Souvenirs can be more than just a way to show a loved one you thought of them during your vacations. It can also be a gift to yourself to always remember a special trip. So, I have prepared a list of the best Portugal souvenirs to help you pick the perfect present either for yourself your family or friends.
After years of being overlooked by tourists, Portugal is now one of Europe’s most popular vacation destinations, attracting visitors from all around the globe. Not to mention that Lisbon has become a very popular destination among digital nomads as well.
And the country’s popularity is well-deserved. In addition to its beautiful scenery, outstanding wines, and delicious cuisine, the Portuguese people are very warm and welcoming.
Portugal is indeed a cosmopolitan destination with fantastic sights and a wealth of both historical and natural attractions.
Portugal is also a very safe destination, very suitable for solo travelers and family alike at any time of the year. The best way to visit is to hit the road and enjoy a Portugal Itinerary to optimize your time and see as much as you can.
And after you visit all the major Portugal landmarks and beautiful sites, you will see why anyone who visits Portugal will fall in love with the destination. And you will do too.
Among other things, you will also appreciate the local arts and crafts besides all the culinary goodies some of which you can bring home as a souvenir.
That’s why I put together this list of the most amazing souvenirs from Portugal to help you find the perfect gift to bring home.
So, be sure to save some space in your suitcase for these cool Portugal souvenirs when deciding on your Portugal packing list.
Grab your Portugal travel guide
15 unique Portugual souvenirs
It seems silly, but souvenirs can become a big “problem” during your trip. When it is time to buy them, you might end up spending a lot of money or not knowing what to buy. And what is worse, when it is time to put them in the suitcase, it counts as extra weight.
So, a tip that is worth gold: do not let yourself get too excited by the impulse to buy souvenirs when you are visiting tourist attractions.
Usually, we get carried away and pay more for things that are not worth it, such as those cliché key changes and fridge magnets.
Keep in mind that the best places to buy those authentic Portuguese souvenirs from local artisans are normally the small and local shops.
By the way, making a list of the souvenirs you want to take from Portugal can also help a lot.
So, to help you out, here is a list of the 15 best souvenirs from Portugal!
Portugal is one of the world’s largest wine producers. A bottle of Port Wine or Vinho Verde (green wine), is guaranteed to be a success. In supermarkets, you can find a wide variety of brands at good prices.
For a specialized service, look for a wine store.
With more than 20 certified regions and a huge number of national grape types, Portugal is one of the world’s greatest wine producers.
In Portugal, you do not choose the wine exactly by the type of grape (unless you are a great expert) but by the region where it is produced.
- The most famous red wines are from the Douro Valley and Alentejo.
- Vinho Verde is usually from Minho and the most famous brand is Casal Garcia.
- Sparkling wine in Portugal is synonymous of the Bairrada region.
- And the most famous “sweet” wines are, obviously, Port Wine and Madeira Wine. Interestingly, these are known as dessert wine!
Portugal is a world reference when it comes to olive oil production. Soe of the best olive oil in the world is produced there! So how about taking advantage of your trip and taking olive oil home?
Besides the traditional Galo, there are different varieties of brands, and you can find many of them for a low price at grocery stores. Obviously, in specialized stores, you will find differentiated products and support in the purchase.
Some tips for choosing a good olive oil are:
- Remember that olive oil is not a product that can be aged. It should be consumed within 18 months.
- The olive oil you buy must be “Extra Virgin” or “Virgin“.
- In Portugal, there are six types of olive oil with Protected Designation of Origin certification: Moura, Trás-os-Montes, Beiras, Alentejo Interior, Norte Alentejano, and Ribaltejo. Any of these will be of superior quality.
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Canned and Preserved Food
The fish canning industry in Portugal is one of the oldest and most famous in the world, producing tons of products per year.
This is mainly because fishing is an economic activity of great importance that goes along with Portuguese history.
The canned food, of good quality, is a reference and a souvenir from Portugal that everyone loves to receive (food is always a welcomed gift)!
In supermarkets, you can find a wide variety of conserves, at a very accessible price. Another option is to buy in a specialized store, such as the Conserveira de Lisboa.
With an increase in popularity, canned food stores are capricious in their decoration and packaging to attract the public to these delicacies.
The store “O Mundo Fantástico da Sardinha Portuguesa” is an excellent example of this.
Interestingly, there are many varieties of canned goods besides the traditional sardines and tuna. You can also find codfish, octopus, squid, mackerel, and mussels.
