Portuguese people: 10 interesting facts

Things to know about Portuguese people
Things to know about Portuguese people / Unsplash
16 June 2021, Emma Donaldson

When moving to a new country, whether to study on Erasmus, retire or even with a family, one of the first questions asked is about the people, in this case, the people of Portugal. What are Portuguese people like? What are the Portuguese known for? Are Portuguese people welcoming? We aim to answer these questions and many more by looking at 10 interesting facts about Portuguese people, a step away from the usual Portuguese stereotypes to prepare you for your new life in Portugal.

Family is very important in Portugal

Family is everything in Portugal, and traditions such as long Sunday lunches with family are going strong to this day. As a result, many young people tend to live with their parents for longer instead of moving out when going to university and wait until at least their mid-twenties. On top of all of this, Portugal is also a great place to move to for families, with most Portuguese cities boasting an excellent family-friendly atmosphere. 

Portuguese people don’t always arrive on time

While this is a generalisation and there will be many extremely punctual Portuguese people, it's very normal for Portuguese people to arrive 10/15 minutes late for a coffee, for example. Along the same lines, a lack of punctuality is also can often also be observed in Portugal's public transport. So, if you're running 5 minutes late, don't worry, since the person you are meeting is probably even further behind. 

Portuguese people are welcoming, easy-going and friendly

Portuguese people are known for being a very welcoming nation and receive other people with great joy. While first impressions in some cases may tell you otherwise, the majority of Portuguese people will make you feel right at home and will happily go out of their way to help, making them great hosts. As in all countries, there are some differences in the people depending on where you are, and in Portugal you'll see clear differences between those from the city and the countryside, and even between people from the north of the country and the Algarve. 

Portugal people are proud of their country and culture

It is no secret that Portuguese people are very patriotic and are proud of their country and culture in so many ways. They love showing their country off to tourists and count it as a privilege when people choose to visit or move to Portugal. This also includes the Portuguese language which is proudly spoken, although Portuguese people also generally speak English quite well, as well as being incredibly supportive of the achievements of famous Portuguese people, Cristiano Ronaldo probably topping the list. 

Food is very important for Portuguese people

The Portuguese are very proud of their gastronomy and love showing it off. Generally the food in Portugal is healthy and focuses on fresh produce, with fresh fish and meat often taking centre stage. This Mediterranean diet once again varies greatly across the country, with the coastal regions favouring fish dishes and the famous "bacalhau", while other parts of the country pride themselves in local cheeses. No matter where you are in Portugal, you're sure to enjoy wonderful, fresh meals that the locals are very proud of! 

Coffee is an important part of life for the Portuguese

As well as food, coffee is also a very important part of life for the Portuguese, but not so much for the beverage itself, rather for the time spent over a coffee catching up with friends and family. Whether its before work, during your afternoon break or at the weekend, Portuguese people will always find time to sit down for a coffee and a chat.

Portuguese people like to talk

The Portuguese are generally a talkative bunch, and whether it's over a coffee or by inviting you for dinner, when you move to Portugal, the locals will have lots of questions for you. This means that it's pretty easy to make friends in Portugal, as in turn, the Portuguese will also be very happy to tell you about their country and culture, as mentioned above.

English (and other languages) are widely spoken in Portugal

While it's always a good idea to learn some Portuguese if you're going to move to Portugal, the Portuguese have a good reputation when it comes to speaking other languages and will always do their best to communicate with foreigners. Almost all young people, and a lot of older people too, will speak English, and like to be able to communicate with those who visit their country. You'll also find that some older people have a good level of French, while nowadays, it's compulsory to learn at least 2 languages at school in Portugal.

Portuguese people love football

Football is Portugal's most popular national sport and evokes intense emotion among almost the entire population. When the national team plays, the whole country comes out in support, and everyone is incredibly proud of the footballers that Portugal has produced that are now known throughout the world; Eusébio, Luís Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo to name just a few. 

Weird things about Portuguese people

Like in every country, Portuguese people have their quirks and unique traits, and there are also some weird things that Portuguese people do (in the eyes of foreigners, at least). From always greeting people with a kiss, to considering it rude to eat in the street, here you can find out some of the weirdest things that Portguese people do.

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