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Your Portugal Dress Code Questions Answered

Your Portugal Dress Code Questions Answered

We often get asked questions about what the Portugal Dress Code is. In this guide we will give you advice on how not to look like a tourist in Portugal by answering your most frequently asked Portugal outfit questions and giving you some outfit inspiration. 

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FAQS About the Portugal Dress Code

Do you have questions about the Portugal dress code? In this guide we aimed to answer any questions you may have about Portuguese dress code sensibilities as well as give you advice on how not to look like a tourist.

It will cover what to wear in the cities such as Lisbon and Porto, as well as in the countryside and the Azores.

Is there a dress code in Portugal?

Tourists in front of the Carmo Church in Porto
Portugal Dress Code

The good news is that there is not a specific Portugal dress code per se. However there are some places where dress codes are enforced for instance in religious settings.

You will find that many religious places in Portugal such as the Lisbon Cathedral for instance will have a dress code that will be enforced.

Generally speaking the following areas should always be covered when visiting any church in Portugal:

  • Shoulders 
  • Knees. 

Therefore when putting together your Portugal Outfit for churches your should avoid wearing 

  • Sleeveless Tops
  • Mini Skirts
  • Shorts

This dress code is enforced and you may not be granted entry should your outfit not meet the rules. It is also worth noting that the Church Dress Code applies to both men and women

Can I wear shorts in Portugal?

Yes you can absolutely wear shorts in Portugal.

If you are selecting shorts to wear in a city in Portugal I would select smarter shorts such as tailored shorts for men instead of cargo shorts. But women can wear a mixture of cotton shorts and denim shorts.

Though it is worth noting that you will find people in the countryside are more conservative than people in the cities and who live close to beach resorts. Therefore you may want to select slightly more modest shorts in these areas.

However if you want to visit churches then you will not be able to wear shorts as these do not cover your leg enough.

Therefore in answer to can you wear shorts in Portugal I would say absolutely you can so long as you are not going to a religious site.

Can I wear crop tops in Portugal?

Yes you can wear crop tops in Portugal. These are most commonly worn by locals on the beach and in coastal settings as opposed to cities and are not so commonly seen the more rural area. And you would not be allowed to enter a church in a crop top.

However outside of churches there are no rules to say you can’t wear crop tops or would feel uncomfortable doing so.

Do you have to cover your shoulders in Portugal?

The answer to do you have to cover your shoulders in Portugal is yes and no.

If you plan to visit a church in Portugal you absolutely have to keep your shoulders covered. You will not be permitted entry to some churches with bare shoulders. For this reason I always carry a pashmina with me in Portugal and other religious countries in Europe for these occasions.

However outside of churches bare shoulders are perfectly acceptable especially in coastal settings and beach resorts.

Can I wear jeans in Portugal?

Woman in Lisbon in June
What to wear to Lisbon in June

Jeans are perfectly acceptable to wear in Portugal. However I would avoid them in Summer due to the heat.

However they are a great choice for Winter and cooler shoulder seasons.

To fit in more with locals I would personally opt for dark blue or black skinny jeans as opposed to baggy stone washed ones.

Can you wear ripped jeans in Portugal?

You can definitely wear ripped jeans in Portugal but there are a few provisos.

Ripped jeans are acceptable in Portugal if they are done in a fashion way. However tatty and ripped jeans would not be acceptable. However if you are in a smarter restaurant or setting, regular jeans may be more appropriate.

Can I wear sneakers in Portugal?

People on street in Portugal in May

Sneakers are my go to shoe in Portugal no matter the season or place. They are most comfortable for walking in. And trust me there is lots of walking involved in Portuguese city breaks.

They can also cope with cobbles and uneven surfaces in some of Portugal more historic places. And as many places in Portugal are hilly, I am looking at you. Lisbon and Porto, you will want to wear shoes that offer support for this type of walking.

I would never personally travel to Portugal without a pair of sneakers.

