Why the offseason might be the best time to visit Portugal

Visitors arrive with their surfboards for a surf lesson at Foz do Lizandro beach in Ericeira on November 5, 2017.
Visitors arrive with their surfboards for a surf lesson at Foz do Lizandro beach in Ericeira on November 5, 2017. –PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/ Getty Images

Summer may be Portugal’s peak tourist season, but more travelers from the United States are heading there this fall and winter than they have in recent years. The travel search engine Kayak has seen searches to Lisbon for this fall increase 46 percent compared with last fall, and according to American Express Travel’s internal booking data, trips to Portugal for travel between this September and December are up 81 percent compared with the same period last year.

“The fall and winter are an excellent time to explore Portugal because temperatures are mild, and there’s fantastic value to be found on airfare, hotels and tours,” said Tom Stein, the vice president of American Express Travel.


Here are a few options:

Friendly Planet Travel is offering an 11-day Best of Portugal small group tour, which takes travelers through six cities and includes several activities like a port tasting in Porto, a tour of the ancient ruins of Conímbriga and a tile painting workshop in Lisbon. Scheduled dates are available through 2018; prices start at $2,999 a person, inclusive of round-trip airfare to Lisbon Portela Airport from Newark Liberty International Airport; accommodations in upscale hotels; breakfast; two dinners; ground transportation; and tours. Book by calling 800-555-5765.

Cruise fans may want to consider the 10-night Portugal, Spain and the Douro River Valley itinerary from Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection. The trip starts in Lisbon and ends in Porto (despite the name, it includes only one day in Spain) and features three nights in Lisbon and seven nights of cruising on the picturesque Douro River. Stops include the Douro Valley to visit wine estates, the medieval village of Castelo Rodrigo and the lively city of Guinmarães. Scheduled dates are available through 2018, with prices starting at $3,999 a person inclusive of luxury accommodations, all meals and alcohol onboard and eight guided excursions. Book by calling 866-883-3684.

For families, the seven-night Winter Offer at Martinhal Sagres, a resort on the Algarve Coast that offers activities for adults and children, may be appealing. Included are accommodations in a villa, breakfast and the choice of either lunch or dinner daily. Prices start at $290 a night. The offer is valid from Nov. 1 through March 2018 and can be booked by emailing res@martinhal.com.


The high-end Six Senses Douro Valley is offering a Winter Escape deal: from Nov. 1 to March 22, 2018, guests who stay a minimum of two nights receive accommodations, breakfast, one spa treatment per guest, a wine tasting and a space-available room upgrade. Prices start at 270 euros (about $324) for two people per night. Book by emailing reservations-dourovalley@sixsenses.com.

To get there, TAP Air Portugal has a winter special: round-trip airfare from New York City, Boston or Miami to Lisbon begins at $585. (Available while fares last.) Visit flytap.com for more information.