water sports are still available. If exploring the Algarve is more your thing - it's so much nicer weather for walking around.
By October, areas of countryside that looked a bit dry and dusty have started to 'green up' again and wild flowers have started to re-appear. It's also migration time for a lot of birds and there are plenty of places to watch them from.
Winter in the Algarve
November to December is the ideal time for a short winter break or even a long weekend to the Algarve, to unwind before all the rush of Christmas. The days, although they can go a little cooler, still tend to be between 17-20°C in the shade, of course feeling warmer in the sun. It is still often t-shirt and shorts weather with a jumper at the ready when the sun goes down, although if the wind comes from the north the temperature can drop quite drastically once night time comes (4° or 5°C on occasions!). It does rain from time to time, but it's rare for it to continue for even a full day - often it is just a very heavy downpour for 20 minutes or so and then the sun comes out and dries everything up before the next shower.
During these quieter winter months in the Algarve some of the restaurants and cafés will close for staff holidays and others may shorten their opening hours, but there are always plenty still to choose from. A benefit is that the staff are not so busy and will often enjoy telling visitors about their local area.
By now the wild flowers are starting to make the countryside look as if spring has come, and that is how it feels - spring like! It certainly makes you forget that Christmas is still to come! One reminder of the time of year is the smell of chestnuts roasting on roadside stalls across the Algarve - and the fact that the local Algarveans feel the cold and will all be dressed in their winter woollies, complete with boots and scarves! It does make it very easy to spot the 'incomers'!
Spring in the Algarve
January and February are traditionally perhaps the coolest months, although often January is warm enough to still enjoy the beaches. The evenings can go quite cool, and certainly Lagos (known locally as "the windy city") can have a very nippy breeze at times, particularly crossing over the marina bridge! By now the spring flowers are in full bloom, with new ones opening every day making the cliffs at Ponta da Piedade in Lagos, for example, a mass of colour. Obviously there are occasional rainy days and a few cloudy days but most days are blue skies and sunny and the temperatures are very pleasant (maybe 16°-18°C in the shade, but feeling in the mid 20's in the sun). A light sweatshirt or jumper is normally all that you will need during the day and a warmer jacket for evenings.
The weekend leading up to Shrove Tuesday is a huge date in the Algarve events calendar, because it's Carnival time! Carnival is usually in February and Loulé in central Algarve is the most well-known for its Brazilian style Mardi Gras, but many towns and villages have their own very colourful celebrations.
March and April in the Algarve are lovely months because all the spring flowers are out and everywhere is green and fresh. The temperatures are normally 20-25°C (feeling like high 20's to low 30's in the sun) and although there may still be a shower of rain, the norm is for blue skies and sun. It's great beach weather but also still good for getting out into the countryside and exploring. It's still quite quiet so is perfect for getting around without the hustle and bustle.
The out of season months in the Algarve are generally a great time to visit with young children as the climate is so much better for them than the very hot summer months.