Portugal Geography and Climate

Portugal is a country rich in history, beautiful resorts, many medieval towns and magnificent landscapes of olive groves, vineyards and wheat fields. Portugal is original and unusual, it is not like any other European country. Excursion trips are especially interesting here.

The country has several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which include the cities of Tomar and Sintra, the Belem Tower in Lisbon, the Church of Santa Clara in Coimbra. For a beach holiday, the southern region of the Algarve is most suitable, where the swimming season lasts from July to September. You can also relax in the Lisbon area, however, the water there is quite cool.

The best time for a beach holiday on the mainland of Portugal is from July to September, when the water temperature reaches +19…21 o. In general, the climate of Portugal is very favorable, and it can be visited at any time. It is interesting to visit the country in February, when the Carnival takes place.

The official language of Portugal is Portuguese. Spanish and English are also widely spoken.

Geography in Portugal

According to top-engineering-schools, Portugal is located in southwestern Europe, in the western part of the Iberian Peninsula. It also includes the Azores and the Madeira archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean. The Azores include 9 islands and are located 1500 km from Lisbon. The Madeira archipelago consists of the islands of Madeira, Porto Santo and the uninhabited Desertas and Selvagan. It is located in the Atlantic Ocean, 500 km from the African coast and 1000 km from the mainland. The area of the country, together with the islands, is 92,391 sq. km. In the east and north it borders on Spain, and in the east and south it is washed by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

North Portugal is occupied by the heavily dissected outskirts of the Meseta plateau. The prevailing heights in this area are 1000 – 1200 m, and the maximum is 1993 m (Mount Estrela in the Serra da Estrela ridge). Estrela is also the highest point of the mainland of the country. The southern and central parts are occupied by the Portuguese lowlands, hills and lowlands. In the east, the Portuguese lowland is bordered by a plateau, some parts of which reach 600-1000 m. The coast of the Atlantic Ocean is low and slightly dissected, the beaches are sandy. Madeira and Azores are archipelagos of volcanic origin. Their landscape is dominated by mountain terraces rising from the coast to the central regions of the islands. On the island of Pico, which belongs to the Azores archipelago, there is the highest point in all of Portugal – the Pico volcano (2351 m).

The river network of Portugal is dense. The largest rivers on its territory are the Douro (Duero), Tagus and Guadiana. In the mountains, rivers usually flow in narrow, deep valleys and fall steeply.

The most important protected area is the Peneda-Gerês National Park, located in the north. With the exception of the Serra da Estrela Natural Park, all other protected areas are located along the border with Spain (Serra di Montesinho, Malcata, San Mamedi) or on the coast (dune area near Aveiro, Serra di Sintra, Serradi Arabida, west coast from Cape Sines to Cape Sagrish, lagoons in the east of the Algarve). Wet areas (bird colonies, nesting sites) in the Sado river delta south of Setúbal, in the northern part of the Tagus delta, as well as the marshes of Castro Marin near the mouth of the Guadiana, are more strictly protected.

Climate in Portugal

Portugal belongs to the subtropical climate zone. The nature of the weather is determined by the influence of the Atlantic Ocean, which keeps the temperature in the country lower than at the same latitudes in the Mediterranean. The cold Canary Current also has a cooling effect. To a large extent, weather conditions are determined by relief.

Several climatic regions can be distinguished on the territory of the country: northwestern with abundant rains, mild winters and short summers; the northeast with longer, cold, snowy winters and hot summers, and the south with a deficit of precipitation, long hot, dry summers and mild winters. Every year in all areas of Portugal, snow can fall, but a stable snow cover is not formed.

The coldest month is January. Its average temperature varies from +3 in the northeast of the country to +11.9 in the south. At the same time, the characteristic temperatures for night and day are +0.5 and +8 for the northern regions and +8 and +16 for the southernmost.

The average monthly temperature of the hottest months, July and August, varies from north to south from +19 to +23.4. During these months, the daily temperature in all regions exceeds +24 degrees, reaching +28.8 in the south. At night, the thermometer drops to +10 in the north and up to +16..18 in the south.

Most of the precipitation falls during the cold season. In the mountains in the north, almost everywhere, more than 1000 mm of precipitation falls annually. Their greatest number is noted on the slopes of the Serra da Estrela, the top of which is covered with snow in November-May. On the plains of Central and Southern Portugal, the annual amount of precipitation is 400-800 mm, and along the southern coast in places it drops to 300 mm. The driest months are July and August.

Portugal is the country with the largest number of sunny days in Europe. In the southern regions, the number of sunny hours per year reaches 3000. The

swimming season on the west coast lasts only three months, but even during this period swimming is not for everyone – the water temperature is about +18. Water warms up more near the southern coast (up to +21), where the bulk of the resort towns are concentrated.

Best time to visit:
The best time for a beach holiday on the Portuguese mainland is from July to September, when the water temperature reaches +19… 21o. In general, the climate of Portugal is very favorable, and it can be visited at any time. It is interesting to visit the country in February, when the Carnival takes place.

Portugal Geography