Portugal’s climate is influenced by both its position at the south-western tip of Europe and its proximity to the Atlantic and Mediterranean. This leads to what many would consider as an ideal climate, neither too hot nor too cold throughout the year. The average temperature in the north is approximately 15°C (55°F), whilst in the south it is a warmer 18°C (64°F). There is also higher rainfall in the northwest with the least in the southeast.
Portugal is defined as having a Mediterranean climate as a whole but there is some variation between regions. In general this means warm to hot, dry summers and mild to cool, wet winters. However, the latter only partly applies to Portugal with an average of 2500 to 3200 hours of sunshine a year. The Algarve gets the most sunshine in Europe.
Whilst snowfall is unheard of throughout most of Portugal it is common in the mountainous regions of the north. Portugal’s highest peak, Serra da Estrela, is home to a ski resort, the Vodafone Ski Resort.
The highest temperatures in Portugal tend to occur inland. The town of Amareleja is one of the hottest places in Europe during the summer with a high temperature of 47.4°C recorded. The highest average temperatures are found in the Algarve though.
The Azores and Madeira archipelagos both have subtropical climates. The average temperatures are around 20°C (68°F) and there is less variation around this. Given the wide spread of both island groups there is a wide variation in rainfall with lhas Desertas near Madeira being classified as desert whereas some of the Azores islands are lush and verdant year round.