If you’re visiting Portugal in January with kids, we have so many tips for you! While summer is often the preferred time to visit this sun-soaked destination, Portugal in January offers a distinct charm that shouldn’t be overlooked, especially for families with children.

There are many fun and interesting things to do in Winter that you will miss in the Summer months. From festive celebrations to mild weather and captivating cultural experiences, Portugal in January has something for the whole family to enjoy.

Visiting Portugal in January with Kids

Below are some things you should consider and ways to enjoy Portugal in January with your family. There are pros and cons to every season, so the ideal time to visit is really dependent on your preferences. 

Portugal Weather in January

Unlike the freezing cold in lots of other European countries (Northern Europe) in January, Portugal’s average weather in Winter is pretty mild, especially in Southern Portugal. January is actually the coldest month of the year in Portugal, but we’re talking temperatures around 10-15 degrees Celsius (50-59 degrees Fahrenheit) in most places, with an average high temperature is 17° (62° F). It’s comfy enough for families, and the best part? No need to pile on too many layers. This mild climate is a nice contrast to the heat of Summer. Plus, you’ll have the Winter sun to warm you up a little.

As far as the average rainfall in Portugal during January, below are some rough averages based on location. Just remember that actual weather conditions can vary. 

  • Lisbon and South Portugal: Lisbon and southern regions, including the Algarve, tend to have a milder and drier winter. On average, Lisbon can receive around 100 mm (3.9 inches) of rainfall during the month of January.
  • Porto and North Portugal: Northern regions, such as Porto, may experience slightly higher rainfall. Porto averages around 150 mm (5.9 inches) of rainfall in January.

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Peak, Shoulder, and Off Seasons in Portugal

The peak tourist season in Portugal typically occurs during the summer months, from June to August. During these months, there is a significant influx of tourists, both international and domestic, due to the warm and sunny weather. The summer season is particularly popular for beach resorts along the Algarve coast and other coastal areas.

Popular tourist attractions, resorts, and beaches can get crowded, and prices for accommodations and flights may be higher. It’s advisable to book accommodations and plan activities in advance if you’re visiting Portugal during the summer peak season. 

In contrast, the spring (April to May) and fall (September to October) months are considered shoulder seasons. These periods offer milder weather, fewer crowds, and potentially more affordable prices, making them attractive alternatives for those who prefer a more relaxed travel experience. 

January is generally considered an off-season, so traveling to Portugal could potentially be done at a more affordable price during this time. You can probably find a great deal by planning ahead and even booking last minute in an off-season. 

Things to Do

Festive Celebrations in Portugal in January

January is party time in Portugal, with the Christmas spirit still going strong and everyone getting hyped up for Carnival. Families can dive into the mix of traditional and modern celebrations of the holiday season, soaking in the local scene and soaking up the lively vibes. Decorated streets, special events, and markets turn up the festive magic for some quality family bonding.

Some Christmas markets might even extend into early January, especially in larger cities or tourist destinations where holiday celebrations may linger. In Lisbon, Porto, and other major cities, you might find a few markets or festive events continuing into the first week of January. These events may feature holiday decorations, seasonal treats, and traditional crafts. 

Cultural Exploration

Portugal is like a time capsule of history and culture, and January is the perfect time for families to dive into it without the summer crowds. Take your little explorers to all the popular sites like the Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon or the Castle of the Moors in Sintra for a trip through time. Museums and interactive exhibits make learning fun for the kiddos. All the many historical sites there are to choose from will probably require less waiting and potentially even lower prices because January isn’t even a shoulder season, more like an off-season. 

Learn more about castles in Sintra, Portugal here.

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Scenic Landscapes

The picturesque landscapes of Portugal are a year-round attraction, and January showcases the country’s natural beauty in a different light. From the breathtaking coastline to the rolling hills of the Douro Valley, families can embark on scenic drives, nature walks, or even coastal hikes on the beautiful hiking trails, taking in the serene beauty that Portugal offers in its winter attire. You’ll probably run into fewer people, which makes photographs so much better at these beautiful spots!

Culinary Adventures

Portugal is a foodie’s dream, and January is prime time for some comfort eats. Dive into classics like caldo verde (green soup), bacalhau à brás (salted cod), and pastéis de nata (custard tarts) to warm up those chilly evenings. Local markets are buzzing with fresh, seasonal goodies, giving the kiddos a taste of regional flavors.

If you’re looking for a laid-out itinerary for your trip to Portugal, check out ours:

If you’re a wine lover, be sure to check out our post about 5 Amazing Wineries in Porto, Portugal.

Practical Tips for Visiting Portugal in January 

The key to any successful family vacation is being prepared, especially when you’re traveling with kids. Every season brings different challenges, so just be sure to plan ahead and you’ll be good to go!

Pack Layers

While Portugal in January generally has mild weather, temperatures can vary. Pack layers, including sweaters and a light jacket, to ensure comfort during cooler evenings or if you venture into northern regions.

Comfortable Footwear

Bring comfortable shoes suitable for exploring historic sites, cities, and potentially wet or uneven terrain in outdoor areas.

Rain Gear

Be prepared for occasional rain, especially in the northern regions. Pack waterproof jackets and umbrellas to stay dry during any unexpected showers. Although the Winter season typically has a small number of rainy days.

Festive Clothing

January in Portugal continues the festive spirit. Consider packing some festive clothing for your kids, especially if you plan to participate in local celebrations or events.

Sun Protection

Although it’s winter, the sun can still be strong, especially in southern regions. Pack sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses for protection during outdoor activities.

Cultural Activities

Explore family-friendly cultural attractions like museums with interactive exhibits. January is a great time for cultural experiences with fewer crowds.

Plan for Festivals

Check local event calendars for festivals and events happening during your visit. Participating in local festivities can be a memorable experience for kids.

Comfortable Accommodations

Choose family-friendly accommodations with amenities suitable for kids. Many hotels and resorts offer family rooms or suites, and some may have indoor play areas.

Find your own accommodations in Portugal HERE

Transportation Considerations

If you plan to use public transportation, check for family-friendly options. Renting a car might be convenient for exploring more remote areas or natural attractions.

Book your Private Airport Transfers HERE

Enjoy Winter Cuisine

Embrace the winter culinary delights of Portugal. Introduce your kids to traditional comfort foods like caldo verde and pastéis de nata.

Check Opening Hours

Confirm the opening hours of attractions, restaurants, and markets, as some places may have adjusted schedules during the winter months.

Health Precautions

Pack any necessary medications and have a basic first aid kit. Also, be aware of healthcare facilities in the areas you plan to visit.

Plan Indoor and Outdoor Activities

Have a mix of indoor and outdoor activities in your itinerary to accommodate varying weather conditions. Museums, indoor play areas, and nature walks can be great options. Remember that daylight hours will be different on Winter days, so scheduling outdoor activities earlier in the day and indoor activities for the hours you’ll want to be in the warmest places is a good idea.

Find some of your Half Day and Full Day Activities HERE

Embrace Local Traditions

Introduce your kids to local traditions and customs, whether it’s trying regional foods or participating in cultural events. This can enhance their overall travel experience.

Our Portugal Travel Guides

Our Portugal travel guides will help you plan your trip and make sure you don’t miss any good stuff in this amazing country. Check them out here: