Heading to Portugal and wondering what to pack? This Portugal packing list highlights all of the essentials. It includes a few obvious items that you’ll find on all packing lists like underwear (duh!) as well as a few other items you might not have thought to bring.
Tip: Portugal is a long and narrow country, and the weather in the North of the country is often different to the South. The Algarve, in the South of Portugal, gets around 300 days of sunshine per year. Porto and the North of Portugal, on the other hand, has a very different climate.
During winter, the weather can be damp, gray, and wet. If you’re planning on visiting both the North and South of Portugal, especially during winter, keep this in mind as you’ll need to pack appropriately for both types of weather.
What to Pack for Portugal
The first thing on your Portugal packing list should be sandals. You will without a doubt need a pair (or two) of sandals in Portugal. The beaches are amazing and you can wear your sandals at them almost year round. I would suggest picking up a comfortable pair here before you land as there will be a lot of walking involved. Yes, you could wear tennis shoes everywhere for optimal support, but Portugal is a laid-back place with plenty of sunshine.
I travel with my Rainbow leather flip flops and they’ve lasted for years. Another favorite pair of stylish sandals are my Plakas. You can see all the women’s travel sandals here, and men’s travel sandals here.
Make sure to protect your eyes from the sun since you’ll likely spend a lot of time outside in Portugal. Especially if you’re out on the Algarve beaches all day. There are a lot of options for sunglasses and everyone should own at least a pair. It’s best to make sure they do have UV protection for the health of your eyes.
We made our first investment in quality polarized sunglasses with a pair of SMITH Optics Lowdown 2. Truthfully, not everyone needs to invest $150 in a pair of sunglasses; however, we love ours and will never buy cheap ones again. Of course, there are always more affordable options!
T-Shirt or V Neck
A classic tee will never go out of style. We suggest sticking with solid colors like black, white, or grey. There’s also the option of a v neck for a more stylish look, but it all depends on personal preference.
Cameron prefers the grey as it’s super easy to stain the white ones. T-shirts are cheap and we like order new pack before each trip as old shirts look sloppy.
The Portuguese very much care about their appearance, but they aren’t label snobs and the dress is generally more casual than Western Europe. When we’re traveling around the coast we love to wear a pair of relaxed pants in a light neutral color.
Our favorite pair of pants are made by prAna. Their women’s Kanab Pant is made out of organic cotton and recycled nylon while offering 50+ UPF protection. They’re the women’s version of the men’s Vaha Pant.
They are perfect for beach destinations, especially if you find yourself in more conservative areas. These pants are lightweight and weigh nothing in a carry-on bag. I could live in these pants if it were acceptable to wear them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner out.
While in Portugal, they are a wardrobe staple for nighttime as they are appropriate to wear barefoot to a beautiful resort restaurant, to a bar, or for a walk along the beach.
You’re going to Portugal so a swimsuit is a must. If you’re heading to the Mediterranean obviously the number one thing you need is a swimsuit! We like to travel with two different swimsuits so that we know we will always have an extra dry one on hand.
Tasha is a big fan of bathing suits from Carve Designs, an activewear bathing suit company. If you’re planning to go surfing, bodyboarding, kitesurfing, or play beach volleyball and want to make sure your ta-tas stay intact, these swimsuits are for you. Of course, there are so many bathing suit manufacturers these days.
For men, I would say one to two is a good number of swimsuits to travel to the beach with as well. Cameron loves a good pair of board shorts from Billabong or Dakine. Both make great quality shorts that are lightweight and built for surfing so they stretch and move with the body.
When purchasing board shorts it’s best to stick with darker colors as they hold up longer and to get a shorter cut above the knee. As for material a great blend of polyester and elastane is a solid choice as it’s lightweight and comfortable.
No matter what you will need a beach tote when heading to the Portuguese beaches. This is to throw in anything like towels, a book, a speaker, sunglasses, snacks, and sunscreen.
A classic tote that everyone has in their closet is an excellent option for those on short trips or live close to the beach. They also travel well as they can fold flat and lie in your luggage. For family beach goers I recommend a large yet durable beach tote like this one.
