When plotting what to wear in Portugal in summer, you’ll need to consider what activities you plan to do and what parts of Portugal you are visiting.
Portugal has a fantastic climate, and people from all over the world will enjoy the summer holiday in the southern European country.
If you are visiting in the winter, don’t miss out on our guide for what to wear in Portugal in winter.
Summer in Portugal is the busiest time of year to visit the country. Especially a beach holiday in the Algarve.
This is especially common in August when people head to the beaches for a vacation. Many restaurants and shops close since the owners are all on vacation!
What is the weather like in Portugal in summer?
Portugal is a small country but has several regions. Madeira, for example, has a very mild climate all year round.
In contrast, the north of the country can be blistering cold in winter. You’ll even find snow in places like Serra da Estrela, the highest mountain range in mainland Portugal!
The average temperature in Portugal in summer is between 26 °C (78 °F) and 29 °C (84 °F). There will be days over 30 °C (86 °F)and even 40 °C (104 °F)!
The warmest regions are Alentejo, Alentejo, and greater Lisbon. Thankfully, you can also visit the nearby beaches, and the Atlantic Ocean will bring enough fresh air to keep you comfortable.
If you travel inland, temperatures can be scorching. Find a place along a lake of fluvial to keep cool. And be mindful of any forest fires in summer.
What to wear for summer travel in Portugal
People dress very casually in Portugal, but they sometimes dress up a bit for dinner. So wear what you want, and what you feel most comfortable in. You’ll easily blend in like a local.
1. Comfortable shoes
With all the cobblestones in the cities, high heels are not advisable. Comfy shoes will be a better option!
The towns are also very walkable, but you might end up walking between 10,00-25,000 steps a day!
Tennis sneakers are a great choice. I usually opt for something that will match everything like white Adidas Stan Smiths.
Are you going to the beach? Then Rainbow flip-flops will be your best friend!
Speaking of the beach, your summer packing list should have at least two or three bathing suits on it.
The summers are great for swimming, although the Atlantic Ocean can still feel like a block of ice. The waters in the Algarve are a bit warmer, but a dip in the Atlantic will wake you up!
I have this one piece from Amazon in tons of colors. They are versatile and dry quickly, and I think they look stylish without being too revealing.
If you go surfing, you’ll either want to pack or rent a wet suit. You can find them at any surf shop. Add a towel, a good sunscreen with 50+ SPF (this Neutrogena one is our favorite!), and a sunhat for the perfect beach day.
3. Dresses and skirts
Dresses and skirts are the perfect things to wear in Portugal in summer because in the heat of the day, you want to wear things that are breathable and light.
Whenever I’m traveling around Europe in summer, whether it is islands in Greece, boiling hot beach towns in Italy, or the south of France, I always just throw a bunch of colorful cotton and linen dresses into my bag and a few accessories and I’m mostly packed.
You don’t have to worry about whether things match or not because a pair of white sneakers and a colorful dress will always go together. Add a hat and sunglasses and you look far more put together than you feel after staying out late enjoying delicious food and drinks the night before.
A nice wrap skirt or lightweight dress is also great for going from the beach to dinner. I usually pick things up second-hand from Thredup or a local thrift shop so that I’m not wearing the same H&M or Zara dresses that everyone else bought just before their vacation.
4. Short sleeve shirts
It’s advisable to wear lightweight, breathable fabrics such as cotton and linen to keep it cool.
Short-sleeved shirts and tank tops will help with the heat. During summer in Europe, you want to make sure not only are you wearing lightweight fabrics but also light colors.
You won’t see as many sweat marks on a white or cream-colored shirt as you will on grey or blue. I usually pack a week’s worth of t-shirts and then pick up one or two on my travels as souvenirs that I add to the rotation.
If you are traveling for more than a week, stay at an Airbnb that has a washing machine or find a nearby laundromat that can do your laundry for you while you head out exploring for the day.
As with shirts, shorts go a long way to create a fun and casual outfit. You can wear them in the cities, at beaches and during explorations in nature.
If you have quick-drying shorts, you can wear them hiking or to the beach.
I usually pack one pair of cute cotton shorts (I love the styles they have at Sfera) as well as a pair of jean shorts that can match with anything.
