In Lisbon, you can expect daily highs of around the 60°F (15°C) mark and lows of 46°F (8°C)—still chilly enough for a sweater and coat. There’s an average of eight days of rain. Heading further north to Porto, highs hit averages of 51°F (11°C) and it’s wetter, with around 12 days of rain, so be sure to pack waterproofs and umbrellas.
The Algarve is a touch warmer, with an average of 55°F (13°C) and a maximum of 64°F (18°C). Days can be sunny and warm enough to get away with a T-shirt, but nights are still cool.
Crowds & Costs
February is one of the least crowded months to visit, with the chillier, more unpredictable climes and the likelihood of rain limiting the number of travelers. Major hotspots like Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve receive a mere fraction of the tourists. Low, off-season prices can be a great incentive to visit now, with rooms costing as little as 50% of what they would in the summer months. As a quick Internet search reveals, flights are much cheaper at this time of year, too.
The only flipside is that some of the resorts along the coast remain shut up for the season (reopening in spring), and the opening hours of sights and attractions in the cities are more limited (in smaller places, these are often only open from spring through fall).
Where to Go
Temperatures usually hit double figures in February, but by all means come prepared for spontaneous downpours (pack layers, waterproofs, and an umbrella, just in case). The further south you go—the Algarve, say—the milder and generally drier it gets.
It’s a beautiful time to head out on a road trip into the backcountry, as in regions like the vine-laced Douro Valley and the rural Trás-os-Montes, stretching east of Porto, and the hilly, agricultural hinterland of the Algarve in the south, the landscape is one mass of pink and white blossom with thousands of almond trees in full bloom.
February is equally a chilled-out month to tick off some of the trophy sights in the cities, especially in honeypots like Lisbon and Porto.
What to do
Thanks to the relatively cool weather, February is a fine month for embracing activities that are either crowded or more strenuous during the hotter months. Big winter swells make for some of the best waves in the Algarve (in Sagres, for instance) and on the west coast (Peniche and Ericeira). And this is a great time to hike a leg of the 186-mile (300 km) Via Algarviana trail, linking riverside Alcoutim to the wild, windswept, lighthouse-dotted headland of Cabo de São Vicente, Europe’s westernmost point.
This is also an appealingly calm month to visit cities (with the added bonus of carnival bringing a dash of festival fun to a trip). You won’t have to contend with lines and madding crowds at the major museums and attractions in Lisbon and Porto, which get rammed in summer. And when the sun does come out, you’ll have the medieval alleyways of their historic centers pretty much to yourself.
Carnival Portugal gets its groove on for pre-Lenten carnival celebrations. Lisbon goes wild with street parties, processions, and balls. But more impressive and famous still are the three-day carnival shenanigans in Loulé in the Algarve, a true visual feast of parades featuring giant caricatures of celebrities and politicians, flamboyant costumes and hip-wiggling samba dancers in the Brazilian style. It’s a blast.
Fantasporto International Film Festival Fantasy, horror, and sci-fi movies hit big screens at Porto’s annual two-week film fest. The event kicks off in the third week in February and runs through to the first week in March. The main venue is the Art Deco Rivoli Theatre.