Portugal is one of the main European countries attracting most expats looking to move to a country with a pleasant, sunny and warm climate. Approximately one third of the area of the country meets all the requirements to appear in our ranking of the sunniest destinations in the world. This region includes the destinations south of Caldas da Rainha (including it) and features such well-known destinations as Lisbon, Lagos, Albufeira, and Faro.
The regions that don’t meet our requirements are all north of Caldas da Rainha. While Leiria and Figueira da Foz meet the temperature requirement of having at least 15 °C (59 °F) during the winter day, they don’t meet the requirement of fewer than 90 days of overcast weather a year. The further north we go, the colder is gets, with Porto having winters with months with temperatures that reach only 13 °C (55 °F) during the day.
The island regions of Portugal, Madeira and Azores, don’t meet the requirements because they get too many overcast days. Madeira features 96 days of overcast weather and Azores get 114 cloudy days. Both would satisfy the temperature requirements, though, so if you don’t mind cloudier weather, you can consider these destinations, too.
What Are the Sunniest Places in Portugal?
Let’s cover the warmest and sunniest destinations in Portugal in more detail, ranked by the number of overcast days, starting with the sunniest ones. All of these destinations feature relatively similar Mediterranean climate with warm to hot, dry summers and mild, wetter winters featuring up to about 10-11 overcast days during the cloudiest month. Please note that we will focus only on the major cities and towns.
|City||Clear days||Partly cloudy days||Overcast days|
|Vila Nova de Milfontes||112.5||190.6||62.5|
|Caldas da Rainha||67.8||221.7||76.1|
For simplicity, we can roughly divide the sunniest regions of Portugal into three.
Lisbon and Surrounding Cities
This area includes Lisbon and cities within about an hour from Lisbon to the north, including Caldas da Rainha, Peniche, and Santarém.
Lisbon is the sunniest capital city in Europe with the warmest winters on the continent among all capital cities. However, when taking into account all of the sunniest European destinations, with about 66 overcast days a year, Lisbon is one of the less sunny places. Don’t let it deter you, though—it’s still a sunny city, and if you’re looking for a global European city with great weather, Lisbon is a good choice.
In the summer, temperatures reach on average 32 °C (90 °F) during the day, while nights drop to cool 13-14 °C (55-57 °F). In the winter, average daily maximums reach 16-17 °C (61-63 °F) and nighttime temperatures drop to 6-7 °C (43-44 °F). You probably won’t be sunbathing in the winter, but you shouldn’t freeze, either.
The surrounding cities and towns all feature cloudier climate, with 74 cloudy days for the surfing mecca of Peniche, and up to 76 overcast days a year for Caldas da Rainha and Santarém.There’s also a very notable difference in the number of clear days—Lisbon gets twice as many clear days as the neighboring cities.
Nighttime winter temperatures in Peniche are slightly higher than in Lisbon, while daytime winter temperatures in Caldas da Rainha and Santarém are slightly lower than in the capital of Portugal. Summers are more moderate than in Lisbon, with average maximums reaching about 28-29 °C (82-84 °F).
South Central Portugal
This area includes smaller towns in the south central part of Portugal: Sines and Vila Nova de Milfontes. These destinations feature a climate similar to Lisbon with very similar temperatures and number of overcast days a year.
Both could be a good choice for a person who wants to be away from the more populated areas of Portugal, including the Lisbon area to the north, and the frequented by tourists coastal Algarve region to the south.
Southern Portugal (Algarve)
This area includes the most visited region of Portugal after Lisbon: the cities of Lagos, Portimão, Albufeira, and Faro. This is where most sun-starved tourists from colder European countries go to for beach vacation.
Southern Portugal is the sunniest area of the country, in the case of Faro and Albufeira getting noticeably more clear days than other Portuguese cities. While Lisbon gets 132 sunny days, Faro and Albufeira get 164. The number of overcast days doesn’t differ that much, with the sunniest destinations in Portugal getting about 61 cloudy days and the places from the bottom of the list getting 76.
Lagos, Portimão, and Albufeira feature summer daytime temperatures of up to 32 °C (90 °F) with noticeably warmer nights than Lisbon—16 °C (61 °F) compared to Lisbon’s 13-14 °C (55-57 °F), while winter temperatures are rougly the same. Faro is a little warmer during the winter and palpably hotter during the summer, with daytime temperatures going all the way to 32 °C (93 °F), which might be too much for those sensitive to heat (nights provide a respite with temperatues of about 17 °C (63 °F).
Quick Selection Guide
Looking for the sunniest, warmest weather? Choose Faro.
Want to live in a global city with great weather? Lisbon is a good choice.
Prefer a climate with milder summers and winters? Consider Peniche.
Want to live in a small Portuguese city or town with nice weather? Sines or Vila Nova de Milfontes might work for you.