Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

Portugal has a rich and diversified culture that dates back centuries. Portugal has been impacted by numerous cultures over the years, from the ancient Romans to the Moors. This has resulted in a distinct and lively culture all its own.

As you travel across this fascinating country, it is critical to handle the cultural intricacies with grace. From mastering the art of savoring port wine to perfecting Portuguese hand signals, this guide will teach you all you need to know to fit in with the natives.

Let us now immerse ourselves in the beautiful tapestry of Portuguese cultural knowledge!

1. Greetings With A Kiss

In Portugal, greetings are frequently accompanied by a kiss on the cheek. Kissing friends, family, and even acquaintances is a prevalent cultural practice. It is crucial to remember, however, that the number of kisses may vary depending on the region.

a mother kissing her daughter on the cheek

Some cultures expect two kisses, while others may expect three or even four. This practice symbolizes the Portuguese people’s warmth and kindness. Embracing this custom encourages visitors to become immersed in the local culture and form pleasant relationships with the locals.

2. Superstitions About Knives

Visitors to Portugal should be mindful of superstitions related to knives. Giving someone a knife is considered bad luck since it is said to sever the link between the donor and the receiver. If you receive a knife as a present, it is customary to return a penny to the sender to indicate that you purchased the knife from them.

 Superstitions About Knives

Furthermore, losing a knife is thought to bring bad luck or indicate a future argument. You can negotiate the cultural subtleties of Portugal with sensitivity and respect if you are aware of these superstitions and respect local beliefs.

3. Remember The Number 112

The emergency phone number is 112, which links you to police, fire, and ambulance services. Dialing 112 will ensure a rapid response if you are in a medical emergency, witness a crime, or require immediate assistance.

It is a global emergency number that is recognised across the European Union, including Portugal. By remembering this number, you can have peace of mind knowing that assistance is only a phone call away in the event of any unforeseen difficulties during your stay in Portugal.

4. Keep Your Hands Visible On Table

When dining or conversing in Portugal, it is customary to keep your hands exposed on the table. This cultural standard represents candor and transparency. Resting your hands on the table, with your wrists showing, indicates that you are actively involved in the conversation.

It also contributes to a sense of trust and transparency. By adopting this easy custom, you may show your appreciation for Portuguese manners while also improving your relationships with locals, generating a warm and friendly environment.

Keep Your Hands Visible On Table

5. Don’t Cut Breads

In Portuguese culture, bread is customarily served whole and laid on the table for everyone to eat. Cutting the bread oneself is considered disrespectful because it is perceived as a function intended for the host. Instead, tear a piece of bread with your hands and serve it with your meal.

This modest gesture shows respect for local customs and that you are immersed in Portugal’s traditions and culinary culture. So, avoid the impulse to cut the bread and instead savor it as it is designed to be consumed.

6. Respect The Fish

Respect for fish is an essential component of Portuguese culture, profoundly established in the country’s nautical customs and gastronomic heritage. When visiting Portugal, it is essential to recognize the importance of fish in the local food system and economy.

This includes treating fish with the highest respect, whether through eating fresh seafood, learning about sustainable fishing practices, or supporting local fishing communities.

Respect The Fish

Visitors can enjoy the flavors of the sea while also contributing to the preservation of this essential cultural and natural resource by understanding the role of fish in Portuguese culture.

7. Don’t Bargain In Shops

In Portugal, it is not common practice to bargain or negotiate prices in stores. Unlike in other nations where haggling is widespread, retail culture in Portugal is more centered on fixed pricing. When shopping, it is wise to accept the listed price without attempting to bargain.

It is worth mentioning, however, that in some local markets or flea markets, a tiny amount of bargaining may be permissible. Nonetheless, it is customary and expected to pay the advertised amount in most normal retail businesses without engaging in any negotiation tactics.

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8. Practice Caution At The Beach

It is critical to exercise caution when visiting Portugal’s beautiful beaches in order to have a safe and happy experience. Keep an eye out for local beach flags and heed the directions they provide. Follow the instructions of the lifeguards and swim only in specified areas.

Because the Atlantic Ocean has strong currents, it is critical to respect the power of the waves. Be mindful of slippery surfaces when exploring rocky places. Additionally, use sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun and stay hydrated.

You may relax and completely appreciate Portugal’s coastline beauty by exercising prudence at the beach.

Practice Caution At The Beach

9. Be Aware Of Tourist Traps

It is critical to be mindful of tourist traps that may entice unwary travelers. While the country has incredible views and experiences to offer, some establishments may overcharge or deliver mediocre services to tourists.

To prevent falling into these traps, conduct preliminary study and planning, get suggestions from locals or reputable sources, and check pricing to ensure fair deals. Accept authentic local experiences and walk off the main road to uncover Portugal’s true charm. You can have a more real and rewarding exploration of this wonderful country if you are cautious and discerning.


Ultimately, adopting cultural knowledge while visiting Portugal will not only enrich your travel experience but also help you develop a stronger connection with the country and its people. You may demonstrate your admiration for Portugal’s rich legacy and establish memorable interactions with the locals by observing local customs, traditions, and etiquette.

Immersing oneself in Portuguese culture opens doors to new perspectives and improves your journey, from savoring traditional cuisine to participating in festival celebrations.


By Lala