As autumn paints the landscape with warm hues and summer’s vibrant crowds gradually recede, November unveils a different, more tranquil side of Portugal’s Algarve region.
With its mild, Southern European climate still gently embracing the coastline, November in the Algarve offers a unique blend of tranquility and pleasant weather, making it an ideal time to explore this enchanting destination without the summer crowds.
The only downside to visiting at this time of year is that some restaurants and other tourism-focused businesses will be closed for the season or at least for a few weeks in November. This also means that some places that are normally very busy during the summer months will be much quieter. For most people this is a selling point, but if you were looking for a bit more buzz, you might be disappointed. On the plus side, places are less busy and hotels are often cheaper.
In this article, we’ll uncover the hidden treasures, serene beaches, and cultural delights that await those who venture to the Algarve in this lesser-known, but equally captivating, month.
Weather in the Algarve in November
Winter in the Algarve offers a welcome contrast to the colder northern European climates. The average daily high temperature gradually declines from 23°C (73.4°F) in October to 19°C (66.2°F) in November. Typically, you can expect temperatures to hover around 12°C to 16°C (53.6°F – 60.8°F). From a weather perspective, November makes the Algarve, alongside Madeira and the Alentejo, one of the most appealing regions to explore in Portugal during this time, providing a comfortably mild environment for travelers.
It’s more likely to rain in November, but blue skies and bright sunshine are still the norm. Days are warm. It’s definitely still shorts, T-shirts and flip-flop weather, but nights can get pretty chilly so pack a jumper and jeans for evenings on the terrace.
What to Do in the Algarve in November
- Hiking: Enjoy cooler weather and explore trails like the 7 Hanging Valleys or Fisherman’s Way.
- Beach: While it’s not ideal for sunbathing, the warm temperatures make beach walks enjoyable.
- Surfing: November is a good time for surfing, especially on the West Coast, with Lagos as a convenient base.
- Cave Tours: Explore sea caves with fewer tourists compared to the crowded summer months.
- Golf: Take advantage of the milder weather to improve your golf swing on the Algarve’s renowned courses.
What to Pack
- Light jackets or sweaters: Although the Algarve generally experiences mild temperatures in November, evenings and overcast days can be cooler. Packing a light jacket or sweater allows you to layer for added warmth.
- Waterproof clothing: November marks the onset of the wet season in the Algarve, so it’s wise to have waterproof gear on hand. Include items such as a raincoat, umbrella, poncho, or rain boots in your packing list to stay dry in case of rainy or inclement weather.
- Sunscreen: Despite it being the off-season, the sun can still be potent during the day in the Algarve. Ensure you pack sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection to shield your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
- Comfortable shoes: The Algarve is a region meant for exploration on foot, with picturesque towns and villages to discover. Pack comfortable and sturdy shoes suitable for sightseeing and outdoor activities. Even if you don’t plan on hiking, avoid the high heels as Portugal’s cobblestone streets don’t pair well with them. Instead, opt for a comfortable pair of flat-soled shoes instead.
- Light layers: The weather in November can be changeable, with alternating sunshine and clouds throughout the day. To stay comfortable in varying conditions, bring along lightweight layers that you can easily add or remove as needed.
What’s on in the Algarve in November?
Quite a few restaurants and bars, particularly on the coast, close from November to March. If there’s a restaurant or a bar you’ve got your heart set on visiting, check their Facebook page before going out of your way. That said, most places do stay open throughout the year. There are a few events to keep your eye out for, too.
November 1st, the day of Saints and Martyrs
While Halloween (October 31st) isn’t really a big part of Portuguese culture, Portugal has its own Halloween traditions. The biggest tradition, and the one you’re most likely to stumble across, is the annual cemetery cleaning that takes place on November 1st.
This is a big community event where everyone visits the local graveyard and spruces up their relatives’ resting places. If you’re passing by, it’s worth having a look inside to see this unique Portuguese tradition.
Feira de São Martinho (St Martin’s Fair), Portimão
The ancient festival of São Martinho has been taking place since 1662: a real slice of Algarve culture. There are stalls, street food and carnival games to enjoy but the festival is mainly celebrated by eating roast chestnuts and drinking the first of the year’s wine (called a magusto). Quinta dos Vales, a vineyard on the Algarve, usually hosts a magusto that’s accompanied by live fado music.
If you can find a magusto happening near you, it’s worth attending. Portimão has its own fair, the Feira de São Martinho, which is very popular locally and is a good example of a Portuguese festival that most tourists never get to see.
Like any other fair, there are ferris wheels, dodgems, and other fairground rides as well as street food, and stalls selling a mixture of locally-made products and cheap clothing. This fair is very “local”, which may not be for everyone, but is a fun experience and a good option for people travelling with kids.
Dia do São Martinho always takes place on November 11th. This is the main day, but there are usually some celebrations in the week leading up to this day. The fair in Portimão takes place at the Fair and Exhibition Centre (Parque de Feiras e Exposições de Portimão, Caldeira do Moinho, 8500-726 Portimão).
Algarve International Organ Festival
This annual festival, inaugurated a year after the restoration of the illustrious Grand Organ of the Faro Cathedral in 2006, celebrates the rich musical heritage and cultural significance of this historic instrument. Held every November across the municipalities of Faro, Portimão, Loulé, and Tavira, the Organ Festival has become a prominent fixture in Portugal’s cultural calendar.
Beyond captivating organ recitals, the festival also offers a dynamic program that includes informative workshops and guided tours, allowing attendees to delve deeper into the world of organ music and its historical context. The Algarve Organ Festival is a testament to the region’s commitment to preserving its musical heritage and sharing it with both locals and visitors, creating a harmonious experience that resonates with the soul of this picturesque corner of Portugal.
Feira da Perdiz, Martim Longo
We know hunting isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s still a very popular pastime in the rural Algarve. The Feira da Perdiz (partridge festival) features displays by hunting dogs, horses and falcons. Visit for the live music, cooking demonstrations and hearty game dishes.
This event usually takes place in October or November. For more information and dates, visit the local council’s Facebook page.
Sweet Potato Festival, Aljezur
Choo-choo, all aboard the sweet potato train! This is probably the Western Algarve’s most famous festival, a huge celebration of the humble sweet potato (Batata Doce). It takes place slightly out of town, but you park your car and transportation is provided.
The main draw is the food stalls which sell dishes made from sweet potatoes. There are often queues for the best stalls.
This event usually takes place at the end of November and often spills over into December as well. For more information, including dates, times, and location, visit the Município de Aljezur’s Facebook page.
Have you visited the Algarve in November or coming into winter? What did you think? Was it warm enough for you? Did you find a good hotel deal? Share your thoughts and tips by leaving a comment below.