Are you excited about an upcoming trip to Portugal and want to pack so you’re prepared for anything? Here are some of the best things to pack in your luggage that will have you ready for every kind of adventure, from beaching to hiking, luxury resorts to rural escapes.
Comfortable clothes that can easily be dressed up or down. For the majority of people in Portugal, comfort usually trumps an overly flashy look and, although the Portuguese like to look nice, their appearance can usually be described as casual chic. While packing, select a mix of dressy and informal outfits and items that will pair together, so you’re ready for everything: from fine dining at a luxury resort in the Algarve to a wine tasting at a vineyard estate in the Alentejo, and even sightseeing in Lisbon.
Sunscreen. This is especially important in Lisbon and the Algarve, oftentimes mentioned among the sunniest destinations in Europe. In fact, sunscreen is one of the most important things you can carry with you in Portugal regardless of the season; the year-round climate is mild and it’s not uncommon to have warm, sunny days in winter. Of course, protect your skin while visiting the beach, but also add lotion to your face while exploring the towns and cities.
Sunglasses. As with sunscreen, sun glasses are an essential item that will keep you more comfortable and protect your eyes from the sun.
Hiking sandals. In Portugal, walking is inevitable and you’ll want to be prepared for the slippery cobblestones, as well as the sandy boardwalks. Bring a solid pair of comfortable footwear that will look cute, keep your feet cool, and protect you, whether you’re hiking up Lisbon‘s hilly streets, the dirt paths in the countryside, or along the coast. Leave your high heels at home! You won't need them in Portugal.
A windbreaker that doubles as a raincoat (especially during late fall or winter). Those Atlantic breezes can make a warm night turn cool very quickly. Being prepared for showers is also important when visiting in the late fall, winter, and early spring, so why not bring one coat that serves both purposes?
Swimwear. The spellbinding coastline and beautiful beaches are easily among Portugal’s most attractive features. Bikinis, convenient one-pieces, and rash guards are all worth considering, and what you bring will depend on the experience you’re looking for, from sunbathing to snorkeling. If you’re planning on a surfing adventure, a 1–3 millimeter (0.03–0.11 inch) wet suit may be the way to go, even in the summer (the coast along the mainland has a reputation for being cold).
A bag that fastens securely. While traveling, it’s good practice to be wary of pickpockets. Although Portugal is a safe country on the whole, touristy areas, like downtown Lisbon, can attract pickpockets looking for unaware visitors.
Electric adapter. You’ll want to plug in your camera batteries, mobile phones, e-readers, computers, and even hair styling devices, so bring an adapter. Portugal is similar to many European countries, where the standard voltage is 220 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. If you’re coming from somewhere like the United States, it may be best to bring a transformer, especially if you’re planning on using a hair dryer or curling/straightening iron (simply using an adapter can blow the electricity and/or fry your device).
Some cash. Many restaurants, stores, and bars accept cards, but some either require a minimum balance – generally it’s 10 EUR – or only accept cash, so remember to have some euros with you at all times.
Identification. In Portugal, it’s a legal requirement that you have ID on you at all times. It’s unlikely you’ll ever be asked for it unless your car is stopped or you have to go to the police for something, but it’s a law that you should be aware of. If you don’t want to carry your passport on you all the time, you can carry a photocopy of your passport.
Swimming cap and flip-flops. If you plan to use a hotel’s indoor pool or their spa facilities, they will probably insist you use a swimming cap and flip-flops (chinelos). You can usually buy them on site at an inflated price but you might want to pop a pair in your case if there’s room.