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Portugal in December

Hello everyone,
My husband and I are planning a belated honeymoon at the beginning of December. We have 10-11 days of sightseeing and a rental car. Can we have help with places that are best to see at this time and places to avoid due to the winter season?
Thank you very much,
Chelsea

Posted by
3986 posts

You are unlikely to find any snow, but it is likely to be cool and wet. The Algarve is all about beaches and golf and neither of these are December activities. However, there is plenty in Portugal to keep you occupied.

If you look on the Trip Advisor Portugal forum, there are plenty of suggested itineraries. Lisbon, Porto, Evora, Coimbra, Tomar, Obidos and Guimaraes are some of the places that spring to mind. You don't need a car in Lisbon itself.

What are your interests?

Posted by
4 posts

We are both interested in history and nature. I can imagine us going to a few museums and cathedrals but not every one. There is a Christmas festival in Obidos- Vila Natal. Do you know if it's worth visiting?

Posted by
110 posts

Expect cool weather and rain in December. Dress warmly and do not expect to have central heating in most places. The south tends to be warmer, and the north will be colder. As mentioned earlier, a car is much more trouble than it is worth in Lisbon and Porto. Having said that, a car the best way to see the rural areas.
You will not see many travelers in Lisbon in December. In my opinion, this is an OK time to visit, but you need to dress for the chill. Not a good time to visit the gardens and beaches, but a good time to see many indoor attractions because there are fewer travelers.

Posted by
4 posts

I am having some nervousness about missing the Algarve. Can anyone reassure me that this is the best choice or redirect me to spend a few days in Lagos?

Posted by
16826 posts

I'm not the best person to comment on the Algarve, not being a beach person at all. I will just point out that it can be very, very windy on the coast, and wind + damp, chilly weather isn't a good combo. There are some rocky Algarve beaches that are picturesque to look at. For a short time. (Told you I wasn't a beach person.)

To me, the issue would be the length of time it takes to get to the Algarve and return. On a short trip, I wouldn't want to spend a minimum of 2 days going to a chilly beach. But it's your trip. Why not Google for pictures (not just pictures of the Algarve, also pictures of the places you'd end up skipping to fit in the Algarve). Ultimately, it's about what you think will make the nicest experience.

Posted by
916 posts

Last December (my first in Portugal) was really quite nice for the most part. If you live in a cold climate, it will seem quite warm (did to me), there were a lots of sunny days. I was quite amazed to see locals wearing coats, scarves, etc. when I had on a cotton cardigan! That said, there will likely be some rain.

I visited the Algarve in February and, again, had some rain but also some very sunny, quite warm days. But I was there for two weeks. If you are just going for a couple of days, it's pretty dicey. There are beaches, cliffs and picturesque coastal areas much closer to Lisbon.

Cascais and Sintra will be quite nice since there will be few tourists, and the Lisbon sites will be great unless it's rainy. With a car, you can visit Coimbra, Obidos, Alcobaca and Batalha relatively close to Lisbon without the long drive to the Algarve.

Posted by
3986 posts

The Algarve is all about the beaches and golf. December isn't beach weather and it maybe too windy then to play golf.

It is visited in the winter by lots of retired Northern Europeans who find the climate there warmer than their native countries. There will be hundreds of motor homes there full of pensioners. As it's your honeymoon, you will probably want something more vibrant, so stay further north.

You need more than 2 weeks in Portugal to make a trip to the Algarve make sense, as there is much to see there.

Evora would be one of my top places to visit after Lisbon.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you everyone! We have decided to visit Lisbon, Evora, Coimbra, Nazare and Porto. Any advice on what to do in these cities?