And even the traditional cans have different flavors: natural, with olive oil, with tomato sauce, spicy, with onions, with beans, with chickpeas, and so on.
I can say that no gift has ever pleased my family as much as these special cans. Not to mention that it is much easier to carry cans than it is to take glass bottles of olive oil or wine.
Pastel de Belém or custard tarts
We all know that pastéis de nata are the most traditional Portuguese sweets and no one makes them like the Confeitaria dos Pastéis de Belém, in Lisbon.
They were the official creators back in 1837 and keep the original recipe a secret. Warm and sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar, Pastéis de Belém make passers-by do not mind waiting a long time in the queue to try one.
Around 10 thousand pastéis de Belém are sold every day! They are so famous that the bakery became one of the most popular Portugal landmarks.
And if going to Belém is off your route, my tip is to take a box of the pastéis de nata from Manteigaria – Fábrica de Pastéis de Nata.
Be it goat, sheep, cow, or mixed, be it matured or fresh, Portugal is a producer country of excellent cheese. Some of the best cheese include.
- Sheep’s Cheese from Azeitão from Setúbal.
- Transmontano Goat Cheese from Trás-Os-Montes and Alto Douro.
- Queijo da Serra da Estrela, which is the oldest Portuguese cheese.
But in my opinion, the best Portuguese cheese comes from the Azores. Queijo São Jorge (or better known as Queijo da Ilha) is the most famous cheese from the Azores.
Even though it is from the island of São Jorge, it is easy to find in any of the other islands of the archipelago.
This is a matured cheese, made with raw cow milk, integral and pasteurized, and matured for 3 to 24 months. I love to eat it pure, as an appetizer, because it has that special spicy touch.
The sour cherry liquor, ginjinha, is a very typical drink from Portugal. The fruit is obtained from the maceration of the sour cherry, similar to the cherry itself, which is widely grown in the Óbidos region.
Its liqueur is strong but delicious and a bottle of Ginjinha is yet another great souvenir idea to take home from Portugal.
Besides being related to Óbidos, it also has Lisbon as a reference, where it is much appreciated by locals and visitors.
Ginjinha is one of the city’s main gastronomic attractions when it comes to drinks.
In fact, Ginjinha do Largo de São Domingos was the first establishment to sell the drink, back in 1840.
In some places, the liquor is drunk in a chocolate glass, which fits very well since ginjinha has a taste of spices, such as cinnamon.
It is also customary to serve Ginjinha with a tanned fruit at the bottom of the glass (“with them”), or pure (“without them”).
So, your waiter will probably ask: “com elas ou sem elas?”
Cork is a natural product, ecological, sustainable, and used in many different industries including coverings, acoustics, thermal isolations, and many more. This is because cork remains unchanged for a long time.
And curiously, Portugal is the world’s largest producer of cork in the world! For instance, in 2020 alone, Portugal produced an average of 40 million corks a day.
The country was responsible for more than half of the world’s production and to reach such an accomplishment, producers harvested about 100,000 tons of cork.
When we talk about cork, we usually think of wine corks.
But in Portugal, the material has come to have several other uses. Wallets, fridge magnets, postcards, purses, and even shoes made of cork are some of the options.
These are tips for unique and original souvenirs from Portugal. For instance, I once received a bookmark entirely made of cork directly from Lisbon!
Ceramic Tiles or Azulejo Souvenirs
What used to be essential for cooling down houses in the past is now one of the best souvenirs from Portugal.
The tile (or, “azulejo”) is one of the most distinctive signatures of Portuguese culture. In fact, Portugal is considered the tile capital of the world.
The constitution of many of the Portuguese buildings and public spaces are decorated and complemented with the figures represented in these blue-toned spaces. In many of them, the history and memory of thousands of Lusitanians are represented.
In practical terms, the Portuguese tile is designated by a square ceramic plate, of little thickness, generally in the measures 6×6 in or in smaller formats. This artifact has one of its faces decorated and glazed.
The tiles fill the streets of Portugal with color and their patterns are already printed on clothes, backpacks, wallets, etc. Besides the printed pieces, it is also possible to take Portuguese tiles as souvenirs.
However, I do not recommend buying tiles in street markets, where it is difficult to guarantee the legal origin of the pieces.
Some places to buy tiles with legal origin in Lisbon are the stores Fábrica Sant’Anna and the antique store Solar, for example. The Azulejo Museum store is also another option!
