Portugal is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in Europe — and for good reason. This small but mighty country has mild weather year-round, diverse outdoor activities, delicious local food, and fascinating history.
If you’re planning a trip to Portugal, you’re probably wondering what to pack. I’ve put together a sustainable Portugal packing list so you can be prepared for a great vacation!
What to Wear in Portugal:
What to wear in Portugal will vary depending on when and where you’re visiting, i.e. the cities versus the beach towns. In general, the Portuguese are very stylish people. Like countless places in Europe, you won’t notice many locals wearing casual attire, like athletic wear, regularly. That being said, you don’t need to be fully dressed up everywhere you go either.
When visiting Portugal, opt for timeless, classic styles that you can dress up or dress down. A capsule wardrobe is perfect for a trip to Portugal. If you’re visiting the main cities, like Lisbon and Porto, you’ll notice a range of unique yet understated and fashionable choices. In beach towns, you’ll find more laid-back attire with an equally laid-back vibe. Picture nice t-shirts, shorts, and long skirts.
It’s important to note that Portugal is not super conservative, but it still has Catholic roots. When visiting religious sights, try to cover your shoulders and legs to be respectful. Throughout the cities in Portugal, there’s a large young population, so you don’t have to dress too modestly. Though, it’s best to leave your skimpiest outfits at home and save beach attire for the beach.
Overall, you’ll see a lot of trousers, denim, boots, long dresses or skirts, well-fitting t-shirts, and silky camisoles or blouses in Portugal. Depending on the season, you’ll find classic jacket choices like leather or denim jackets. Portugal is my favorite place for finding vintage denim, so keep that in mind when shopping locally.
Why It’s Important to Pack Sustainably in Portugal:
Portugal, especially Lisbon, has not been immune to overtourism. Rising prices, locals being pushed out, intense traffic, and overcrowding of popular areas are some of the negative ways tourism has affected Portugal. Choosing to travel responsibly throughout Portugal is important, and that includes what we bring with us.
Portugal is home to many of the oldest standing buildings in Europe. Its gorgeous architecture and historic sights attract thousands of tourists every year. Additionally, the majority of the tourist destinations in Portugal are along the coast and rivers. Choosing to bring items that will limit the negative environmental impact on these precious surroundings is a great way to keep this country beautiful.
Portugal Packing List: What Sustainable Items to Bring
What to pack for Portugal will vary depending on the season and region, but there are a few essential items you’ll typically need when visiting Portugal.
A sustainable packing list for Portugal includes:
- A plug adaptor, if you’re not from Europe.
- A reusable water bottle to limit your plastic consumption. (Did you know you can drink tap water throughout Portugal?)
- Sunglasses, as Portugal has year-round sun. For sustainable options, check out this list.
- Sunscreen. Choose a plastic free, biodegradable one here.
- An easy-to-carry bag that fully closes so your things are protected while sightseeing.
- A tote bag or any type of reusable bag that can be used for grocery shopping (if you’re staying long enough to shop). You won’t find plastic bags at the grocery stores in Portugal.
- Comfortable shoes that you can walk in all day and on slippery, cobblestone streets.
- Biodegradable toiletries. Since most popular destinations in Portugal are built along the water, it’s crucial to bring sustainable, plastic-free toiletries when possible.
What to Pack for Portugal in Spring
A great time to visit Portugal is during the spring. April, in particular, is a lovely month with average temperatures ranging between 60-75 F. During April, you’ll have sunnier, mild days with cooler nights and some showers, depending on the region.
This is also a wonderful time to travel sustainably to Portugal since it’s off-season!
An ideal packing list for Portugal in April will include the following items:
- Light, waterproof jacket.
- Sandals for warmer days.
- Closed-toed shoes for wet days and cool nights.
- Versatile layers that can be dressed up and dressed down.
- Eco-friendly activewear for hiking or outdoor adventures.
What to Pack for Portugal in Summer
Portugal is stunning in the summer. If you want to enjoy the beaches or layout along the riverfront, sipping drinks at sidewalk cafes, then summertime is perfect for you. That being said, it’s hot with high daily temperatures. It’s also peak season, so you’ll pay peak prices and experience large crowds. If you want to visit Portugal in the summer, try to travel responsibly to offset the consequences of overtourism.
To be prepared, a great packing list for Portugal in summer should include:
- Light, breathable clothing (like linen garments!) that can be dressed up or down.
- Sandals that can be worn during the day or out dancing at night.
- Sustainable swimsuit. Even if you’re not visiting the beach towns, the major cities in Portugal have popular sunbathing areas as well as public pools.
- Eco-friendly, plastic-free deodorant – be prepared for some sweaty days. (Here’s a review of some non-toxic options.)
- Hair ties if you have long hair. We love these eco-friendly scrunchies.
- A hat to shade your head from the sun.
- Comfy, lightweight shoes, like these sustainable sneakers, to sightsee in.
What to Pack for Portugal in Fall
One of the most beautiful times to visit Portugal is in the fall. You’ll get to experience the lingering heat of the summer during the day with cool fall nights. There’s no better month to visit Portugal than September in my opinion. The summer crowds will be gone, but you can still enjoy the nice weather.
Figuring out a packing list for Portugal in September can be tricky as you need to plan for warm days, cool nights, and potential rain. Later on in the fall, days may still be sunny, but temperatures will drop. You’ll notice that the Portuguese tend to bundle up, even if you don’t think the weather calls for it.
- A warm, heavy jacket like a denim or leather jacket.
- A waterproof windbreaker, especially if you’re visiting the coast.
- Good quality lip balm for windy or dry days.
- Cute boots that are also walkable.
- Versatile pants that can be dressed up or down, like dark jeans or trousers.
- Tops that are easy to layer.
Hopefully this Portugal packing list will help you prepare for your upcoming trip to the country with ease, no matter which season you’re traveling.
More Guides Like This:
Ecotourism in Portugal (coming soon!)
About The Author:
Alicia Briggs is a writer & editor specializing in slow travel & sustainable living. She’s worked in journalism since 2016 and currently writes for a variety of publications such as Sustainably Chic and Hidden Lemur. She has been a full-time traveler since 2018 and runs her own blog, Learning the Local Way, where she covers responsible travel & living tips.