Top 8 Things To Do In Portugal In October
If you stumbled upon this article, I assume you are looking for places to visit in October for your vacation. Well, congratulations, I think you have found the country. Portugal is really one of the best countries you can visit in October. There are a couple of reasons for it. This article will convince you that visiting Portugal in October can be your perfect pick for the upcoming vacation.
Besides, I’ll give you the top things you should definitely do when visiting Portugal in October.
So let’s dive in and plan your vacation together.
Reasons To Visit Portugal In October
There are so many reasons why you should visit Portugal in October that we might even conclude that it’s the best month to visit the country overall. Here is why:
- fewer tourist crowds
- best prices & deals
- mild temperature
- best opportunities for surfers
- unique scenery
- wine grapes harvest in Douro Valley
Fewer Tourist Crowds
As summer ends, youth returns to school here in Europe, and adults start working again. And Portugal, like many other European countries, is left empty. October is not the high tourism season for Portugal, yet still, one of the best times to visit. It’s also thanks to the fewer tourist crowds. So you get to enjoy the places better and soak up the country’s unique atmosphere.
Best Prices & Deals
The prices are also decreasing significantly, thanks to the end of the high season. Usually, locals still try to attract some visitors, yet it is harder than during the summer season. That’s the reason why prices are lower. So you can enjoy Portugal in October, the best month, with some great deals.
If you are not the biggest fan of the heat, October is generally the best month to visit southern Europe. Temperatures are not super high, yet it is still comfortable and warm. For example, it can get up to 23°C during the day in Portugal. Nights are a little chilly, around 15°C, which is still pretty warm. So you can enjoy warm weather, while it’s already getting pretty cold in other parts of Europe (Central and North).
Best Opportunities For Surfers
Portugal in October also offers the best opportunity for surfing enthusiasts. The waves are the best in October and some of the biggest. So if you are a beginner, I don’t really recommend sticking only to surfing when visiting Portugal in October. But if you seek more adrenaline, this is the month for you to visit the country. Scroll below to find out the best beaches for surfing in Portugal.
As autumn turns in, the landscape changes colours, grapes are ready to be harvested, and everything looks more magical. Doing a train ride across the country can be one of the trip ideas for your visit.
Wine Grapes Harvest In Douro Valley
Lastly, Portugal is famous for its delicious dessert (sweet) wine. Among other wines, Porto is what you come here for. One of the activities that have to be on your Portugal bucket list is visiting the wine cellars, tasting wine, and making a day trip to the Douro Valley, where the grapes are grown.
October creates one of the , and it’s the month of grape harvesting. This creates a unique trip from Porto to the Douro Valley and experiences it in real.
Top 8 Things To Do In Portugal In October
Portugal attracts visitors all year round with many things to do. However, there are some highlights I want to point out to you. These have also been exceptional places for me when visiting Portugal. So I’ve picked 8 of them.
- Visit Fátima & Fátima Festival
- Hop On The Camino de Santiago
- Go Surfing & Enjoy Giant Waves
- Experience Grape Harvesting In The Douro Valley
- Explore Algarve & Its Rock Formations
- See Faro & Natural Parks
- Spend A Day In Sintra National Park
- Get Lost In Historical Towns
Each is different and has its own purpose. So whether you’re a history lover, a religious traveler, looking for a beach vacation, adrenaline, and stunning places, you’ll find some spot to visit.
Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is a city to be visited at any time, so I haven’t included it on this list. But make sure to see the city at some point, too.
1. Visit Fátima & Fátima Festival
Fátima is one of the most popular places to visit in Portugal. It’s a famous pilgrimage destination in Europe with a very special atmosphere. Even if you are not religious, it’s well worth visiting.
Fátima has been known for the apparitions of the Virgin Mary to the three local children. She tried to spread a message about Jesus across the world by talking to them. And October is a very special month to visit the place thanks to the Fátima Festival. The first apparition happened on the 13th of October, 1917, and ever since, Virgin Mary has been honored here with the celebrations.
Experience the unique atmosphere of Fátima and its festival. Visit the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima, and sit for a good coffee with a local croissant to take it all in.
2. Hop On The Camino de Santiago
Speaking about pilgrimages, Portugal is also one of the countries hosting the so-called Camino de Santiago, the pilgrim’s way to Santiago de Compostela. The original journey runs through Spain. However, there is Camino Portuguese that you can do. It’s, indeed, one of the most beautiful pilgrimages in Europe.
Camino Portugal starts in the city of Porto, the northern part of Portugal. It follows a coastal way, stopping at some of the most charming towns with stunning views and unique cultures. You’ll also walk through the most stunning beaches in Portugal, including the incredible 18-km long Praia da Amorosa.
In the end, you can be excited to watch thousands of kite-surfers trying to catch the wind. It then comes to the small town of Caminha, bordering Spain.
The Camino Portuguese takes about 14 days, and October is the best month to complete it. It’s not so hot anymore and way less crowded, which makes up for a perfect pilgrimage.
3. Go Surfing & Enjoy Giant Waves
Portugal is generally well-known for the best surfing spots. October is one of the best months of the year for surfers since the waves get much bigger.
