March in Portugal: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

Houses on a hill in Lisbon, Portugal
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Portugal has mild temperatures year-round, especially in comparison to the rest of most of Europe. While March is wetter and cooler than the summer, rain levels tend to decrease as spring emerges. This change in weather can present a golden opportunity to miss the crowds and high prices of the warmer months and visit Portugal for some much-needed sunshine.

Portugal Weather in March

Portugal may seem like a small country, but the weather in March can vary depending on which region or city you are visiting. In the capital of Lisbon, rain levels drop off in March, with a monthly average of 2 inches, and temperatures are mild, making for decent weather to sightsee while not dealing with hoards of people. The average high temperature in Lisbon is 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius) and the average low temperature is 50 degrees F (10 degrees Celsius).

Porto and northern Portugal are wetter than Lisbon, but the rain levels decrease as summer approaches to a monthly average of 3.5 inches. The temperatures are mild and the crowds are low. The average high temperature in Porto is 62 degrees Fahrenheit (17 degrees Celsius) and the average low temperature is 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius). The Douro Valley is located near Porto, and like a lot of semi-rural Portugal, it is known for its incredible wines. As for the weather, temperatures will hover around a temperate 53 degrees Fahrenheit (12 degrees Celsius), so bring a light jacket.

Portugal's southern coast, the Algarve, has some of the warmest and driest conditions year-round. Temperatures are comfortable, though you won't be able to swim in the ocean. But you will have more of the beach to yourself as the tourists have not arrived yet. The average high temperature in the Algarve is 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius) and the average low temperature is 48 degrees Fahrenheit (9 degrees Celsius).

What to Pack

Although the weather varies depending on where you're visiting in Portugal, on average the temperature will hover at around 57 degrees Fahrenheit (14 degrees Celsius) with the possibility of light showers. With that in mind, you'll want to bring jeans or long pants, a light jacket, and an umbrella or raincoat, if you see rain in the forecast. Sweaters and scarves are nice to layer for the evening when it gets chillier after the sun goes down. If you visit the beach, it may be too cold for swimming so a swimsuit is only a good idea if your accommodation has a hot tub.

March Events in Portugal

There's not much going on in March, but if you are looking for something special these few events might be worth attending. In 2021, some events may be canceled or postponed so be sure to check the official organizer's website for the latest details.

  • FantasPorto International Film Festival: In Porto, this annual festival celebrates fantasy, science-fiction, and horror films, and since its first run in 1981 has recognized genre classics like Pan's Labyrinth and Se7en.
  • Obidos International Chocolate Festival: The city of Obidos is an hour's drive north of Lisbon and every year they celebrate chocolate with chocolatiers and edible sculptures. The festival was changed to a virtual celebration in 2021.
  • Lisbon Half Marathon: The half marathon is a big event in the Portuguese capital, giving participants the rare opportunity to run over the iconic 25 de Abril Bridge. Normally held in March, the 2021 marathon was postponed to May 9, 2021.
  • Feira de Março: Every year the city of Aveiro puts on their March Fair, a live music festival. The 2021 event was canceled.

March Travel Tips

  • March is still considered shoulder season, so this is a great time to score some lower rates on flights and hotels, particularly in the coastal resorts which are just beginning their seasons.
  • For big wave surfers, winter is the best season to ride the massive waves that break along the coast. March falls around the end of this season, so if you want to see someone take on Nazare, don't wait.
  • Portugal will turn the clocks forward by one hour for Daylight Saving Time on March 28, 2021.
  • April and May are generally considered the best time to visit Portugal's wine region, the Douro valley, but a trip in late March is close enough. As long as the weather is warm enough, you can have a really nice time walking through the vineyards and learn about the process of making port wine.
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