Living in Portugal: Cultural differences to be aware of

Portugal is a country that attracts all kinds of people, from retirees to young entrepreneurs looking for more opportunities. Understanding and respecting cultural differences is essential to a successful move. If you decide to settle in Portugal, here are some key aspects of Portuguese culture you should be aware of.

Portuguese warmth and hospitality

The Portuguese are renowned for their hospitality and warmth. They welcome strangers with great generosity and are always ready to help. Social interaction is often cordial and polite. 

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It's common to be invited to friends' or neighbors' homes to share a meal or a cup of coffee. When this happens, don't refuse. Accept and bring a small gift, such as a bottle of wine or some local pastries to show your gratitude. Visit to learn more about good habits.

A more relaxed pace of life

The pace of life in Portugal is generally more relaxed than in many other Western countries. The Portuguese place great importance on quality of life and time spent with family and friends. 

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So don't be surprised to find that meals, especially lunch, are long, relaxing social occasions. The afternoon siesta is also a tradition in some regions. Adopting this more relaxed approach can help to reduce stress and get more out of everyday life.

Meals and culinary traditions

Cuisine is an essential aspect of Portuguese culture. Meals are a time for sharing and conviviality. Compared to other European cultures, the Portuguese often eat late, with lunch generally served between 1 and 3pm and dinner after 8pm. 

Traditional dishes, such as bacalhau (cod), pastéis de nata (cream pies) and caldo verde (cabbage soup), are at the heart of meals. So join in the traditional meals and taste the local specialties. It's a great way to integrate and show your appreciation of the local culture.