Weather in the Algarve in May

Joanne Owen

written by
Joanne Owen

updated 07.06.2024

Lying just ahead of the summer high season, the weather in the Algarve in shoulder season May sees warmer temperatures draw more visitors, though it’s not nearly as busy as June, July and August. As a result, visiting this region of Portugal in May is recommended for sun-seekers who prefer moderate crowds, and like the sound of exploring the great outdoors before the sizzling heat of summer kicks in. Read on for detail on the weather in the Algarve in May, along with ideas for what to see and do.

Highlights of the Algarve weather in May

  • Shoulder season May sees a shift from spring to summer in the Algarve, with mild-to-warm conditions.
  • Average temperatures reach 22°C (72°F). 
  • May also sees a significant increase in daylight hours to around fourteen hours.
  • Rainfall in May is pretty low, averaging around 21mm through the month. For comparison, December — the wettest month — sees around 94mm of rain, while July and August experience under 5mm.

Planning to visit the Algarve in May? Take inspiration from our customisable Portugal itineraries and read our year-round travel guide.

Old town in Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal © Shutterstock

The weather in the Algarve in May is warming up — ideal for strolling the likes of Albufeira's Old Town © Shutterstock

Is May a good time to visit the Algarve?

For many, May is one of the best months to visit the Algarve. The combination of mild-to-warm temperatures, moderate rainfall and crowds, and pre-peak-season prices amounts to an alluring offering.

That’s especially the case if you’re hoping to enjoy outdoor activities — such as walking the coastline — or fancy taking scenic drives around the region.

Nature lovers will also be pleased to know that the landscape is particularly lush and green in May. And, with long daylight hours, you can rise early to enjoy the likes of hiking in the cooler mornings, with plenty of time to visit castles and museums in the afternoon.

In addition, while the sea in May is still on the cool side, beaches are less crowded, with average daytime air temperature highs of 22°C (72°F) being ideal for long strolls, or stretching out on the sand.

Lastly, May also plays host to a few notable festivals — read on for more on that subject.

Still undecided? Discover some of the best places to visit in May.

rocks-of-algarve-portugal-faro

Rocks of Algarve, Faro © Shutterstock

Average temperatures in the Algarve in May

The weather in the Algarve in May is characterised by an average low temperature of around 13°C (55°F), and an average high of around 22°C (72°F). 

While this makes the daytime comfortably warm — ideal for outdoor activities — you’ll need warmer clothes for the cooler mornings and evenings. 

As for the sea, temperatures start to warm up in May, reaching in the region of 17°C (63°F). While this is on the refreshing side, swimming is comfortable enough for those who don't mind cooler water.

For comparison, August has the warmest sea temperature, with a range of 21°C to 23°C (70°F to 73°F).

Want a fuller picture of the weather? Read up on the weather in Portugal in May beyond the Algarve.

You might also want more detail on how to get to Portugal and when to go to Portugal around the year.

 Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal © Shutterstock

 Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal © Shutterstock

What about the crowds and cost?

As May is a shoulder season month, you can expect an increase in visitors on the first quarter of the year. That said, numbers remain pretty moderate, especially in the first half of the month.

This amounts to the region having a lively vibe, without the overcrowding that the most popular areas see in the high season months of June, July and August.

Going hand in hand with moderate visitor numbers, you’re likely to find the cost of flights and accommodation is more moderate than during the peak summer season. 

That said, given all the advantages of visiting the Algarve in May — smaller crowds, warm weather and the potential to bag a bit of a bargain — you’d still do well to book as early as possible to secure your preferred resort, villa or guesthouse.

Editor’s tip: keen to avoid the crowds, and travel more responsibly? Discover where to get off the tourist trail in Portugal, and find out about sustainable tourism in the Algarve.

Local craft in Algarve, Portugal © Dre Roelandt

Local craft in the Algarve, Portugal © Dre Roelandt

Unforgettable customisable Portugal itineraries

If you fancy seeing a rewarding range of Portugal, consider taking a trip that’s been curated by a Rough Guides’ local expert.

Enabling you to forgo the faff of planning and booking, they can be 100% tailored to your preferences to create your perfect trip.

Here are a few sample itineraries to spark inspiration:

  • The Real Algarve Experience (7 days): based in the traditional fishing village of Olhao, this immersive trip will see you experience the Algarve in authentic style. With a focus on food and culture, you'll get to enjoy a private food tour, take a market-to-table cooking class, visit an olive farm, and enjoy a traditional sweet-making workshop. You’ll also spend time exploring the stunning islands of Ria Formosa lagoon.
  • The Best of Portugal (12 days): taking in capital Lisbon, historic Porto, the lush Douro Valley, and the Algarve, this gives you the chance to explore historic sites in Lisbon and Sintra and sample world-class wine in the Douro Valley, with boat trips, beaches and UNESCO Heritage Sites aplenty.
  • Discovering the Coast of Portugal (11 days): kicking off in picturesque Porto, where you’ll uncover historic sites and wineries, this diverse experience also includes Aveiro — known as the Venice of Portugal — the Algarve, national parks, charming traditional villages, and historic caves.

