If there is anything that characterizes Portugal, is the character and customs of its people. Personality is certainly not something this great country lacks of. Here are some of the things I’ve picked up from living in Lisbon that called my attention so far
The sun plays an important role in the life of the Portuguese. Much of them believe that watching sunsets is a good moment for reflection and for thinking of all that is going on with our busy lives. Whether you become a surfer and spend your days by the sea or head to local ‘miradouros’ every chance you get, it’s easy to get used to the year-round sunny days. Coffees and restaurants offer terrace seating; rooftop bars are common, and the parks are favorite meeting places for lunch.
Greeting in Portuguese
Always two kisses with women and handshake between men or a hug if they are close friends. This is not that uncommon, as other countries do it too such as the Mediterranean. Yet, remember! Portuguese people never say a general goodbye- they have to say goodbye to everybody, even if there are a lot of people, otherwise, it would be rude. So you better keep on starting the round!
It’s a discussion, not an argument
Many times If you’re hanging in a coffee shop or just in the street , and you see Portuguese people that seem to be mad at each other, look again! Believe it or not, those people discussing their views loudly at coffee shops are just very passionate about their opinion – “the one that speaks louder is the one who’s right”. Most likely, no drama will be involved.
Portuguese people don’t usually come super late, but is normal to get to the places around 10-15 minutes late, and still be considered “on time”.
Now, Portuguese habits regarding food could take a whole article if we wanted, but let’s try to sum it up!
Traditional food means e-ve-ry-thing
One of my favorite things about Portuguese people is how important is their traditional food for them and how they love sharing it. They will never run out of food and you will always be welcome to dine with them. Normally, Portuguese meals can last in between two and three hours. Dinner and weekend meals are usually a longer affair. Portuguese people truly enjoy their meals as well as their company, and rushing is unheard of.
Eating or drinking while walking is uncivilized.
Eating is almost like a ritual for the Portuguese people. It’s a moment of relaxation and rest, and they can’t do it while walking ! However, coffee shops have adapted their service to suit this culture. When in a hurry, they just eat at the balcony standing. Specially for breakfast or a quick coffee break, but it can also happen for lunch, as most of coffees serves daily dishes thatwere previously made.
Sweets in the morning
This might come as a chock for some people, but it’s not uncommon for the Portuguese to have a sweet pastry with a coffee for breakfast or middle of the morning. Pastel de nata is usually the most frequent, but you always have many choices.
Underestimating their country
Portuguese people will think their country has a lot of faults compare to others… You can buy fantastic bottles of wine for a few euros, the transport system is well designed and aesthetically pleasing, there is blue skies and sun is shining on a normal day, and people are polite and helpful. Isn’t it amazing?