Still, wondering what to pack for Portugal? Make sure you have sun protection! Skin cancer is for real and the sun in Portugal is intense! Don’t forget your SPF during the summer. We recommend ordering some online before leaving the house as you will need it underneath the sun.
We highly recommend getting an eco-friendly sun cream that does not contain harmful chemicals. They’re mineral-based and usually only cost a few dollars more to help protect our oceans.
If you’re not going to swim in the ocean or lakes just go with a reliable name brand. You can learn more about eco-friendly travel products here!
We always recommend bringing a travel towel when you’re on the road, Portugal is no exception. If you plan on staying in hostels or more budget accommodation you’ll often need your own towel. Also, if you head to the beach or want to take a hike it never hurt to have a towel packed away in your day bag. Consider a towel an essential for your Portugal packing list.
The biggest complaint about travel towels is that they often feel nothing like the plush cotton towels we are accustomed to at home and in hotels. However, with the PackTowl you can forget about all of that because they set out to create a towel that mimics its cotton counterparts with the technical features of a travel towel.
Traveling with freshwater in hand is important as it is easy to get dehydrated when out. We like to use insulated stainless steel water bottles at the beach because they are well insulated and great for the environment reducing plastic waste.
Portugal gets cold too! A good warm fleece coat is perfect for that evening strolls along the ocean. If you’re visiting Portugal in the shoulder seasons between November and March, it’s very likely you’ll face some cool weather. For those days we always reach for a warm fleece jacket.
Patagonia’s Synchilla Snap T Pullover fleece is the best fleeces for the beach in our opinion. The fleece has a classic relaxed cut that has a timeless look for a walk on the beach or evening bonfire. It’s a double-sided fleece that provides plenty of warmth while remaining soft and comfortable.
They also make a great gift for travelers as they’re a wardrobe staple.
A few comfortable tank tops and shirts are always in my bag and they’re perfect for European Summers. I typically pack solid colors so that they can with everything.
They’re super functional clothes that can be worn under a blouse or alone with a pair of jeans or capris. It’s always best to pick up some new ones before a trip that way they look fresh and aren’t pilling.
Cute Summer Dress
When you’re walking around town or at the beach a loose flowing dress is a great wardrobe choice. Unless it’s winter we’d leave the jeans behind as they’re heavy, restrictive, and hot in the sun.
I love to wear a cute summer dress in Portugal during the summer months and shoulder months. Choose a classic dress like an exposed shoulder top or a slip dress and go with light colors for the classic Mediterranean look. For a classic style with light colors, we both have taken to wearing Marine Layer.
Beach Cover Up
A cover-up is one of those vacation clothes you should always travel with. Not only do they look cute but they will also protect you from the sun’s harsh rays. Many establishments don’t allow beachgoers to wear just a swimsuit so this is where the cover-up is essential when heading to a restaurant on the coast.
If you are considering what to pack for Portugal I recommend picking up a stylish beach hat! A classic travel staple is the Panama Hat.
You’ll need something to stash your photography gear, hand sanitizers, papers, phones, and anything else that you need for a full day out when traveling. A great travel daypack can go a long way in Europe.
As Lonely Planet Pathfinders who regularly go on assignment for the guidebook company we love to have a physical guidebook when traveling. We spend enough time attached to our phones in everyday life and planning our trips.
Once we reach a destination like Portugal we put the phone away and pick up a guidebook to help with our trip.
You will definitely need an adaptor for your electronics on your packing list for Europe. We always keep one handy in our carry-on bags, that way we can charge electronics on arrival or at the airport.
Portugal outlets use the Europlug and I would recommend getting one before you land on Amazon. The price may be doubled if you show up to Portugal in an outlet emergency.
While I love having a good real book when I travel sometimes it’s just not practical because of the weight. I’ve recently switched to a Kindle Paperwhite which is small and compact, plus it has a backlight for reading at night without a harsh glare.
The Paperwhite version is great as they mimic a real book and you can read them in the sun.
If you’re visiting Portugal during the peak summer months, you may not need to bring a raincoat. Although Portugal can go weeks and even months without it raining, it does rain occasionally.
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