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What to wear in Portugal in Winter (December, January & February)

What to wear in Portugal in Winter (December, January & February)

Are you wondering what to wear in Portugal in Winter? In this guide we will tell you what to pack for Portugal whether you are visiting in December, January or February. And covers everything from special events, Christmas, weather and the differences between regions.

Important Note: This post may contain affiliate links which means if you click through and make a purchase I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

Weather in Portugal in Winter

One of the difficulties about traveling to Portugal in Winter, is that the weather can actually be very changeable. And unlike Northern European countries such as  Germany in Winter, requires you to pack a full on Winter travel capsule wardrobe, Portugal is a little different.

University Courtyard in Coimbra in Portugal in Winter with students
What to wear in Portugal in Winter (December , January and February)

That is because what Portugal in Winter is like is dependent on the region you are traveling to and in which month. Therefore we will first look at the Winter weather month by month and region by region to show how it affects your Portugal Winter packing list.

Generally speaking, the Southern cities and regions in Portugal such as The Algarve and Faro for instance will be the warmest parts of the mainland. The Algarve generally speaking is the warmest part of Mainland Portugal in Winter, although Madeira tends to be the warmest overall.

While the North i.e. Porto and to an extent Lisbon which are also pretty hilly and windy tend to be much cooler.. So it is worth keeping in mind as we talk about average temperatures and weather below.

And while this guide will talk about what to wear in Portugal generally in Winter, if you want more specific regional guidance be sure to check out the below seasonal and monthly specific posts: 

And if you trip spans two months be sure to check out our other monthly guides:

Is it cold in Portugal in Winter?

Riveira Beach in Cascais in Winter
What to pack for Portugal in Winter (December, January and February)

Although most people expect Europe in December to be cold, however the temperatures are still pretty moderate in Portugal in Winter. Depending on where you are going in Portugal will obviously impact the temperatures you can expect.

However generally speaking the average temperature range in Portugal in Winter to be between between 10°C/50°F and 17°C/62°F which really isn’t all that cold.

Of the Winter months in Portugal, January tends to be the coldest with an average temperature of  11ºC / 52ºF.

But it is worth noting the further North in Portugal you are the colder and rainier it is likely to be.

Ands with any month in Portugal, the evenings can be considerably chillier especially with the wind. Therefore it is always advisable to bring some layers with you, no matter the region of Portugal you travel to.

Note: although the weather in this guide are historical averages however we advise always checking the weather at your destination 7 days in advance in case of anomalies such as cold snaps and heat waves.

Is it Rainy in Portugal in December?

Winter in Portugal is undoubtedly the rainy season, which typically runs from November to March. Therefore you should be prepared for rain if you are visiting in Winter. This is especially true if you are in the North of Portugal such as Porto which caa be very rainy in Winter.

Is it warm enough to swim in Portugal in Winter?

I guess it depends on how brave you are as to whether if it is warm enough to swim in the sea in Portugal in Winter. However I would say for 99% of people will find it too cold to swim in the sea off mainland Portugal in Winter.

What to Wear in Portugal in Winter

Woman in front of Porto Cathedral in Winter
What to wear in Portugal in Winter (December , January and February)

So now you know what to expect of the weather in Portugal in Winter we will turn our attention to what to wear. The guide is split out into men, women’s and shoes section to make for easier navigation.

Note: looking for tips on creating travel capsule wardrobes be sure to check out our packing techniques:

What to Wear in Portugal in Winter for women


Although the temperatures in Portugal aren’t as cold as other parts of Europe in Winter you will still be needing a Winter jacket. This is especially important if you are visiting more Northern and high altitude cities like Porto.

We recommend a down jacket in the North with some waterproofing. However a lighter weight jacket can be taken if you are on the South Coast.

Click here to shop jackets.

Skirts and dresses

Although you may find it a little windy to be sightseeing in dresses, I personally like to change for dinner. Personally I think a wrap dress or a sweater dress is the perfect dress for Portugal.

Click here to shop skirts and dresses for Portugal.


Trousers are a great pick for Portugal in Winter, especially in January which is the coldest month.

Jeans are a great choice at this time of year as the weather has cooled enough to be comfortable in them. However I would also pack other types of trousers for rainy days. As there is nothing worse in my opinion than sightseeing in wet jeans.

Another great pick are wrinkle free chinos, and cords. On top of jeans I usually pack a plain black pair of trousers. If you want a smarter pant then we love a regular black pant (we love the Athleta Brooklyn ankle pant for travel).

Click here to shop trousers.


A loose blouse works perfectly for warmer days and cooler nights. And something with a longer sleeve is better for Portugal in Winter than a short sleeve one. For cooler nights and days, I would usually pair this with a thick knit cardigan or layer it with my trusty merino wool sweater.

Click here to shop blouses

T Shirt

For Winter I recommend packing more long sleeve than short sleeve t shirts.

Click here to shop t shirts.


Usually I will take 3 layers with me for a week in Portugal in Winter. For me this usually comprises of a cardigan that can be used for dinners, a casual hoodie that is good for sightseeing in the day as well as my favorite merino wool sweater.

Merino wool is a great fabric choice when you are trying to pack light for Winter. It is a relatively thin material to pack, however is insulating and repels smell packing it perfect for Winter capsule wardrobes.

Click here to shop merino wool sweaters.


A pashmina is on all of my European packing lists no matter the month of travel. It is just such a versatile travel essential for women

It can act as a scarf or extra layer on cooler evenings and can help make your outfit more modest for visits to religious settings as per Portuguese dress code requirements.

This is also good for days when there is a strong nortada (north wind). Click here to shop pashminas.