Explore more customisable Portugal itineraries.

vineyards-valley-river-douro-portugal-shutterstock_161189531

Book a customisable Rough Guides' trip to take you from the Douro Valley (pictured) to the Algarve © Shutterstock 

What to do and see in the Algarve in May

Combining glorious spring weather with a notable festival, May is a vibrant time to visit the Algarve.

Here are some of the best things to see and do in the Algarve in May.

Bliss out on less crowded beaches

While the sea temperature in the Algarve in May remains cool, it’s still a good month to visit for a quieter pre-summer breach break.

Try Praia da Marinha for its breath-taking cliffs and clear waters, or head to Praia de Odeceixe for a more secluded experience.

Editor’s tip: in the market for a May beach break? Read up on the most beautiful beaches in Portugal.

Experience the Festa das Cruzes

If you're near Barcelos in early May, don't miss this festival that marks the opening of the agricultural season with parades, music, and traditional dancing.

Offering a window into the history, traditions and customs of the Minho region, you’ll get to experience the city enlivened by fireworks, “zabumbas” (tambourines) and bagpipes, plus Philharmonic orchestras and drumming groups.

At the same time, the huge “Fair of the Crosses” (Feira das Cruzes) on the main public square sees sellers offering everything from fresh vegetables and local food, to handmade crafts.

Explore Ria Formosa Natural Park

May's weather is perfect for exploring this beautiful coastal lagoon system. 

Take a boat tour to see diverse bird species and the unique landscapes of this protected area.

Hike and bike

May’s mild temperatures and lush landscapes make it a great month for hiking or cycling. 

For example, the Via Algarviana and Rota Vicentina offer scenic trails that showcase the region's natural beauty.

Go golfing

Take advantage of the great weather and smaller crowds to enjoy some of the Algarve’s world-class golf courses.

With over thirty courses to choose from, you’ll be spoiled when it comes to finding one to fit your skills and preferences.

For more inspiration, read up on the best things to do in Portugal. And in case you're still looking for options for your spring trip, also explore our list of the best holiday destinations in May.

Fisherboats at the beach Natural Park Ria Formosa - Algarve - Portugal © Michael Schroeder/Shutterstock

Fishing boats in Ria Formosa Natural Park, Algarve, Portugal © Michael Schroeder/Shutterstock

Visit the Algarve in different months

To be better informed before booking your trip, find out what to expect of the weather in the Algarve around the year.

  • January: with a temperature range of 8°C to 16°C (46°F to 61°F), this is the coldest month of year, with low-season tourist levels.
  • Februarysimilar to January, but slightly warmer, February remains quiet, though the beginning of the Almond Blossom season attracts more visitors.
  • March: mild, with temperatures ranging from 10°C to 18°C (50°F to 64°F), March is a great month for outdoor activities without the crowds.
  • April: with a pleasant temperature range of 11°C to 20°C (52°F to 68°F), shoulder-season April sees more sun, less rain, and a rise in visitors around Easter.
  • June: with temperatures averaging 16°C to 25°C (61°F to 77°F), June is perfect for beach breaks and water sports, and heralds the start of peak season.
  • July: July sees the Algarve turn hot, with average highs of  28°C (82°F). It also sits in the summer high season.
  • August: peak season continues in August, with high visitor numbers, vibrant nightlife, and similar temperatures to July.
  • SeptemberSeptember remains warm, but temperatures start to cool, and visitor numbers begin to taper off as the month wears on.
  • October: with average daily highs remaining around 23°C (73°F), this shoulder-season month is ideal if you prefer cooler weather and smaller crowds.
  • November: sitting in low season, November sees cooler temperatures, and is a great time to visit for the likes of golf and exploring the countryside.
  • December: cool and quiet, low-season December offers average temperatures of 9°C to 17°C (48°F to 63°F).
Joanne Owen

written by
Joanne Owen

updated 07.06.2024

Joanne is a Pembrokeshire-born writer with a passion for the nature, cultures and histories of the Caribbean region, especially Dominica. Also passionate about inspiring a love of adventure in young people, she’s the author of several books for children and young adults, hosts international writing workshops, and has written articles on the Caribbean and inspirational community initiatives for Rough Guides. Follow her @JoanneOwen on Twitter and @joanneowenwrites on Instagram.

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