Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

This post was inspired by the one that I did about the Italians, that was related with my experience in Milan, during almost three months: “10 Thins to known about the Italians”. In my opinion this can be interesting for students that are thinking of going to Lisbon or any other Portuguese city. I wish I had a post like this, when I was looking for some information about the potential Erasmus destinations.

So, I will write a Portuguese version, in case you’re thinking about choosing my country, or even my city as destine. Without further delay, here you have the 10 things about Portuguese people!

1 – Portuguese are great hosts:

Portuguese have the habit of receiving well other people! Specially the mothers and the grannies. Going to have lunch or dinner in a Portuguese house, means to watch the whole preparation of a full and well elaborated menu, as well as the decoration of the place, that is payed a lot of attention to. Pleasing the visitors is its main goal, and they want to guarantee they have the best experience possible.

There’s always lots of food and its so tasty, besides it’s confection lasts for hours. They are going to be extremely nice and will ask several times if you like everything, or if you need anything else. It’s kind if you give a complement to the host. It’s also common to bring a little gift to them. Flowers, can be a good idea, if it’s a more formal invite, or if you’re going to give it to a women. If it’s a simple lunch or dinner, the best thing you can bring them a bottle of wine or a homemade dessert.

2 – Portuguese people are big defenders of their gastronomy:

Besides all this globalisation, Portuguese don’t abandon their gastronomical routs. In the Portuguese families’ kitchens, the traditional dish is codfish, (“bacalhau” like we call it), and it can be cooked in so many ways, but it is all the time salty or soaked.

10 Things about the Portuguese people!

Bacalhau à Brás (One way to prepare Codfish)

The Portuguese food is Mediterranean, it’s healthy and balanced food, focused on the right choice of good products. The cuisine is really different region from region, so talking about Portuguese food is generally it’s not correct. Some more common products are the cheese, the meat products and the fresh fish. However, for example, the regions closer to the sea have a gastronomy more focused on seafood and fish as well. As contrarily to the region of “Trás os Montes”, a northern region (a long the border with Spain) the most traditional plate it’s “alheira”, more or less like a traditional stuffed sausage.

The elaboration is also a well hidden secret, specially the most traditional one. All over the country you can find different and delicious recipes that are a must. For example, the “Ovos Moles” (soft eggs) from Aveiro, or the “Pudding” from Abade de Priscos (centre of Portugal). But, of course, the typical one is the “Pastel de Nata”, that is a good suggestion as a souvenir.

3 – Portuguese people LOVE football:

Football is the national Portuguese sport, just like the rugby it’s for the New Zealand people (the Kiwi). The national football competition is really competitive, and its always between the major teams: FC Porto, SLBenfica e SportingCB. On Sundays, the families and the groups of friends go to the stadiums to watch the football matches, instead of staying at home. Otherwise they gather at someone’s house, in their dining room, and watch the match for 90 minutes.

When the national team plays, you can feel this wave of national support, and, recently, the Portuguese team won the European Championship, and every city did a big celebration, and some of their supporters went to the airport to congratulate the players. This sport gathers together a lot of people and that makes this an even bigger celebration.

10 Things about the Portuguese people!

Celebration of Benfica’s supporters in the Square of Marquês do Pombal – Source:

In Lisbon, when Benfica win the National Championship – usually this competition is in the end of May – they close all the Square of Marquês do Pombal and thousands of supporters gather here to celebrate the victory, and they come to see the national bus of the team arriving to the capital. It’s a read sea, full of fans and that has its own beauty.

4 – Portuguese are good speakers in others languages:

Portuguese known that their language is not that common. Especially in Europe, no other country has Portuguese as an official language and it is not taught as a second language nor part of school classes.

In Portugal, especially since much of the country’s wealth is created through tourism, they strive to learn other languages ​​so they can communicate, sell or carry “water to their mill”, a traditionally say in Portugal.

In schools, it is now compulsory to learn at least two languages, and English is compulsory. It is also very common for the older generations to speak French, since this was the first language to be taught at that time. Even if they don’t speak the language, the Portuguese will make an effort and smile, using everything they can to allow and facilitate communication with foreigners. I confess that, exceptionally, with Spanish we get a little annoyed when they don’t understand Portuguese or don’t try very hard for it.

5 – The Portuguese like to talk:

Of course, everyone is different. However, the Portuguese are traditionally open, gossiping and conversational people. If necessary, find someone on the street who is friendly and helps with some indication. It will also not be difficult to make friends in college. At least for me, we tend to be very welcoming with international students and to “talk”, because you have curiosity to know a little more about their countries and their cultures.

This is also an excellent feature to focus on learning Portuguese. This effort will always be appreciated, not judged and sometimes they will give you some tips to improve.

6 – Normally the Portuguese give two kisses:

Although we are not as close in terms of fixed contact as a Southern Italian, there is no great ceremony in regards to greetings.

It is extremely common that as soon as people are introduced, give two kisses, starting from the right side. Men usually shake hands or hug in the case of close relationships. In more formal encounters, for example, related to professional matters, the handshake is the socially accepted gesture.

7 – The Portuguese aren’t the most punctual people:

The Portuguese tend not to cherish punctuality, but of course, this is also a question that varies from person to person. Delays of 10/15 minutes are common in banal combinations such as a coffee break between friends or a birthday lunch or dinner.

Just like people, public transportation and other services are also somewhat unpredictable, and may not be very time-consuming, however, there is nothing like arriving at times to avoid hassles.

8 – The Portuguese value the family:

Like most of the more southern peoples, is really important for the Portuguese the act of sharing and family reunion. Sunday’s family lunches are common, but during the week family members also tend to gather to have dinner all at the same time. There is a great proximity between people and the family is a way that provides as a system of support and support whenever necessary.

9 – The Portuguese pause for coffee:

Nothing like a coffee break for the Portuguese. Just in the morning, before you start work; after lunch; in the middle of the afternoon… anyway, all hours are good for a short break and an exchange of words.

10 Things about the Portuguese people!

Coffee Shop “A Brasileira” – Source:

Coffee is a social activity and it is an excuse for everything: to find a colleague that you haven’t seen for a few months, a small work meeting, among others. Generally, it’s called a “bia” – name given to a short espresso in Lisbon – and sugar comes apart. The prices are around €0, 50 to €0, 70, for one coffee, depending on where it is taken.

10 – The Portuguese are patriotic:

The Portuguese are proud of their country, however small and unnoticed it may be. They will always recommend new things to see and hidden places where you can spend a good time in national land. They are also very happy to share their culture and traditions. Live to Portugal!


By Lala