Etiquette & Customs (in short)
The Portuguese have a relaxed attitude to practices and attitudes.
Try to learn as much Portuguese you can before you arrive, or at least so many simple words you can, like “Hello”: Olá (oh-LAH) or Oi (OY), “Thank you“ (said by male): Obrigado (oh-bree-GAH-doh) and (said by female): Obrigada (oh-bree-GAH-dah), “Goodbye”: Adeus (ah-DEH-oosh)
This shows, that you are willing to learn their language. You can learn more here.
- The handshake accompanied by direct eye contact and the appropriate greeting for the time of day
- Once a personal relationship has developed, greetings become more personal: men may greet each other with a hug and a handshake and women kiss each other twice on the cheek starting with the right
Gift Giving Etiquette:
- Do not bring wine unless you know which wines your hosts prefer.
- If you are invited to a Portuguese home for dinner, bring flowers, good quality chocolates or candy to the hostess
- Do not give 13 flowers. The number is considered unlucky
- Do not give red flowers since red is the symbol of the revolution
- If invited to a dinner arrive no more than 15 minutes after the stipulated time
- Dress conservatively. There is little difference between business and social attire
- Do not discuss business in social situations
- Remain standing until invited to sit down. You may be shown to a particular seat
- Do not begin eating until the hostess says “bom apetite”
- Do not rest your elbows on the table, although your hands should be visible at all times
Should you leave a tip in Portuguese restaurants or bars?
You can leave a tip, but you don’t have to.
As in many European countries, the bill includes a service charge. So make sure to check the bill itself; there is no need to leave any extra tip in addition to this amount. A service charge is not the same as a tip.
People sometimes give 5 or 10% of the bill as a tip or round up to an even number. It depends on how happy you were with the service.
Portugal is generally a peaceful country, but there can always happen thefts of mobile phones, cameras and other valuable things. Be aware of pickpockets around various sights especially around cathedrals and other places where tourists gathered.
Porto is a very safe city and has very few social problems. Most travellers will not experience any issues or problems on their holiday in Porto. It can happen, but even though it can also be prevented by some simple precautions as:
- Do not “flash” cash or expensive items
- Visit only the cash machines during the day
- Do not leave expensive items visible in cars
Places you should avoid In Lisbon:
- Caslas and Chelas – Avoid these places day or night
- Monsanto and Parque Eduardo VII – Avoid these parks at night
- Martin Moniz – Avoid I night hours and take normal precautions while in day light
Emergency numbers in Portugal
- 112 (free call) – National emergency number
- 217 654 242 – Lisbon Police Department (Comando Metropolitano de Lisboa)
- 213 421 623 – Lisbon Police Department (Tourism Department)
- 222 081 833 – Porto Local Police
- 226 198 260 – Porto Municipal Police
The caller must:
- State the location where assistance is needed
- State their name and telephone number
- State what happened, and if it is still happening
- State how many people need help
- State if there are weapons involved