Warm weather continues well into September, but the red-hot days of the high summer season are gone, and with them the majority of the crowds.
Porto in the north of the country is seeing pleasant highs now of around 75°F (24°C), though the rains are starting to slowly return, with up to five wet days in the month. Temperatures in Lisbon and the Algarve are a shade warmer, reaching up to 79°F (26°C), so ideal for exploring or just hitting the beach. While the days are still balmy, evenings get cooler as the month progresses, so consider packing a sweater.
Crowds & Costs
School vacation is over in Europe as of early September, which means that the cost of flights and hotels begin to plummet as the shoulder season kicks in. You can pick up some good deals in coastal resorts at this time of year, especially if you visit in late September when things get quieter still.
While the cities are still fairly lively, receiving a steady flow of travelers, they are certainly far less crowded than in July or August, and the lack of lines makes it more pleasurable to visit the big-hitter attractions.
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Where to Go
If you want to head to the beach to catch the final lingering rays of summer and swim in the Atlantic, September is your last chance before the temperatures drop and the fall rains slowly start to arrive. It's pretty hot and dry in the Algarve, where the season is still in full swing (though resorts are notably less crowded than in August). The first proper swells make this also a great month for surfing in west-coast resorts like Peniche and Ericeira.
Things are starting to ease up a little in big cities like Lisbon and Porto, especially towards the end of the month, and the slight dip in temperature and thinning of crowds comes as a welcome relief.
Rural regions such as the beautiful, vine-draped Douro Valley, reaching east of Porto, and the Alentejo further south, are now really coming into their own with fall colors, farm stays, and long country walks.
What to Do
September is the ideal month for a city break in many ways, with plazas and street cafes still thrumming with life. Days are still long, and slightly cooler temperatures make exploring on foot far more pleasurable. Summer opening hours are still in operation at major attractions and Unesco World Heritage sites, but visitor numbers are steadily beginning to drop.
The steeply terraced and thrillingly beautiful Douro Valley is at its photogenic best right now, with fall colors lighting up the hillsides, forests, and vineyards in shades of russet and gold, and seasonal flavors and new wine on menus. It's a wonderful time to spend a few nights at a farm stay, with walks, guided tours and wine tastings to enjoy. Grapes hang heavy on the vines, and at some quintas (wineries) you can even join in with the harvest.
The Alentejo is delightful in September, too, with mists rising to reveal a tapestry of vibrantly colored woods, vines, and olive groves. It's a great month for indulging in some leisurely walking or cycling here. And if you're into your food, game dishes, wild mushrooms and chestnuts pop up on regional menus at this time of year.
Nossa Senhora da Nazaré Paying tribute to Our Lady, the Estremadura coastal resort of Nazaré hosts a pilgrimage, mass in its sanctuary and a religious parade on September 8. But it doesn't stop there: the festivities continue with parades, parties, folk dancing, bullfighting, and fairs until late September.
Feiras Novas Pretty, riverside Ponte de Lima in the Minho pulls out all the stops for this festival early September, which has been going strong since 1125 and shows no signs of waning. For six days the town is transformed into one giant street party, with folk music, dancing, feasting fairs, and fireworks.
Festa de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios Should you happen to be touring the Douro wine country in early September, try to time your trip to coincide with this festival in Lamego (thousands do). Besides religious pilgrimages, processions, torchlit parades, and flower battles, you'll find exhibitions, concerts, parties, dancing and all-round merrymaking in the mix.