Aside from ceramic tiles, Portugal is also known for traditional ceramics in general. Portuguese ceramics come in all shapes and sizes.
Ceramic is one of the oldest materials produced by man and allows for countless options of design pieces.
They range from simple plates to olive dishes or even the popular “assador de barro”, a Portuguese mini griller for sausages.
Even though they are usually heavy objects to carry and could possibly break into your suitcase, they are a useful souvenir and very pretty.
And I have my own personal ceramic mug given to me by a friend who included Ceramica Paraiso, close to Sagres, in her Algarve itinerary.
Soaps are a beauty product that pleases many people. So why not take a fragrant souvenir from Lisbon? Portuguese soaps cross generations and are a special souvenir.
Before the heyday of the washerwomen in the early 20th century, there was already a lot of history about national soap making in Portugal, dating back to the second half of the 16th century.
The main responsible for such success is the Portuguese olive oil which is up until today the main base for the Portuguese soaps.
Claus Porto‘s soaps have even been recommended by TV host Oprah! Another suggestion is Castelbel, which has beautiful packaging.
But my personal favorite is the Lavanda solid soap from Ach Brito Soaps, which you can find in any grocery store across the country.
This is not exactly a souvenir to take home but rather to send from Portugal. It might seem old-school but there is nothing like receiving a hand-written letter, right?
I have a weak spot when it comes to postcards, and I always make sure to buy some wherever I go. I like sending them just as much as receiving them.
So, I always pick them out carefully and write about my day while having a cup of coffee or cold beer.
This is the perfect souvenir to tell someone you were thinking about them during your trip and not spend a lot of money.
Not to mention, they take absolutely no space in your suitcase!
For friends who are passionate about literature, what could be better than a book, such as by Fernando Pessoa, coming directly from the poet’s hometown?
Or, perhaps you are more of a Saramago fan or even Camões.
Well, then head to Livraria Bertrand, in Lisbon. This is also the oldest open bookstore in the world, with a title recognized by the Guinness World Records.
The tiled façade and its interior structure are already worth the visit. But if you buy a book there, do not forget to ask for the store’s stamp on the first page.
And if you cannot find a book in your language, you can always just buy a personalized bookmarker made of cork, combining two of the Portuguese aspects: literature and cork!
For a gift for someone special, how about some Portuguese jewelry?
In all the major Portuguese cities, you will find plenty of shops selling wonderful jewelry. The main reason behind the fame of such souvenirs is the Portuguese filigree.
Traditional from the town of Viana do Castelo, in the north of Portugal, it is an intricate and small form of metalwork used in jewelry.
It came back into the limelight when the actress Sharon Stone caused a furor by showing off a huge filigree heart, a gift she received in Portugal.
Pendants and earrings are some of the most popular filigree pieces. And if you are looking for a more affordable option, many stores sell silver filigree pieces, which are cheaper.
Cloths, kitchen towels, and clothing
Other very nice souvenirs from Portugal are the cloths and tea towels, printed or embroidered with motifs reminiscent of the country, which are usually very colorful.
Among the most popular are the cloths with the famous Barcelos Rooster, a symbol of Portugal.
But the most popular souvenirs in this niche are hand-embroidered handkerchiefs.
Traditional from the Minho region, these handkerchiefs have love verses that were embroidered by the young girls to give to their loved ones back in the day.
The spelling mistakes, which demonstrate the lack of education of the passionate young ladies of that time, are retained in today’s handkerchiefs.
Barcelos Rooster Statue
The rooster is considered the symbol of Portugal because it is traditionally associated with positive things and virtues.
It can be found on many secular church facades in Portugal, for example.
Historically, the shadow and the dark represented evil in past centuries.
Day and sunrise, on the other hand, represent the victory of good, of light over darkness.
And the crowing of the rooster represents this victory, for it announces the birth of a new day, guaranteeing the victory of good.
The Barcelos rooster (or Galo de Barcelos, in Portuguese) is an easy-to-find item available in any souvenir store in Portugal.
You can find it in almost every city in the country, especially in northern Portugal since the city of Barcelos is very close to Braga.
The prices of the Barcelos rooster range from 1€ to 100€ depending on the size and the material the rooster is made of.
Many tourists prefer to buy the metal or iron version, as it is easier to carry in their suitcase and to ensure that it does not break during air travel.