Can I wear flip flops in Portugal? 

Yes you can wear flip flops in Portugal, there are no rules against it however I would strongly advise you not too in the cities. In fact I usually put them on my what not to wear in Portugal list.

As I said above, there are lots of hills in Porto and Lisbon, as well as cobbles and uneven surfaces so you will need shoes that can cope with this. And flip flops really don’t cut the mustard.

Therefore I would keep the flip flops for wearing round by pools and on the beach whether that be a city beach or an island beach.

Do people wear leggings in Portugal?

You will find that many tourists wear leggings in Portugal however they are not commonly worn by the Portuguese, unless they are actually doing sports such as running.

Therefore if you want to look more like a local then I would recommend leaving the leggings at home. However if you feel comfortable in leggings and aren’t trying to fit in with local styles then by all means wear leggings.

What do you wear at night in Portugal?

What you wear in Portugal at night will largely depend on the season of travel and the location. On the Azores you will find resort wear in summer more commonplace however in Lisbon there are some high end restaurants where a more formal dress code is enforced.

Normally I would recommend wearing a smart casual outfit in Portugal at night, unless you are specifically told otherwise in dress code rules. And it is always worth taking an extra layer when out in Portugal at night as the wind can pick up in afternoons and evenings and it does get quite chilly.

For more information on what to wear in Portugal for dinner check out this post.

Doe Belcanto have a dress code?

Perhaps the most famous restaurant in Portugal is Belcanto. Belcanto has Michelin Stars and is a must do for any foodie visiting Portugal. But does Belcanto have a dress code?

The answer is surprisingly no, Belcanto does not have a dress code.

However given that this is such a bucket list restaurant many people do dress up for the occasion but you do not have to. Smart casual clothes are probably the best fit though.

Can I wear white pants in Portugal?

COuple wearing all white in Portugal
what not to wear in portugal

Yes you can wear white pants in Portugal. However a head to toe white outfit is not something the locals go in for and would likely mark you as a tourist. An all white outfit would definitely be on my what not to weae in Portugal list.

Do I need swimwear for Portugal?

Beaches are a big part of many Portugal vacations particularly on in the Azores and in the Summer. However it is worth noting that outside of summer the waters can be too cold to swim in.

If you do plan to visit a beach during your visit be sure to bring swimwear, a quick dry towel and a beach cover with you.

However in Winter it will likely be too cold to swim, unless you have access to a heated pool.

Portugal Dress codes

When you are looking for how to dress for Portugal, we advise taking all of the above advice into consideration but also thinking about how to dress for the weather as this really differs by month and region in Portugal.

Despite many people thinking of Portugal as a year round warm destination this is in fact not true. And many places in Portugal experiences four seasons.

For this reason we advise checking out our monthly what to wear in Portugal guides to help you put together your Portuguese Capsule Wardrobe:

For Summer I recommend sticking to Maxi dresses and skirts, with shoulders covered for days when you are planning to visit churches. While in Winter I would advise packing trousers / jeans along with t shirts and blouses for winter alongside coats and blazers.

And no matter the season I would always bring a pashmina with you for churches but it is also handy for the northeasterly winds you get in Lisbon and the coast.

And sunglasses are a must whatever season you visit Portugal in.

What Else to Add to Your Portugal Packing List

On top of the above the following items should be added to your Portugal Packing List whatever season you are traveling in.

  • Crossbody bag – one with plenty of zips that can put off pick pockets is best. You can get pickpockets anywhere around tourist attractions so having a bag that deters pickpockets is best.
  • Water bottle
  • Sunscreen 
  • Aloe Vera
  • Toiletries
  • Quick Dry Towel
  • Insect Repellant
  • Medication
  • Travel First Aid Kit
  • Blister plasters 
  • Camera 
  • Travel Adaptor
  • Power Pack / Battery recharger

Are you traveling to Portugal? Is there a question you have we haven’t answered? Then please leave us a comment below and we will do our best to answer.