Learning Portuguese manners is essential to mastering the language and building positive relationships with Portuguese speakers. Portuguese culture places a high value on good manners and politeness, with certain social norms and customs unique to the country. Let’s get to know more about this in today’s guide! Let’s begin!
Portuguese manners and etiquette are unique due to their emphasis on respect, formality, and social hierarchy. Additionally, the Portuguese are known for their warm hospitality, with a tradition of offering guests food and drink upon arrival. By taking the time to learn and practice these, you’ll show respect for the culture and demonstrate your willingness to adapt to new social situations. So without further ado, let’s discover more in the sections below!
Portuguese Manners When Greeting Other People
Portuguese people are known for their warm hospitality, a strong sense of community, and family love. They are friendly and welcoming to visitors, often going out of their way to make them feel at home. Additionally, the Portuguese are known for their love of good food and wine, with a rich culinary tradition that reflects the country’s diverse regional influences. So if you visit a friend, be prepared to be served yummy Portuguese dishes!
But before you get all giddy, let’s first focus on the basic etiquette for greeting people.
Use Titles And Formal Greetings
When meeting someone for the first time, it’s common to use their professional or academic title followed by their last name.
For example, “Doutor Silva” (Doctor Silva) or “Professora Almeida” (Professor Almeida).
When meeting someone who is not in a professional or academic setting, the following greetings will do:
- “Bom dia” (Good morning)
- “Boa tarde” (Good afternoon)
- “Boa noite” (Good evening)
Handshakes are a common way to greet someone in Portugal, particularly in business meetings or settings. Men typically shake hands with other men, and women may also shake hands with other women or men. When greeting someone older or more senior, waiting for them to initiate the handshake is polite.
Kisses On The Cheek
In more casual or social settings, it’s common to greet friends or acquaintances with a kiss on each cheek (starting with the right cheek). Typically, women kiss both cheeks.
Use Formal Language Initially
When meeting someone for a business lunch or discussing business, it’s polite to use formal language and titles until the person invites you to use their first name. It is not necessary to use standard language amongst Portuguese friends.
Maintain Direct Eye Contact
Maintaining eye contact while greeting someone is essential, as this is a sign of respect and attentiveness. Overall, greeting someone in Portugal involves showing respect, using appropriate titles and language, and being polite and attentive.
Portuguese Dining Etiquette
Dining in Portugal is a social event involving good food, wine, and conversation. If you are invited to a dinner or lunch, you have to follow the typical etiquette in Portugal. Keep in mind the following things:
Arrive On Time
Punctuality is essential in Portugal, and arriving on time shows respect for the host and other guests.
The Portuguese dress code for dinner and lunch depends on the situation. If you are invited to a formal event, you must dress appropriately. Otherwise, casual clothing is sufficient.
Wait To Be Seated
In formal settings, wait to be seated by the host or hostess. In more casual settings, the host may indicate where to sit.
Table manners are important in Portugal and include using utensils properly, keeping your elbows off the table, and not speaking with your mouth full. Begin eating when the host starts.
Toasting is a standard part of Dining in Portugal, and clinking glasses with everyone at the table is polite. It’s also customary to look people in the eye when toasting.
Tipping in Portugal is generally around 5-10% of the total bill, and it’s unnecessary to list if a service charge is included.
Other Points To Remember
If you are invited to a Portuguese person’s home, here are some etiquette tips to keep in mind:
- Be punctual: Arriving on time or a few minutes early is appreciated in Portugal. However, it’s not polite to arrive too early or too late.
- Bring a gift: Bringing a small gift, such as flowers, wine, good quality chocolates, or dessert, is an excellent way to show appreciation for the invitation.
- Dress appropriately: Dress nicely but not too formally unless the invitation specifies formal attire.
- Greet everyone: When entering the home, greet everyone with a handshake or kiss on the cheek.
- Follow the host’s lead: Wait for the host to invite you to sit and start eating. Follow the host’s lead in terms of table manners and etiquette.
- Offer to help: Offer to help with tasks such as setting the table, serving food, or clearing dishes, but don’t insist if the host declines.
- Show interest in the food and culture: Compliment the host’s cooking and ask about the ingredients and preparation. Showing interest in culture and customs is appreciated.
- Don’t overstay: When leaving, thank the host and say goodbye to everyone before leaving.
What Is Considered Rude In Portugal?
As with any culture, certain things may be considered rude or inappropriate in Portugal. Therefore, it is better to avoid hand gestures that are deemed inappropriate and follow customs local customs.
- Portuguese people tend to be polite and indirect in their communication style, so being too direct or blunt may be considered rude.
- Interrupting someone while speaking is considered impolite in Portugal, and waiting until the speaker has finished before responding is important.
- While Portugal is generally a relaxed and informal country, dressing too casually in certain situations, such as in formal settings or places of worship such as the catholic church, may be seen as disrespectful.
- Ignoring social hierarchies is not approved. They value hierarchy and respect for authority, so ignoring these social norms may be considered rude or disrespectful.
- Punctuality is valued, so being late without a good reason may be rude or disrespectful.
Proper Portuguese Travel Etiquette
When traveling to Portugal, it’s important to remember some essential etiquette tips to show respect for the country and its people. This is true even when you take a bus or a train within the country.
Portugal has an excellent public transportation system, including trains, buses, and trams. Using public transportation is not only a way to save money but also an eco-friendly option and a way to experience local life. But when you use them, avoid discussing politics or religion freely. Portugal has a complex political and religious history, and it’s best to avoid discussing these topics unless you know the person well and feel comfortable doing so. Like in any other country, it’s essential to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to ensure your safety.
Overall, showing respect for the local culture and people and being polite and courteous will go a long way in making your trip to Portugal and within the country a pleasant and memorable experience.
Learn Portuguese Using Ling
If you want to know more about Portuguese customs, etiquette, and language, you can use the Ling app! There is a lot to learn, and using Ling allows you to follow a specific path to make your progress faster. If you want to learn another language on top of Portuguese, you can choose between 60+ languages since Ling has a very wide library! Are you ready to try it out? Download the app for free on the Play Store and the Apple Store today!
If you wish to know more curiosities about Portugal and its language, read Common Portuguese Verbs and Common Portuguese Verbs.