If you are looking for some adventure on a surf, check out the following great beaches in Portugal:
- Praia do Norte – gigantic waves
- Praia do Amado – good also for beginners
- Praia do Cabedelo
- Around Ericeria Village (Foz do Lizandro, Coxos, Pedra Branca)
- Praia de Carcavelos
- Guincho, Cascais – good also for beginners
- Praia da Amorosa – kite-surfing paradise
4. Experience Grape Harvesting In The Douro Valley
Portugal is mainly famous thanks to its delicious sweet wine. It originates in the Douro Valley, close to Porto city. Not only is Portugal in October very colorful and picturesque, but you’ll also experience grape harvesting and wine production.
Learn how locals make this special wine directly on the spot, drink some samples of it, and taste local products. After, hop on a boat that’ll take you back to Porto. It’s a perfect day trip from Porto, and October brings a unique experience with it.
Porto also deserves special attention. It’s one of my favorite cities in Portugal. Stroll through the small streets of the old town, enjoy delicious food, and hang out in the Ribeira district in the evening. For more information about things to do in Porto, check out the first two days of my Portugal road trip itinerary.
5. Explore Algarve & Its Rock Formations
Algarve is beautiful all year round. So if you are visiting Portugal in October, this part of the country shouldn’t be missing on your itinerary either. Algarve is the main destination for beach lovers, those seeking to relax, good food, and great hotels for a vacation. So you can imagine, in the summertime, it’s very crowded.
October offers a unique opportunity to experience it almost empty yet still charming. Wake up to a calm morning, go for a walk or a run on the beach. Enjoy great food and relax. In the evening, stare at the beautiful sunset and enjoy a glass of wine on the southern coast of Portugal.
You can even swim in the sea, which usually has mild temperatures at this time of the year. So enjoy a late beach vacation in Portugal, even in October, if you can’t make it earlier.
I highly recommend visiting the following locations in Algarve:
- Carvoeiro – Algar Seco walk
- Praia da Marinha
- Algar de Benagil
- Armacao de Pera
For more inspiration on what to visit in Algarve, get my Portugal road trip itinerary for 10 days.
6. See Faro & Natural Parks
While visiting Algarve, you have to make it to Faro, too. As the capital of the Algarve, it has a lot to offer. It belongs to the popular destinations for a visit in Portugal. Start your day on a local ‘Mercado’ with fresh coffee and experience how locals shop for their goods. Then, see fresh fish and bread, and get yourself a delicious croissant. After, go on a walking tour of the old town, visit the Sé Cathedral, and learn about the history.
Another day, you can do a day trip to the natural parks Ria Formosa. Take a boat from Faro, go bird watching, see aqua birds, and stop on local beaches for the afternoon.
7. Spend A Day In Sintra National Park
Sintra can sound like a cliche, but it’s a must-see, too. It used to play an important political role in the country during the monarchy. The town is also considered a romantic town, thanks to its charming castles. Unfortunately, they get very crowded in summer, so we’re back with the reason why you should visit Portugal in October. Sintra will be more enjoyable.
You can take a train from Lisbon, only about 45 minutes. After, do a castle tour, visiting the following:
- Pena National Palace
- Castle of the Moors
- Quinta da Regaleira
- Sintra National Palace
Then spend some time in the center, shopping for souvenirs, or just wander around and soak up the atmosphere. You’ll have the entire place for yourself, so you’ll feel like a monarch.
8. Get Lost In Historical Towns
If you’re a history lover, there are 3 Portuguese cities that you can’t miss during your visit. They are all reachable from Porto, so you can make it as a day trip. Or make it a 3-day itinerary around Porto, seeing all the three cities.
The first one is Guimarães, known as the birthplace of Portugal. This is where Alfonso I., the first King of Portugal, was born back in the 12th century. It became the place from where he ruled the country. You can visit its castle, stroll through its cobblestone streets, and drink coffee while people-watching.
The second city you shouldn’t miss is Braga. Located only 25km from Guimarães (a 24min drive), you can visit both in one day. Braga is one of the most impressive cities in the country, competing with Porto and Lisbon. It has young vibes, the oldest cathedral in Portugal, and many shops, cafes, and restaurants.
Another popular spot is the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte, just outside the city. Climb the stairs for the stunning view of the region, as it’s built on the top of a hill, surrounded by gardens.
Viana do Castelo
The third historical city on the list is Viana do Castelo. This place is special thanks to its charming Basilica Santa Luzia, also built on the top of the hill. You can either climb the thousands of steps or take a funicular up to the top. The views are spectacular.
Then explore the ship of Gil Ennanes, which used to serve as a hospital in the past.
Finally, don’t forget to try the local specialty ‘Bola,’ which is basically a huge donut stuffed with cream or chocolate. So delicious.
More Tips For European Travel
These are the top 8 things you should visit in Portugal in October. As you can see, Portugal is the perfect country to choose for your vacation in October. I hope those reasons I mentioned at the beginning of this article have convinced you.
If you want to see all the highlights of Portugal, take my Portugal road trip itinerary for 10 days. It’ll guide you through most of the places on this list and save your time planning. You can just grab it and follow it each day. No need to plan many hours before.
Portugal will surprise you in many ways. For me, the highlights have been wine tasting in Porto and the Douro Valley visit, Viana do Castelo, Sintra with Lisbon, and the entire Algarve region with its stunning rock formations (especially the Carvoeiro coastal walk).