Unsure of the best souvenirs from Portugal to take home with you?
This list is jam-packed with Portuguese souvenirs that you can eat, drink, wear or display. From exceptional food souvenirs like olive oil, canned sardines, and pastel de belém, to traveler collectibles, such as fridge magnets and symbolic motifs, there’s an item for just about anyone.
Check out our suggestions for 15 of the best souvenirs to buy in Portugal.
1. Port Wine
Port wine is a natural fortified wine produced exclusively from grapes of the Douro Region in northern Portugal. Although stronger than your average wine, port wine is also sweeter, so Porto locals mostly consume it as a dessert wine. There are four types to pick from, each with its own charm, so make sure to find the one best suited for your palate.
Port wine will surely make for a wonderful Portuguese souvenir to gift a loved one. You can buy it pretty much anywhere, even in the supermarket. But if a port wine cellar tour is on your itinerary, go ahead and splurge a little on the wine tasting, so that you’ll know exactly which to take back home with you.
Price: starting from 5€
2. Cork products
Okay, I know what you may be thinking: “you mean the cork that goes into wine bottles?” – but just hear me out.
Portugal is the world’s leading producer of cork, and it obviously doesn’t all go into sealing bottles. Over time, locals got creative and came up with quirky and interesting ways to put this material to use. You can find coasters, wallets, postcards, and even shoes made out of cork!
Handmade cork products are unique souvenirs in Portugal as two pieces are rarely made the same. They are also widely available; on commercial streets of the main cities, you’ll often hear street vendors vigorously inviting passing tourists to take a look at their carts.
Price: varies, depending on item
3. Olive Oil
So it may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of souvenirs from Portugal, but it will most definitely make a difference in your dish.
Olive oil is the base of Mediterranean cuisine. Its health benefits include its strong antioxidant properties and healthy fats that reduce inflammation. It may even help to treat conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Furthermore, olive oil is used in religious ceremonies, nutritional supplements, hair products, and other cosmetics.
Some consider Portugal’s olive oil to be the best in the world. It’s easily found on supermarket shelves and there are many to choose from. I recommend the traditional Azeite Galo, which grandma always made sure to put on the table, or Oliveira da Serra, my personal favorite.
Price: starting from 3€
4. Ceramic tiles
Azulejo (the Portuguese name for ceramic tile) is a very traditional element of Portuguese architecture and decoration. Its name derives from Arabic, meaning “polished stone” and the tiles were originally meant to imitate the Byzantine and Roman mosaics. Azulejo can be seen all over the major cities of Lisbon and Porto, especially in churches, and its patterns are even used on clothing and accessories.
The popular white and blue tiles in Portugal were influenced by dutch and oriental ceramics. The color blue, especially when paired with yellow, was considered to be synonymous with power and wealth, which is why it’s so vastly represented across the whole Portuguese territory.
Price: varies, depending on item
5. Canned sardines
While some people contort their noses, others swear by a good can of canned sardines. It’s our own traditional version of fast food: some canned sardines with sliced tomatoes and onions. Add a couple of olives, olive oil, and bread to the mix and you’ve got yourself a perfectly Portuguese supper.
Fishing is an important part of the country’s economy and history. Over the years, Portugal has established itself as a canned seafood giant, so if sardines aren’t your favorite seafood, there’s also tuna, octopus, squid, a few other options, and even patés. Most brands offer a pick between olive oil, spicy olive oil, tomato sauce and spicy tomato sauce.
Price: starting from 1€ at supermarkets, 6€ at specialized stores
6. Portuguese soap
This is not the most famous of Portuguese souvenirs, but beauty products can appease anyone. They’re commonly gifted on Christmas or birthdays and there are soaps of every color and scent.
What sets Portuguese soaps apart is the manufacturer’s mastery in addition to the superior quality of ingredients used in the formulas and the legacy of over a century of production.
Oprah herself once endorsed Claus Porto, one of the many brands that specialize in developing unique soaps, along with scented candles, colognes, home diffusers, and more. It’s 100% artisanal and made with love; employees manually wrap the packaging, which displays their own original illustrations.
Price: starting from 3€ at supermarkets
7. Fridge magnets
If you’re like me, you’ll prefer a magnet to any other kind of souvenir. Magnets are small, inexpensive, and easy to find in any destination so many travelers choose to collect them.
You can find Portugal-themed fridge magnets in any of your average Portuguese souvenir shops or in museum stores. If you’re a last-minute shopper, take your pick at the duty-free shops in the airport. There are plenty to choose from: Azulejo tile miniatures, Portuguese symbols, cityscapes… the list goes on.
Price: starting from 2€
8. Barcelos Rooster
The Barcelos Rooster (in Portuguese: Galo de Barcelos) is one of the most recognizable symbols of Portugal. According to local legend, the rooster miraculously rose from death to prove the innocence of a man who had been falsely accused and sentenced to be executed.
You can find the symbol of the rooster on Portuguese souvenirs such as ceramic pieces, magnets, and kitchen towels. Although it’s named after a relatively small municipality, the rooster has definitely crossed the border to become one of the most commonly sought-after Portuguese souvenirs.
