Are you worried about mosquitos in Portugal?
Everyone hates that high pitched buzzing sound right in your ear at night after the lights have gone out which tells you there’s a mosquito trying to bite you. Just thinking about that noise makes me itch!
It used to drive me crazy when my little boy was a baby, knowing that he would probably wake up with crazy welts all over his limbs, or worse, his face!
Yes, there are mosquitos in Portugal, although some regions like the Algarve, have much more than other regions. When traveling in Portugal, mosquitos can be a nuisance and even more so for families travelling with kids. As a mother who has lived in Portugal for the past 10 years, mosquito protection is always top of mind when planning an outing – especially during summer months.
Portugal is a beautiful place to explore, and in most of Portugal, the mosquitos are often not serious enough to disrupt your vacation. Like other dangerous animals in Portugal, these critters aren’t generally a problem. You’ll find these annoying insects in humid and wooded areas, especially if you decide to go camping.
The only region in Portugal considered at risk of tropical diseases transmitted by mosquitos is the Algarve.
Are Mosquitoes in Portugal dangerous?
Fortunately, mosquito-borne diseases like dengue or malaria are not really something visitors to Portugal need to worry about. However, forever climbing temperatures caused by global warming have created a pseudo tropical climate in the south of Portugal, where mosquitos breed more easily.
Historically there have been occurrences of dengue outbreaks which have been quite serious, namely an outbreak on Madeira island in 2012 which affected over 2000 people.
Although there are no cases of these tropical diseases, the variety of mosquitos that transmit them is definitely around, which is what worries officials at WHO. This is why, Portugal is among the southern European nations on alert for the risk of dengue, Zika, and chikungunya, which are all potentially fatal diseases.
According to Raman Velayudhan, WHO chief for the control of tropical diseases, mosquitoes are one of the trickiest foes to fight. Why? Because their eggs can stay bone-dry for months while they travel the world in containers, and hatch as soon as they come in contact with water. And once they’re here, they’re here to stay.
These irritating bugs become the most active when temperatures rise above 17ºC, and if they get you, you’ll know it. Dengue, Zika, and chikungunya will have you sweating out high fevers, feeling intense pain in your hands and feet, and just generally being wiped out.
While it can be treated if caught in time, Zika can have devastating effects on developing babies.
Luckily, some brilliant minds at the Ricardo Jorge public health institute and ARS Algarve have come up with a plan to get rid of these pesky mosquitoes and the diseases they carry.
How can I protect myself against mosquitos?
The number of mosquito bites increase during the summer months when temperatures are higher and humidity is highest.
To protect yourself from bites, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when possible and use insect repellent on exposed skin. Taking these precautions can help reduce the risk of bites and discomfort from them while enjoying Portugal’s sunny climate!
Most rentals in Portugal, especially away from touristy areas such as Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve, don’t have mosquito nets or screens on the windows. To keep the bugs at bay I recommend getting a plug-in repellent for your rental unit and keeping the doors and windows shut as much as possible.
You can easily buy these plugins at the supermarkets in Portugal, and I don’t recommend you get them before you come since you don’t want to have to use a plug adaptor.
You can also use citronella candles, and other natural repellents which work well in outdoor spaces and are one of the cheapest options. These tea lights are small and light, and burn for 4 hours. I personally love these Mosquito Repellent bracelets for kids. They work great!
I’d also recommend you take a walk around the property you’ve rented to keep a look out for spots where stagnant water can accumulate, such as flower pots, garbage cans, old tires, etc. Anywhere water can pool, mosquitos can breed, and just getting rid of the water removes the breeding ground.
If all else fails, spray yourself with insect repellent – Deet-based formulas aren’t something we want to lather ourselves with in our house, but we’ve found this incredible product which is just as effective and recommended by WHO.
Since it’s safe for the whole family we use it for all of us. But this baby formula is also an excellent option for chemical free options for baby.
Mosquitoes in Portugal FAQ
What months are mosquitoes most active in Portugal?
Mosquitoes are most active in Portugal during the months of May to September. This is typically when temperatures start to rise, as well as higher humidity levels. The risk of mosquito-borne illnesses, like malaria and dengue fever, increases during this time frame too. As such, it’s important for those travelling to Portugal, especially the Algarve, during these months to take preventative measures against mosquitoes, such as using insect repellent and wearing long sleeves and pants.
What time of day do mosquitoes bite the most?
Mosquitoes are more active during the twilight hours of dawn and dusk, when they are most likely to bite. People should be extra careful when going outdoors during those times to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes may also bite during the day, especially in humid, overgrown conditions such as parks, wooded areas or swamps.
Do you need mosquito repellent in Portugal?
Yes, you do need to bring insect repellent if you are travelling to Portugal. Although the weather is usually mild, mosquitos and other insects can still be a nuisance. To protect yourself from bites while exploring the country’s outdoor attractions, it’s best to bring along your favourite insect repellent. Additionally, there are also all-natural options available that are safe for the environment and for those more sensitive to chemicals.
Do you get mosquitoes in Algarve?
Yes, there are a lot of mosquitoes in Algarve, especially during the warmer months. Mosquito bites can be quite annoying and uncomfortable for visitors to the region. There is also a small risk of mosquito-borne diseases in the area such as dengue fever and malaria. To prevent mosquito bites during your visit to Algarve, it’s important to use insect repellent at all times and wear long-sleeved clothing when possible.
Why do mosquitoes bite me and not my husband?
Mosquitoes are attracted to certain chemicals that people emit from their skin. People who produce more of these chemicals may be more attractive to mosquitoes than others. Some people naturally produce more of these chemicals, while others may be exposed to more in their environment and develop an even greater susceptibility to mosquito bites. Your husband may not be as attractive or susceptible to the pests, leading them to bite you more often than him.
Can mosquitoes bite through clothes?
Mosquitoes are capable of biting through clothes, however the fabric of the clothing will still offer some level of protection from bites. The thickness and weave of the fabric helps to determine how much protection it offers. Generally, loose-weave and light fabrics don’t offer much protection, whereas tighter weaves and thicker fabrics can provide a greater level of protection against mosquito bites.
Are There Mosquitoes in Portugal? The Wrap-Up
Portugal is full of rich culture and unique experiences – don’t let pesky mosquitos ruin your fun! With proper precautionary measures like those recommended above you can enjoy all this beautiful country has to offer without worrying about itchy welts or pesky insects!