Did you know that there are places to experience snow in Portugal? Find out the best options to enjoy beautiful winter landscapes in the country.
The Portuguese winter is not as intense as in other European countries, but there are still places to see snow in Portugal. It's not every year that snow can be found in abundance in the country, but you will have great chances to see the snowfall and admire beautiful white landscapes anyway.
If you are thinking of travelling during the winter and want to see snow in Portugal, come and find out the best options! Due to its geographical location on the European continent, Portugal does not have temperatures as low as Switzerland, France and Germany. The places with higher altitudes are usually the coldest in the country, and in some regions and cities, it snows during the winter. Especially in the North of Portugal, it is possible to see snow between December and March, Europe's winter months.
When does it snow in Lisbon?
It is not common to have snow in Lisbon, but the phenomenon has occurred on rare occasions. January 2006 was the last time it snowed in the capital. Before that, the most recent records of snowfall were in 1954 and 1944, at Christmas time.
Best places to see snow in Portugal
In some places in Portugal, it is almost always possible to see snow in winter, either dry or wet, on the mountains or roofs. The contact with the snow is always a feast for those who are not used to it. This includes adults and children. If you want to see snow in Portugal, these are your best options:
Serra da Estrela
Serra da Estrela is the most popular destination for snow in Portugal. Located in the highest and coldest point in the country, the mountain gifts visitors with snow every year. For the more adventurous, it is possible to enjoy its ski resort. And it is not only in the high mountains that we find snow: in the region, it is possible to experience it in places like Loriga, Manteigas, Vale do Rossum, Penhas Douradas, Gouveia, and Covilhã. And it does snow quite a bit! Therefore, it is essential to check the snowfall forecast and confirm the roads to the mountain are open before heading up.
Montesinho Natural Park
More than a thousand meters above sea level is the Natural Park of Montesinho, where you can find snow and many other charms. With 92 villages and approximately 9000 inhabitants, the Park covers an area of roughly 750 km2. Its highlights are the Serra da Coroa (to the west) and the Serra de Montesinho (to the east), which stands at an altitude of 1486 meters. It is one of the largest parks in Portugal, located in the northeast of the country. There you can explore several villages such as Montesinho and Rio de Onor.
Peneda Gerês National Park
Located between Minho and Trás-os-Montes, the Peneda Gerês National Park usually has snowfall between December and February. The Park is a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Besides enjoying nature, you can visit the towns of Castro Laboreiro, Soajo, Pitões das Júnias, Montalegre or Lindoso to enjoy the snow.
Serra do Marão
The Serra do Marão is located between the Douro Litoral and Alto Douro, more than 1400 meters high. Besides enjoying the snow on the mountain, you can also visit the deactivated tungsten mines dating from the Second World War.
Serra do Açor
Located very close to Serra da Estrela is the Serra do Açor. This region is known for being one of the coldest in the country and for all the snow it gets during the winter. One of the places you can visit is the beautiful village of Piódão.
Besides natural snow, did you know that some places produce artificial snow? It is made using snow cannons, transforming water and pressurized air into snowflakes. They are primarily used in ski resorts worldwide to ensure that the slopes remain suitable for sports, even when the weather does not help.
In Portugal, some parks and "Christmas villages" use artificial snow. Remember that, even if the snow is synthetic, it is still cold! Therefore, it is vital to protect yourself the same way.