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Travelling to Portugal in May? Here's what you need to know

Portugal is one of Europe’s best and most popular destinations that brings tourists back in their droves every year. If you’re travelling to Portugal in May, you should brush up on what’s going on in its cities, towns and beaches, and also on the latest entry requirements, to make sure your trip goes smoothly. Here’s what you need to know. 

With longer days, plenty of sunshine and temperatures climbing steadily higher, Portugal in May is a fantastic time to explore the coast, cities, vineyards and mountains of the country. Go now before the big crowds of summer begin to show up.

What are the latest entry requirements?

As of February 2022, anyone travelling to Portugal who is vaccinated and received their last dose between 14 and 270 days ago will be able to enter the country without showing proof of a negative Covid test. Children aged 11 and under do not need to take a test or show proof of vaccination or recovery to enter mainland Portugal and the Azores.

Anyone not fully vaccinated will still need to show proof of a negative Covid test taken before entry, unless they have proof of recovery from Covid infection within the last 180 days.

GET INSPIRED: Visit Portugal with Trafalgar on the Best of Portugal tour

Underrated European cities Porto-Portugal-Old-City-www.istockphoto.comgbphotoporto-portugal-old-city-gm472119842-63201205-SeanPavonePhoto

What will the weather be like? 

If you’re travelling to Portugal in May you’ll want to know what the weather is going to be like. The rainy days of Portugal in spring start to fizzle out in May and the weather starts to get hotter, with plenty of dry, sunny days to enjoy. In the north of the country, you can expect highs of 54°F (68°C), though some showers should still be expected. It’s balmier and drier as you move further south to Lisbon, where highs around this time can reach 72°F (22°C). Beach days get likelier in May as temperatures in the Algarve, in Portugal’s south, hit up to 72°F (25°C).

best beaches in portugal

Will it be crowded? 

Portugal is starting to look its best come the month of May as tourists and locals swap their jumpers for T-shirts and pack away their jackets. The crowds of Easter holidaymakers will have left by now, but you may want to avoid the final week of May as it’s school holiday time in Europe. Apart from this, you’ll find things still fairly quiet if you’re travelling to Portugal in May. You’ll also find many restaurants, cafes and bars will yet to have upped their prices to the levels of July and August. 

Related content: Why Portugal is one of the world’s friendliest countries

Cascais in Portugal

I’m travelling to Portugal in May… where should I go? 

May is a great time for exploring all over the country. For a culture fix, you could spend a few days sightseeing around the historic, tram-filled centres of capital Lisbon, riverside Porto and upbeat university city, Coimbra (come for the Queima das Fitas). Enjoy museums, antique stores, alfresco dining and plenty of pastel de nata, of course.

If you want to head off-the-beaten track, head east of Porto to the Douro, a beautiful wine region producing excellent port wines, with steep, terraced vineyards to stroll through and romantic quintas where you can spend the night. The rural Alentejo, further south, is an enticing alternative for a late-spring road trip, with whitewashed towns brimming with medieval history, and some of Portugal’s best food.

Related content: Fun facts about Portugal you never knew

What events are on in May? 

There is plenty to occupy your time if you’re planning on travelling to Portugal in May. From student parties to folk festivals and contemporary art events. Read on to find out more:

Queima das Fitas 

Held from the 1st-7th May in the medieval town of Coimbra, home to the country’s oldest university (dating to 1290), Queima das Fitas is a huge party to celebrate the end of the academic year. Expect to see parades, concerts and all-round fun in the streets if you’re travelling to Portugal at this time.

Festa das Cruzes

If you’re travelling to Portugal in early May, you may want to travel to the town of Barcelos, located in Minho about 100km north of Porto, where you can witness the celebrations of the ‘Festival of the Crosses’. Prepare yourself to see concerts, folk dancing, exhibitions, food, and craft markets come to life in one big street festival.

Festa do Mar 

An ode to the sea and celebrated on the first weekend of May, the Festa Do Mar festival brings colourfully decorated boats and floats to the west coast town of Nazaré, as well as parties that are an overwhelming treat to the senses – expect nothing but a feast of local food and drink.

Serralves em Festa

On the last weekend in May, Porto hosts its biggest contemporary arts festival, with exhibitions, concerts and theatre across the city. In its easy-to-reach location, this is a must for anyone travelling to Portugal this month.

Have you travelled to Portugal in May? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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