What should be on your Portugal packing list? Andy and I have traveled to Portugal many times over the years, so I’ve really honed my travel packing list for Portugal. It’s become one of our favorite countries, especially for when we want some warmer weather in the winter, although we’ve been there in all seasons.
So if you’re wondering what to wear in Portugal and how to pack for a fun trip to this country, my Portugal packing list will help you out. And if you’re a carry on traveler, you’re in luck, because that’s my favorite way to travel.
Packing List for Portugal
I’m a big believer that most people can travel carry on only for most trips. On my most recent trip to Portugal, I did two weeks in a carry on, which was actually a 25L backpack plus my small camera bag. So even with a 40L backpack or a carry on sized suitcase, it is possible. Let’s take a look at what to pack for Portugal.
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No matter how long your trip is, you can typically get by with about a week’s worth of clothes. It’s perfectly fine to wear the same shirt a few times and to wear your jeans a few times. And if you really need to, you can do laundry almost anywhere. This is a good choice for a longer trip.
I have found that I’m usually comfortable in casual clothes in Portugal. In some places like churches, you should dress conservatively. For an upscale dinner or a show, you should wear something nicer than jeans, so pack a nicer outfit if these kinds of activities are on your itinerary.
Here’s the clothing I pack for one or even two weeks in Portugal.
- 5-7 shirts (short sleeve for warm weather trips, long sleeve for cold weather trips). Try this one or this one from Bluffworks.
- 1 pair of jeans (I might bring two for a winter trip to Portugal longer than a week)
- 1-3 pairs of leggings, depending on the time of year
- Something to sleep in (for me this means gym-style pants or shorts and a t-shirt)
- 4-5 pairs of socks – I like Smartwool.
- 8-10 pairs of underwear (usually 1 per day; I’ll do laundry on longer trips) – I like Exofficio quick dry underwear
- 2-3 bras
For a packing list for Portugal in summer, I’ll throw in one or two pairs of shorts, plus a bathing suit if I plan on going swimming. Or a ball cap style hat if I’m going to be outside a lot, though usually not a city trip.
My winter packing list for Portugal will include a scarf like this one and a few more warmer layers. But this also depends on exactly where you’re going in Portugal. Southern Portugal doesn’t typically get too cold in the winter, but it does get cold up north.
I also always bring some type of lightweight jacket in case of rain, or a hoodie, even for warm weather trips, in case of cold buses, trains, or planes. Usually I wear or carry this, so it isn’t taking up space in my bag. If you’re traveling to Portugal in winter, especially northern Portugal, you should bring a heavier jacket or coat.
Quick dry fabrics
For years now, I’ve been buying shirts in quick-dry fabrics. They’re wonderful for travel because they don’t smell as quickly when you sweat, which makes it easier to wear them again.
They also pack up smaller than cotton, which is great for saving space in your bag. And if you have to wash a shirt in the sink, it’ll be dry before you wake up the next day.
There are several options for quick dry clothing, such as merino wool or nylon blends. But the tag will usually say “quick dry” in the marketing text since it’s a great selling point.
Even at home, I air dry my quick dry clothing since they air dry so fast. The heat of the dryer can shrink them, so be careful if you do use the dryer. And check the washing instructions, but usually they recommend washing on the cold cycle or 30C.
One of my newest favorite brands for quick dry clothing is Bluffworks. They have casual shirts, which is how I normally dress, but also a really cute cowl neck shirt that is great for when I want to look a little nicer, which is a good option for someplace like Lisbon. Plus the cowl neck one has a little hidden pocket on the side, which is a neat extra feature.
Andy has a few crew neck shirts from Bluffworks too, and he likes how they fit. We wear quick dry shirts almost all the time, so it’s nice to have a few more.
Check out the ones we have:
- Bluffworks cowl neck women’s shirt: This is a cute shirt that can be dressed up a little.
- Bluffworks crew neck shirt: A casual option that’s great for sightseeing days.
- Bluffworks men’s crew neck: The men’s version of the crew neck shirt.
- Bluffworks scarf: A great addition to a winter packing list.
As for shoes, pack shoes that are comfortable to walk in. If you’re packing nice clothes or you’re a dressy person in general, you’ll want some dressier shoes, but I still recommend ones that aren’t too painful for walking.
Remember that cities like Lisbon and Porto have cobblestone streets, and there are lots of hills, especially in Lisbon. High heels are not your friends here, so leave them off your Portugal travel packing list.
If you’re planning to spend some time at the beach, whether it’s one of the wonderful destinations in the Algarve region or someplace else, don’t forget your flip flops or sandals. Or if you’re going on a hiking trip, pack sturdy hiking boots.
