Spring Into The Sunshine: Why You Should Visit Portugal In March

March is a great time to visit Portugal; you will be ahead of the crowds but still able to enjoy the start of the warmer weather.

With the arrival of spring come sunnier days, less rain and slowly rising temperatures and with Portugal having around 300 days of sunshine per year, you’re sure to be lucky on your visit.

Below you can find out what’s happening all over the country around this time of the year.

Weather in March in Portugal

Portugal is the westernmost country in mainland Europe and has excellent weather throughout the country in March.

portugal march

Depending on where you visit in Portugal you will see some differences in the weather, in the south, in the Algarve region the climate is warmed by the Gulf Stream, inland temperatures are typically higher than coastal areas which are cooled by ocean breezes.

Portugal’s islands have different climates again, with Madeira, which sits off the northwest coast of Africa having a subtropical climate and the Azores islands in the mid-Atlantic being temperate all year round.

Lisbon is in the central region and gives a good sense of the average climate of mainland Portugal. The average high in March in Lisbon is 19ºC, and you should expect around six hours of sunshine a day.

Although there are 12 hours of daylight in Portugal in March, you may find it chilly when the sun goes down at around 6.30 pm, so it’s best to bring long sleeves or a jacket for the evening as the coastal breeze can make it feel a few degrees cooler than it is.

Learn all about the weather in Portugal by clicking on this link.

Daylight saving time in March

Portugal is also one of the countries which currently has Daylight Saving Time (DST) to have a little more sun in the summer. The time changes from DST to GMT in October and changes back at the end of March. If you are visiting Portugal at the end of March, you may notice that your evening seems longer.

March events in Lisbon

  • Visit A Monstra Festival, a film festival in Lisbon where animated film crosses over with other forms of film and media. The idea behind the festival is to share and discuss and present new ideas and approaches to animated films.
    • There is a competitive section that includes categories such as Feature Films, Student Short Films, and Short Films for Children and Youth. The goal of the Monstra Festival is to show off the best in animation from all over the world, particularly the featured country, and in 2020 will run from 18-29 March.
    • The featured country will be ‘The World’ in honour of the 20th anniversary of the festival and in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations the theme in 2020 is ‘Peace.’
  • Futurália, the exhibition for youth, education, and employment also happens in Portugal in March. It is an outstanding education and training event for students in Lisbon and allows young people to chat with experts in a variety of fields to make the best decisions about future careers and opportunities. Fúturália takes place on four from 25 – 28. March 2020.
  • The Feira Internacional de Turismo de Lisboa or International Tourism Show also takes place in March. There will be 800 exhibitors all there, and the event is a chance for Portuguese and International tourist agencies to meet and exhibit what’s new in their particular area or country.

Planning to visit Lisbon in March? The Lisbon Card is the perfect way to get around the city and enter many museums for free.

March in Aveiro

Aveiro is also worth highlighting in March and it’s really worth a visit around this time thanks to the popular Feira de Março.

The Feira de Março is the big event in the town of Aveiro; it’s all about getting together and enjoying the best that the season has to offer. The town hosts a 2-day party for all ages and puts on games and fun things for children and families to enjoy.

There is a food court where you can enjoy gastronomic specialities of the region and a music festival so that you can enjoy welcoming spring with various pop, rock, and traditional musicians.

Visiting Aveiro from Porto? Don’t miss the opportunity to sail the river in a moliceiro (traditional boat). Details here.

Almond Blossom festival

almond blossom festival

The Feira da Amendoeira em Flor or Festival of Almond Blossom is held in March in the Carviçais region, in the Bragança district, in the north of Portugal.

The festival is held over a weekend and really shows off what this part of the country has to offer. You can enjoy delicious food typical of the region including bread, cheeses, and olive oil, then move on to the sweet treats of jams and jars of honey washed down by a glass of excellent local wine.

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Seasonal specialities

As the Almond Blossom festival demonstrates, March is a great time to indulge in Portuguese produce which is just coming into the season.

In March we still see oranges, lemons, and pears from local orchards in the shops. At the end of March into April, you may even spot some of the first strawberries for sale.

It’s easy to buy fresh fruit and vegetables all over Portugal, and going into an open Mercado (market) or a small mercearia (neighbourhood shop) to buy products is the perfect way to practice a little Portuguese with the locals and get to know the country, through its delicious food.

Time to enjoy fresh food

portuguese seafood

Although winter doesn’t last long in Portugal, the appearance of the spring sun seems to bring everyone out to enjoy it. If you are near the coast at the weekend, then join everyone else in an indulgent seafood feast.

There is a Portuguese saying that holds that seafood is at its best and freshest in the months that have an ‘r’ so take advantage in March. All along the coast, north to south, you’ll find restaurants serving the freshest seafood dishes you can imagine.

Vineyard tours

March is also the perfect time to make a visit to the Alentejo before the heat of summer really hits. Check out one of the many vineyards and enjoy finding out about the process of making the wine followed by sampling a few of the vintages outside in the dappled shade of a cork tree.

Where to stay in Portugal in March

There are plenty of well-located characterful hotels in Portugal for a range of budgets. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

Where to stay in Aveiro

hotel aveiro palace

The Aveiro Palace Hotel, dating from 1937 was recently renovated and boasts one of the best locations in the city. Situated in the centre of the town overlooking the Central Canal you can take in the view of the picturesque Moliceiros boats. Near to a variety of bars and restaurants, this is a great place to stay in Aveiro if you prefer to be close to the action.

For availability and prices check here.

Where to stay in the Alentejo

zmar eco experience

Try out glamping Portuguese style in a cabin at the gorgeous Zmar Eco Experience. Set just back from the Alentejo coastline this resort boasts a beautiful outdoor pool, a petting farm for children and an excellent restaurant.

For prices and availability check here.

Where to stay in the Douro Region

Quinta da Terrincha

quinta da terrincha

In the upper Douro region to the north of Portugal, this is the perfect place to get away from it all. Set in 300/acres of vineyard, it boasts an outdoor pool, and a cocktail bar and guests are welcome to explore the garden and grounds on foot or by bike.

For availability and prices check here.

Where to stay in Lisbon

Hotel White

hotel white lisboa

This hotel in Lisbon is reasonably priced and very comfortable, you’ll be glad of the rooftop pool to cool down after a day of taking in the sights if it’s a warm spring. This hotel is also conveniently located near the Saldanha metro station so you will be able to get around the city easily.

For availability and prices check here.

H10 Duque de Loulé

h10 duque de loule

This is a gem of a hotel tucked away just off the Avenida De Libertadores in central Lisbon. The staff are excellent, and the rooms comfortable, but the cherry on the cake is the rooftop terrace with fabulous views of the whole city.

For availability and prices check here.

Are there any bank holidays in March?

There are not any national holidays in March in 2020, but this can change depending on when Easter falls in other years.

Should you visit Portugal in March?

Portugal has something to offer during every season, but spring is something special here, the country blooms and everyone is keen to enjoy the warmer days. March is a great time to visit to enjoy a little sun and to arrive before the summer crowds.