Here is a list of school holidays in Portugal in 2020 and 2021 to help you know when to plan your holiday and childcare arrangements.
School holidays in Portugal occur regularly throughout the year, so you’ll need to get the dates in the diary if you’re a parent who lives in Portugal or works in Portugal. Portuguese schools have fewer breaks throughout the year than schools in many other countries but they have a longer than average summer break.
School holidays in Portugal
The dates for school holidays are set by the Ministry of Education in Portugal. General holiday dates are the same across the country; however, there may be variations between regional districts and schools on additional holiday dates or days off. You can check with your individual school or regional educational authority (Direccao Regional de Educacao in Portuguese) for details. Private international schools in Portugal have their own holiday schedules, which may differ slightly from the general dates, so check with your child’s school for dates.
In general, Portuguese schools have four holidays across the year: a two-week break for Christmas, a few days off for the Mardi Gras carnival in February/March, a two-week Easter holiday, and a summer break between June and September. There will also be some additional days off for Portuguese public holidays and other school-related activities.
Portuguese families typically use school holidays to celebrate festive occasions such as Christmas in Portugal, take family vacations or day trips in Portugal, or to plan activities for kids. Other important dates on the Portuguese calendar, such as local holidays or Father’s Day, may also occasionally fall with school holiday periods.
Portuguese school holiday dates for 2019–2020
- Christmas break: 23 December 2019 – 6 January 2020
- Carnival break: 24–26 February 2020
- Easter break: 30 March – 13 April 2020
- Summer break: taken between 3 June and 14 September 2020. Length and exact dates will differ depending on age group.
Portuguese school holiday dates for 2020–2021
- Christmas break: 21 December 2020 – 3 January 2021
- Carnival break: 15–17 February 2021
- Easter break: 23 March – 5 April 2021
- Summer break: taken between 9 June and 12 September 2021. Length and exact dates will differ depending on age group.
All dates subject to change
Additional holidays and days off
In addition to the main school holidays in Portugal, there are other days throughout the year when schools may be closed. These include general public holidays, local holidays or days off within individual schools for things such as teacher training or pupil book days. These days vary between regional districts and individual schools, so contact your child’s school or regional educational authority to find out. Many schools, such as the Nobel International School Algarve and the International School of Madeira, publish calendars on their website, so it’s worth checking to see if the information is available online.
Childcare during the holidays
Childcare in Portugal is limited in terms of daycare provision compared to many northern European countries. There is not the same level of public provision in Portugal; for many locals, the expectation that families will look after kids in the holidays is still strong in many areas. If you need to arrange care for your child during school holidays in Portugal, ask your child’s school or check with your regional authority for information on local providers.
The bigger cities and expat-populated areas tend to have more childcare facilities. In Lisbon, Academia Dos Miudos (Kids Academy) run activities and workshops at holiday cottages. These are primarily aimed at younger children but are open also to school-aged kids during holiday times. The regional authority in Faro runs some holiday programs through its youth and education services. Places may be limited so ask at the earliest opportunity. You can also search for private nurseries and kindergartens across the country on the Ensino Privado website.
During the longer summer break, there are several providers of summer camps offering fun activities in the Portuguese sun. Campo Aventura, based in Obidos, runs camps and activities for children of all ages. In Lisbon, Nomad Surfers runs teen surf camps throughout the summer break. Check the Paginas Amarelas (Yellow Pages) for a list of providers. Other options if family members or friends aren’t available to look after children include childminders, nannies, au pairs, or babysitters. See our guide to childcare in Portugal for more information.