Price: varies, depending on item
Read also: 15 Things Portugal is Famous For
9. Pastel de Belém
Portugal’s most famous pastry is conveniently sold in small take-out boxes so you can bring a sweet treat back to your loved ones. The nearly two-century-old egg tart recipe has kept the Pastéis de Belém store open every day since 1837.
The first recipe for the Pastel de Belém was created in 1837 by the monks of the emblematic Monastery of the Jeronimos. To this day, the recipe is kept secret and thus becomes an actual specialty! It was elected one of the 7 Wonders of Portugal’s Gastronomy in 2011, cementing the fame and historical value of the pastry.
If Belém isn’t on your route, you can find similar versions in nearly any pastry shop – and they all taste almost as good as the original.
Price: 6€ for a packet of six
10. Tea towels
You may consider this an odd suggestion for a Portuguese souvenir but if you make a Google search for ‘Portuguese kitchen towels’, you’ll understand why they made it onto this list.
These tea towels have colorful Portuguese symbols, like the Barcelos rooster, as patterns. Some are embroidered by hand and 100% cotton.
One of the variations of these handmade pieces is the ‘lenço dos namorados’, which stands out for the endearing love notes that young village girls used to embroider to gift their significant other. Spelling mistakes can still be found in these messages as it illustrates the lack of instruction of the generation that created it.
Apart from tea towels, you can find similarly-styled tablecloths, placemats, aprons, and oven mitts.
Price: varies, depending on item
11. Leather Shoes
Unlike Spain or Italy, Portugal is not exactly known for its shoe industry. However, that doesn’t mean that their products are inferior when it comes to quality. Ranking second in shoe manufacturing in the European Union, Portuguese shoes appeal to tourists as they’re big-feet friendly, as they’re less narrow than Spanish and Italian shoes.
Most are hand-sewn in small of medium factories. Nevertheless, you don’t have to drop over 100€ for a pair as cheaper yet high-quality models can be found in popular stores like Guimarães and SEASIDE.
Price: starting from 40€
Portugal is one of the world’s largest wine producers. A bottle of green wine makes a great Portuguese souvenir.
Intrigued by the name ‘green wine‘? It actually translates to ‘young wine‘, as it’s released three to six months after the grapes are harvested. The wine may be red, white, or rosé, and it’s usually consumed soon after bottling.
You can find a decent bottle in most supermarkets, but if you’re looking for something more up-scale, look out for a wine cellar.
Price: starting from 3.50€
13. Óbidos Ginja
While on the topic of alcoholic beverages, I might as well introduce you to Ginja de Óbidos. It’s said that visiting the village of Óbidos to pass on trying Ginja is like going to Rome and skipping the Vatican.
Ginja is an almost bitter type of cherry which grows in the valley region of Óbidos. The recipe-maker, Dário Pimpão, describes the concoction as “mild and aromatic, with a balanced alcohol content and velvety texture”.
Plus, it’s a particularly fun drink that’s traditionally served in a small chocolate cup. (Óbidos is well-known in Portugal as the chocolate capital.)
Price: a 0,5L bottle with 12 chocolate cups costs around 20€
Filigrana is a jewelry-making technique in which several thin golden yarns are shaped to create patterns and are welded together, in order to create a larger piece. Its origins are attributed to Middle Eastern merchants who came to Europe to trade, around 2000 BC. But the art has developed greatly since then and Portuguese Filigrana is absolutely one of a kind.
The themes of Filigrana mainly represent nature, religion, and love: fish, shells, and waves for the sea; flowers, clovers, and wreath for nature; crosses, saints, and angels for religious motifs; and by far the most popular, the heart symbols, which of course stands for love.
15. Curated cheeses
Despite its relatively small area, Portugal has a wide variety of curated cheeses. Each region has its own cheese, with unique character and characteristics. These cheeses are set apart by the type of milk, consistency of the paste, taste, and fat content. They can be strong or softer, goat, cow, or sheep… they can be simply accompanied by bread or paired up with good wine.
The cheese king of Portugal is undoubtedly Serra da Estrela. Serra da Estrela cheese dates back to the 12th century. It’s the oldest in Portugal and one of the most famous cheeses in the world. It was always present at the royal table! These days, production remains traditional, as it’s been done for hundreds of years.
Most of the bigger supermarkets keep a pretty extensive selection of regional and national cheeses. Some producers will give you suggestions of what their cheese pairs well with. Also, you may ask a clerk to have a cheese vacuum packed, to make your Portuguese souvenir more travel-friendly.
Now that you’ve seen the best souvenirs from Portugal, it’s time to choose what you will take back home with you. Personally, I suggest pairing up a nice wine and cheese, maybe a couple of cans of sardines with some top-notch Portuguese olive oil, or a new pair of leather shoes, and a cork accessory.
Whatever you decide to go with, it certainly won’t disappoint. Happy travels and happy shopping!
Read also: Portuguese Culture: Customs & Traditions