Renowned for its incredible weather throughout most of the year, Lisbon is one of Europe’s sunniest and warmest cities, making it a great winter family destination if you’re looking for a getaway closer to home. That’s just one of the reasons why I love visiting Lisbon in the winter… Have a look at my last post for inspiration on visiting Lisbon during Christmas, and use my Lisbon weather guide when planning your trip.
Keeping in mind that it is winter and rain may fall at some point during your holiday, I wanted to share my essential packing list to make sure you’ve got it all covered.
What to pack when visiting Lisbon in Winter
Travelling with babies
It’s not my demographic anymore (sniff!), but when my son was a baby I used to pack two days’ worth of nappies and pick up the rest at the airport’s Boots – baby snacks and milk for the flight (Tip: you can actually call the shop in advance to make sure some is set aside for you, to avoid yours and baby’s meltdown if they don’t have any left) and of course, the most important thing in any parents’ life: baby wipes!
If you need to pick up baby essentials in Lisbon then avoid pharmacies unless you want to spend a pretty penny, and head to a supermarket where you’ll find all the familiar brands like Pampers (Dodot in Portugal) and Huggies. The Pingo Doce supermarket’s own brand are also very good.
Leave the buggy at home. Lisbon’s narrow cobbled streets are postcard-pretty and enemies of buggies. I highly recommend taking a baby carrier (I loved my Ergo), or if your baby doesn’t like being carried and you need a stroller, plan your day to avoid going uphill too much (Alfama is one of the worst areas for this) too much.
Packing cubes! I love them, love them, love them! Packing cubes were a game changer when we were travelling around the world last year, maximising every inch of space in our suitcase and ensuring our clothes were kept tidy and separate. Now I always use them when going on holiday – they are lifesavers when travelling as a family.
Suncream! It’s easy to neglect to pack a good suncream during the winter months, but it’s so important to wear it – the sun shines through just as much when you’re out exploring the city as when you’re lazing on a beach. As a family, we love the Soltan suncare range, not only for their 5* UVA rating but also as I’m prone to forget one thing or the other and will always have to pick some up at Gatwick airport’s Boots! I always wear the SoltanOnce 30spf face cream to make sure those pesky UVA rays don’t get through – come rain or shine. We all know kids aren’t too keen on suncream, so I just make a game out of using the Soltan active face and lips stick which offers great protection from both the sun and colder elements.
Medical kit! You know the basics, and I’m sure you always packed the medicine cabinet when your kids were babies, but hands-up who takes a more relaxed approached now the kids are all grown-up? When C was a baby I always carried baby Calpol with me (you never know when a fever is going to show up), but nowadays I only bring the essentials on holiday – my medical bag always has a few plasters, Savlon, some Lemsip, and a re-energise vitamin supplement for me – I love these Mango flavoured effervescent ones! If you do need to visit a chemist while on holiday in Lisbon here is a list of pharmacies, and here’s a handy website where you can find 24hr pharmacies.
What to wear?
Lisbon’s average winter temperatures range from 8c to a balmy 18c so packing accordingly will save you an emergency trip to the shops (in between Christmas markets) to pick up a swimsuit, or if you’re really unlucky a rain poncho! Here are my must-haves for kids as well as grown-ups!
Layers! A trick one needs to learn when living in the UK, especially in Brighton where we see all four seasons in one day, is to wear lots of layers.
A couple of long sleeve t-shirts will keep the kids cool enough when the sun is hot but also protect them from the city’s wind.
To keep you toasty, a few light jumpers are a good move. I’d suggest packing a few thin jumpers to keep your bag light,
I don’t think a bulky winter coat is necessary in Lisbon, but I like to keep my kid dry and warm with a 3 in 1 type of coat – rain and wind-proof, with a detachable fleece inside which is easily adaptable to the changing weather.
To protect you from the rare eventuality of very low temperatures in Lisbon, I recommend packing a thin thermal t-shirt as a lightweight backup.
A swimsuit! I know, I know it may sound too optimistic for a winter break so close to the UK, but I promise you and your kid will want to paddle in the sea when the sun is shining through. Nevermind the locals wearing scarfs and winter coats, it’s 16c in December – jump in that water!
Lisbon is rather windy, especially if you make it to the beaches, so a hat is recommended to keep those little ears warm.
Is there anything that you always pack for your winter holiday that I have missed? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add a special section with readers’ suggestions!
nb: This post has been sponsored by Boots, but as always all opinions are my own.