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The Algarve is by far one of Europe's most popular holiday destinations, and the Algarve's weather plays a major role in this. It's known for its abundant sunshine and settled conditions during the summer months. The Algarve weather guide shown below is for Albufeira.
Metric (°C / mm) | Imperial (°F / inches)
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In the summer Algarve weather is governed mainly by its proximity to the semi-permanent region of high pressure that sits over the eastern Atlantic, 2000 kilometres or so to the west, known as the Azores or Bermuda High. The presence of this high pressure system produces settled weather when, on a typical day, 11-12 hours of bright sunshine and light winds can be expected.
At the height of summer during July and August daytime temperatures generally hover just below 30°C falling to a pleasant 18°C overnight. Light west to north-westerly winds help to take some of the heat out of the days and the cool ocean waters also contribute.
In Albufeira the sea temperature is usually at its best a cool 22°C around the end of August and beginning of September, compared with 26°C in Majorca in the Mediterranean. The reason the sea is quite cold in the Algarve is because there is a cold ocean current flowing down the west coast of Portugal.
However at the same time the sun is fairly strong and normally shines for over 80% of daylight hours in July and August producing 11-12 hours of sunshine. The fact there is little if any rainfall in summer adds much to Algarve weather being just about ideal for perfect summer holidays. The only rain that does occur is when the odd thunderstorm rumbles in.
By the end of September air temperatures have started to cool and daylight hours diminish. But the short autumn is also one of the best times of year to visit the Algarve. The holiday crowds have disappeared and the sea is still almost as warm as it ever gets. Temperatures have dropped, so a walk in the country or round of golf is less of a sweaty affair, and you can still expect 7 to 9 hours of sunshine a day.
In November winter arrives and daytime temperatures usually won't rise above 20°C; this is also the time of year when there is likely to be rain. November and December tend to be the wettest months but even during this time most days are rain free and throughout the winter more than half of daylight hours are sunny on average. Ground-frosts can occur on rare occasions but the proximity of the now (in winter) relatively warm Atlantic Ocean helps to prevent temperatures falling too far.
Winds in winter tend to blow more from the east than the west while in summer the opposite is true. Spring is also the time of year when winds are at their strongest and the protection offered by the Azores High is at its weakest. Consequently low pressure systems can creep in from the Atlantic occasionally bringing winter storms with them.
From December to the beginning of March temperatures during the day usually peak in the mid teens Celsius with 5-6 hours of sunshine on average. During March rainfall becomes noticeably less, the days become warmer and, as they lengthen, sunshine hours increase. Eventually by May and June there are 10 to 11 hours of sunshine per day and temperatures start pushing towards the mid twenties Celsius again.
Overall the 160 kilometres of south-facing coastline that makes up the Algarve has one of the best climates of anywhere in mainland Europe. During all months of the year there is plenty of sunshine. In summer the Atlantic Ocean helps moderate temperatures, while in winter its southerly position and the ocean prevent Algarve weather from becoming too cold.
What to Pack for the Algarve
From the middle of May to the middle of October light clothing is all that is required, but from November to the end of March warmer layers are essential, including a raincoat for the odd days when it can be wet.
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Algarve weather by month
Check the weather in the Algarve for a particular month by selecting from the list below.
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