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.
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.
As with sunscreen, sun glasses are an essential item that will keep you more comfortable and protect your eyes from the sun.
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.
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?
The spellbinding coastline and beautiful beaches are easily among Portugal’s most attractive features. Sexy 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).
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.
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).
Many restaurants, stores, and bars accept plastic, but some either require a minimum balance—generally it’s €5 (£4.40)—or only accept cash, so remember to have some Euros with you at all times.
Those cobblestones really can get slippery, and it won’t matter how good those high heels look when you’re sprawled across the ground after falling. In Portugal, flat (or low) shoes are usually your best bet.