Hat, Scarf and Gloves

Winter accessories are another good addition to the packing list. While not as cold was other parts of Europe, it can feel chilly at night especially. For this reason I recommend packing a hat scarf and gloves to match your coat.

But be sure to get gloves that are touch screen compatible so as you are likely to be taking lots of photographs.

Click here to shop winter accessories

PJs or Nightie

I recommend a heavier weight one for this time of year.


Essential no matter the time of year you are visiting. Just be sure to have some UV protection.

Underwear and Socks

Goes without saying. No matter where I am in Europe in Winter, I usually pack a mixture of thicker hiking socks for outdoor activities as well as some thinner but insulating merino wool socks. Shop merino wool socks here.

What to pack for Portugal in November for Men

When putting together the packing list for men heading to Portugal in Winter, the considerations are really the same as for women and lots of light weight layers are the key to a successful Portugal Winter packing list.

We recommend packing the below:

Winter Jacket

A practical warm coat with some insulation a is a good idea for Portugal in Winter. We don’t think you can go wrong with a puffer style jacket. However in the South you will need a lighter weight jacket than you will in the North.


Chinos and jeans are perfect for Portugal in Winter as they are the perfect weight for the weather. 

 Click here to shop men’s travel trousers.

T Shirts and Shirts

A mix of short and long sleeve t shirts are perfect for sightseeing during the day in Winter. I think having more long sleeve t shirts is better for Winter generally speaking.

However for evenings I would recommend having a button down shirt with long sleeves.


As I mentioned above, lots of light layers are the key to putting together a successful packing list for Portugal in Winter.

We recommend having a sweater for evenings, a casual hoodie for sightseeing during the day and either a fleece or jumper. Again we don’t think you can go wrong with having at least one merino wool sweater with you.


Useful even in Winter.

Winter Accessories

A hat, scarf and touch screen compatible gloves are a good pick for Winter.

Underwear, Socks and Pjs

We recommend some thermal socks for Winter and slightly heavier weight nightwear.

Note: if you want to know what to wear to the airplane and airport in Winter check out this post.

Best Shoes for Portugal in Winter

Ankle Boot

As the weather is changeable in Portugal in Winter we recommend having a leather boot with some waterproofing 

When picking the best ankle boot for Portugal we recommend looking for a flat boot or something with a low thick heel as most cities in Portugal are hilly and full of cobbled stone streets.

Click here to shop ankle boots.

And we always say go with an ankle boot as opposed to a knee high boot as these are easier to pack and prevent overpacking. However go with the style you feel most comfortable in. And be sure to check out our guide on how to pack boots for travel.


Sneakers are the perfect shoe for Portugal all year round especially in the cities such as Porto and Lisbon. That is because they offer good arch support and cope well with hills and cobbled stone streets.

My favorite brand of sneakers for walking are are Hoka and AllBirds as these are great for walking in.

And in the South you also can’t go wrong with a plain white sneaker as they go with everything. One of my favorite pairs of white sneakers is the Adidas Cloud Foam shoes. However in the North we tend to prefer a waterproof sneaker instead of a white one.

A great brand for water resistance sneakers is Ecco. These have many waterproof and water resistance versions but we like this one.

What to Pack in Portugal in Winter (non clothing)

Woman overlooking bridge in Porto Portugal in December
What to wear in Portugal in Winter (December, January and February)

Portugal Winter Packing List Checklist

So just to recap here is our complete list of what to add to your Portugal Winter Packing List

  • Waterproof and Wind resistant Coat or jacket
  • Scarf, Gloves, Hat
  • T shirts
  • Thicker weight trousers such as jeans, woolen trousers or corduroy trousers.
  • Merino Wool Thermal socks
  • T shirts
  • Layers such as sweaters, fleeces, jumpers and hoodies
  • Warm Nightwear
  • Ankle Boots
  • Sneakers
  • Medication and Documentation
  • Back Pack
  • Travel Adaptor
  • Toiletries
  • Camera
  • Battery Pack
  • Sunglasses
  • Travel first aid kit including blister plasters
  • Lip Balm

FAQs about this Portugal Winter Packing List

What to wear in Portugal in December?

Porto Christmas Lights
What to wear in Portugal in December

As with any Portugal Winter packing list, the key thing to remember about what wear in Portugal in December is to have lots of light layers with you. That is because the conditions both across the country and through the course of the day can change dramatically.

Therefore we recommend having Portugal in December outfits that comprise of layers such as cardigans, sweaters and hoodies teamed with t shirts, blouses, and shirts paired with a heavier weight jacket.

Also if you are traveling to the north of Portugal in December we recommend having an umbrella and a coat with some water resistance or waterproofing.

Also, although not renowned for its Christmas markets you will find that Portugal does have them. One of the largest is the Winter Wonderland market in Parque Eduardo VII in Lisbon. So if you plan to visit some Christmas Markets in portugal you could add a festive jumper to your packing list too.

What to wear to Portugal in January?

January is one of the coldest months in Portugal so having lots of layers is key. We recommend including merino wool on your packing list for Portugal in January as it is a light but insulating layer.

Should I take swimwear for Portugal in Winter? 

Unless you have access to a heated pool then you probably won’t need swimwear for Winter on mainland Portugal as most people will find it too cold to swim in the sea at this time of year.

Do you need a jacket in Winter in Portugal? 

Yes layers and a jacket are absolute essentials for Portugal in Winter.

Can you wear jeans in Portugal in Winter?

There are no reason why you can’t wear jeans in Winter in Portugal. In fact I find them a really great choice especially for the cities in December, January and February.

Have you visited Portugal in Winter? What else would you add to this Portugal packing list.