Choose your jean shorts wisely. When it is very hot and humid, they can make you sweat even more and they don’t dry very quickly. So opt for a lightweight denim that doesn’t hug the body too closely for the most comfort. These shorts from Madewell are a nice option and will last for years.
With high temperatures, long trousers are not necessarily a must. There are some reasons to bring them, though. If the weather is letting you down, and it’s breezy, it’s great to have an option for a longer pair of lightweight linen or cotton cropped pants.
Trousers will be a more important packing item for the men in your life. Some fancy restaurants won’t allow shorts, so you’ll need to pack at least one pair of chinos or other lightweight slacks for men to be able to enjoy the more upscale restaurants around cities like Lisbon or Porto.
7. A Sweater or light jacket
When planning what to wear in Portugal in summer, you may want to pack a “just in case” sweater. Summer in Portugal is generally warm, but in the evenings it can get cooler. This is especially common along the coast.
A light jacket or sweater will keep you comfortable during breezy nights. This way, you will undoubtedly be comfortable with a slight drop in temperature.
This is a good option not only for cooler evenings, but the heavy air conditioning you are likely to find in restaurants during the summer months. You go from sticky humidity and heat to crisp cold air conditioned spaces and sometimes you get a chill.
Wear your jacket or sweater on the plane to be comfortable while traveling. Then it won’t take up too much space in your luggage.
If you are traveling to higher altitudes, a lightweight sweater always comes in handy. This applies to inland spots, mountainous regions, and even Sintra. You don’t want to be feeling cold when enjoying Pena Palace and the incredible views from the top of the hill!
8. Summer accessories
Sunglasses are a must during summer in Portugal. It will protect your eyes and allow you to explore without squinting.
A hat or a cap will protect you from heatstroke. I have dark hair and my head gets so hot when I am out and about on hot sunny days. I can’t leave for the day without a sun hat like this style which helps to reflect the sun and keep my head cool.
Something you will probably see a lot while you are in Portugal in summer is people using umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun. It’s an option if you are very affected by the sun. Grab a portable travel umbrella here.
9. Dinner outfits
When it comes to what to wear in Portugal in summer at a nice restaurant, you may need to prepare a little bit beforehand.
Portugal has many casual restaurants where you can feel free to wear whatever you feel most comfortable in (within reason).
There are no real rules about what to wear, and if you don’t plan a fancy dinner, then don’t worry about packing anything particular.
If you do enjoy a Michelin-star meal and want to go to some of the Portuguese high-end bars and restaurants, this is what you should consider adding to your Portugal packing list.
Of course, there are stores in cities like Lisbon or Porto where you can pick up a last-minute nice outfit from H&M (I have been known to do this before). But if you have an outfit you really love and want to show off at a restaurant, now is the time to pack it.
When going to a fancy rooftop bar or restaurant, check if they have clothing guidelines on their website. They will often have this published online if there is a strict dress code.
This ranges from suits for men to cocktail dresses for women in high-end fine dining establishments. Shorts and sandals are usually not allowed.
For men, bring some long trousers and nicer shoes and you will be fine. Don’t wear a hat or athletic wear such as a sports shirt or yoga pants. In some places, denim and sneakers might also be a no-go.
Overall, when considering what to wear in Portugal in summer, opt for lightweight and breathable items.
Wear heavier items on the flight so they don’t take up space in your luggage. And don’t forget to protect yourself from the sun. SPF is vital, and long-sleeved clothes can come in handy as well as long as it is meant for hot weather. You don’t want to be melting while you’re on vacation.
Most importantly of all, wear clothes that you love. You don’t need to buy a new wardrobe to go on vacation. Take some of your favorite t-shirts and shorts that you already love and wear at home so that you feel comfortable.
There is nothing worse than buying something new and wearing it for the first time on vacation only to discover that it isn’t comfortable at all. This is especially true of shoes. Be sure your walking shoes are worn in a little bit before you start using them to explore the cities and towns of Portugal!
This was a guest post written by Marga, a travel writer and photographer who was a flight attendant and has traveled extensively for many years. After settling in Portugal, she started the Discover Portugal blog with insightful and engaging travel stories.