Image of street in Portugal with white buildings and yellow and blue trim on sunny day while traveling gluten free in portugal.

Your Guide Gluten Free in Portugal

Portugal is such a beautiful destination with so many historic cities and towns to explore. Whether you’re exploring the hilly streets and stunning buildings in Lisbon or enjoying the wine port of Porto, there’s no lack of adventure or sights to see in this European country. However, you may wonder, is Portugal gluten free friendly? If you have a gluten allergy or Celiac disease, it’s important to be prepared to navigate meal times during your trip to Portugal. The good news is, there are a variety of gluten free Portugal options! Consider this blog post your complete gluten free guide to Portugal, full of dining tips, considerations, and gluten free delights for any time of day. 

If you’re looking for more information and tips on traveling in Portugal with food allergies, check out this blog post

Traveling in Portugal with Food Allergies

What is the APC (Portugal Celiac Association)?

If you are planning a gluten free trip to Portugal, you’ll be pleased to know that the APC (Portugal Celiac Association) plays a key role in ensuring gluten free and Celiac travelers have safe options available to them. Their tourism website is a great resource to reference when planning your trip to Portugal. 

This website offers comprehensive information in one place on where to buy gluten free products and groceries, what the gluten free symbol is, and more information on food labeling, communicating your allergies and needs, and a map of where to find gluten free options. It also outlines which eateries are certified gluten free by the APC (which is important to look for if you have Celiac disease). Bookmark this website as it will serve as a trusted resource in your Portuguese vacation!

There are several fully gluten free restaurants as well as APC certified gluten free restaurants in Portugal, especially in the cities of Lisbon and Porto. If you have Celiac, I highly recommend looking for APC certified eateries. 

There are also gluten free restaurants that are NOT suitable for those with Celiac due to potential cross-contamination, so be sure to do your restaurant research ahead of time to verify kitchen protocols and choose the best options for your needs. 


Wheat Free vs. Gluten Free in Portugal

When navigating food allergies, especially in other countries, there’s no such thing as asking too many questions, doing too much research, or being too prepared. There is a big difference between gluten free and wheat free. Dishes that are wheat free may still contain gluten due to cross-contamination or hidden sources. It is always better to be safe rather than sorry, so be sure that the items you choose are both gluten and wheat free if you have Celiac disease or a severe wheat allergy. 

If you are gluten-sensitive or intolerant, you can discuss the best options with your doctor, but ultimately, I wouldn’t risk your vacation and enjoyment by trying foods you’re not 100% sure about. 


How To Eat Gluten Free in Portugal

Portugal’s culinary landscape focuses on fresh, locally sourced ingredients, which can make finding safe options a bit easier for those with a gluten allergy or Celiac disease. On-the-go meals or snacks can be found in grocery stores but it can be overwhelming  to verify manufacturing protocols on the spot, so I always recommend packing your own or researching local brands ahead of time, that way you feel more comfortable navigating grocery stores upon arrival.

You can look for grocery items that are marked with the gluten free sticker indicating it is safe for Celiacs and/or items that are labeled, “isento de glúten” or “sem gluten,” which means gluten free in Portuguese. 

Being a country on the water, Portugal is a popular fish destination, therefore, fish is found on many menus. However, there are also a ton of other local cuisines available too. 

With the right preparation, Portugal is definitely possible for travelers navigating gluten allergies and Celiac disease. Aim to stay in larger towns to have more options, and thus, give you more confidence in your dining experiences. Be sure to bring your Celiac Travel Card in Portuguese as well as your food allergy chef card

Now, let’s take a peek at how to eat gluten free in Portugal at any time of day!


Gluten-Free Breakfast

It’s always a good idea to reach out to hotels ahead of time to inquire about their gluten free breakfast options. You may also feel more comfortable booking an apartment or other accommodation with a kitchen to cook your own breakfast, as gluten tends to be more present in morning pastries and meals. 

Research restaurants to see which ones offer gluten free bread for avocado toast or other tasty breakfast items. There are also a few places that offer gluten free pastel de nata custards, an iconic Portuguese pastry that is delicious with a morning cup of coffee. 

Image of pastel de nata custards, an iconic Portuguese pastry that is delicious with a morning cup of coffee.
Pastel de nata custards with coffee


Gluten-Free Lunch

At lunch time, Portugal offers an array of grilled meats with roasted potatoes, vegetables, and rice, which are always great options to consider. There are many types of sandwiches on menus, such as bifanas. Just be sure to verify if you can get this made on gluten free bread. Arroz de Pato is another tasty dish that can be made with duck or seafood. 

Bifana in portugal
Bifana in Portugal.

Gluten-Free Dinner

Dinner menus in Portugal will be similar to lunch menus, with several seafood, potato, vegetable, and rice combinations. Bolinhos de Bacalhau and bacalhau are traditional Portuguese meals that are more filling and great for a dinner option after a long day of exploring. 

Bolinhos de Bacalhau, gluten free dinner in portugal
Bolinhos de Bacalhau

I hope this post has helped ease your mind at the possibility of planning a gluten free Portugal vacation! With the right preparation, restaurant research, your food allergy chef card in tow, and an idea of what menu items to look out for, you’ll be well on your way to an enjoyable trip!


If you’d feel more comfortable having the peace of mind that your trip is completely planned for you according to your allergies and needs, visit my contact page to learn more about my full-service travel planning, where I’ll tailor your itinerary to your gluten free needs, from restaurants to accommodations, and more!


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