Overall, I think it’s best to stick to 1-3 pairs of shoes for your trip to Portugal.
Toiletries for a Portugal packing list
Since I almost always travel carry-on only, I have to limit the liquids I pack. Luckily there are lots of solid toiletries that can easily replace your liquid items.
Here’s my standard toiletries packing list:
- Shampoo and conditioner (Check out my favorite solid shampoo and solid conditioner on Amazon.)
- Shower gel or bar soap
- Toothbrush and toothpaste (Why not try solid toothpaste?)
- Contact solution and case
- Nail clippers and nail file
- Brush and hair elastics
I almost never wear makeup, so I almost never travel with it. I know that might make me a little weird, so if you like wearing makeup, be sure to pack yours for Portugal.
But limit yourself to just the essentials to save space, and make sure any liquid makeup gets packed in your liquids bag. You can read more about bringing makeup on a plane here.
As I mentioned, you can replace liquid shampoo and conditioner with solid shampoo and conditioner. I thought I’d just use these for travel, but I actually like them better, and now I use the solids all the time. Check out my full review of Ethique solid shampoo and my review of Ethique solid conditioner to see how much I love them and why they’re so great for travel.
For liquids you’re not willing to leave behind, use refillable containers that are 3.4 ounces (100ml) or smaller, like these from GoToob, and pack them in a quart-sized clear zip top bag.
It’s a good idea to bring a few extra bags in case one rips. I also love toiletry bags for small non-liquid items so they don’t get lost in my luggage.
Electronics: what to bring to Portugal
I need my laptop to work, and I often work while traveling, so I probably pack more electronics than you might need. Seriously consider leaving your laptop at home when you travel to Portugal, unless you really need it. Even the lightest laptop adds a lot of weight to a carry on bag.
If you’re really into photography, don’t forget your a camera and an extra memory chip. Portugal definitely has some gorgeous architecture and landscapes to take pictures of. But your phone is a great option for most people.
Make sure you pack any necessary charging cords and batteries to go along with your electronics. And if you’re traveling to Portugal from North America, you’ll need a plug adapter like this one to use the electrical outlets. Most electronics these days don’t require a voltage converter, but it’s always worth checking that your items are dual voltage.
The exception is things like hair appliances. Most hair dryers, curling irons, and hair straighteners don’t convert voltage, so you can’t use them in Portugal. Even with a voltage converter, they won’t work well and you run the risk of frying your appliance or causing problems (including fire!) at your hotel. Either get a dual voltage hair appliance or buy a cheap one when you arrive.
Can you bring a hair dryer on a plane?
Can you bring a curling iron on a plane?
Can you take a hair straightener on a plane?
Other essential items to include on your Portugal packing checklist
Of course there are other essential travel items that you should pack for Portugal. And there are certain things that are personal to you that might not be on my list.
- Prescription medication
- Over-the-counter medicines
- Wound cream, bandaids
- Contacts and/or prescription glasses
- ID, passport
- Credit and debit cards
Pack any prescription medication you might need. I recommend packing a little more than you’ll need to get through your trip in case your return flight gets delayed and you get stuck for an extra day or two. If you wear contact lenses, consider bringing your prescription glasses as a backup.
You should also pack over the counter pain medicine and wound cream. You can buy most first aid items almost anywhere you go, so I typically don’t pack too much of this kind of thing unless I’m traveling somewhere remote. But it’s also so much more convenient to have it with you rather than hunting for a pharmacy.
Sunglasses are essential for your Portugal packing list. It’s a very sunny country almost all year, so you’ll be happy to have them.
Don’t forget your ID, passport, credit and debit cards. Many places in Portugal accept Visa and Mastercard, but you should get some euros out of an ATM when you arrive for places that only accept cash.
Include a tour on your Portugal packing list
Sightseeing tours are a great way to see a lot of important attractions while learning interesting history about them from an expert. Here are a few tours we recommend in Lisbon for your trip to Portugal:
- Best of Lisbon Guided Walking Tour: Explore the history of the Alfama, Baixa, and Chiado neighborhoods.
- Tastes & Traditions of Lisbon Food Tour: This food tour takes you through several historical neighborhoods and introduces you to classic Portuguese dishes as well as international cuisine with connections to Portugal.
- Sintra-Cascais Private Tour from Lisbon: A driver/guide takes you to Sintra, several palaces and castles, coastal areas, the westernmost point of continental Europe, and more.
Hopefully this helps with your Portugal packing list!
You might also enjoy:
- Why Visit Lisbon? 10 Reasons Lisbon is Worth Visiting
- Ultimate 2 Weeks in Portugal Itinerary
- Best Places to Visit in the Algarve, Portugal
- How to Pack for a Week in a Carry On