Latifah Al-Hazza

While Portugal is known for crystal blue waters and white sand, that’s not even the best part about the country. It’s also a huge hub of culture, art, food and fun. Whether you’re planning a trip to Portugal or if you’re someone who’s just curious as to all the amazing things the country has to offer, these are a few things going to want to know before exploring this beautiful country!

Top 5: Cities to visit

  1. Lisbon
  2. Porto
  3. Lagos
  4. Sintra
  5. Faro

Top 5: Foods to try

  1. Pastèis de Nata: These iconic Portuguese desserts are made of flour, butter, eggs, cinnamon and of course sugar. Lots of butter is layered in the dough which gives the shells their crispy and crackling texture.
  2. Bacalhau: Portuguese codfish. You can try it baked, frilled and fried and is a mix of thin strips of codfish mixed together with potatoes, eggs and onions.
  3. Grilled Sardines: When fresh, sardines are eaten directly from the charcoal grill, marinated with Portuguese olive oil and served with salads, rice or potatoes.
  4. Francesinha: Made with bread and meats, the sandwich is typically covered with melted cheese and an egg on top. It is typically covered in a sauce that is a hot thick tomato
  5. Polvo à la Lagareiro: The octopus is typically served with boiled potatoes. The potatoes and the octopus are baked and roasted. And Portuguese oil is poured on it.

Top 5: Activities to do

  1. Try Pastel de Nata at Lisbon’s Pastis de Belem
  2. Road trip through the Douro Valley.
  3. See surfers ride the world’s biggest waves in Nazare.
  4. View one of the most interesting Catholic traditions in Fatima.
  5. Get lost wandering the alleyways in the charming town of Obidos

Top 5: Dos of the culture

  1. Follow the rules. Cross the street at pedestrian crossings, not at random, etc.
  2. Keep the country clean and functioning, as it was before you came in.
  3. Learn a few words of courtesy of the country you are visiting. Use them, try to pronounce them properly.
  4. Try to blend in with your voice, your dress code, the way you spend money, etc.
  5. Observe, without imposing or comparing.

Top 5: Things you should know about Portugal

  1. Portuguese is the official language of nine countries. Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Angola, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Principe, Sao Tome, and Equatorial Guinea. Portuguese is also spoken in Goa (India), Macao, and East Timor.
  2. The oldest bookstore in the world is in Lisbon. It is called Bertrand bookshop and it was established in 1732.
  3. One of the oldest universities in Europe is in Portugal. The University of Coimbra which was established in 1290.
  4. Portugal has the longest bridge in Europe. The Vasco de Gama bridge is 17 kilometers.
  5. Portugal was struck by one of the most powerful earthquakes in European history in 1755. It was a 9.0 magnitude earthquake that was followed by a tsunami and killed 275,000 residents.

Top 5: Dont’s of the culture

  1. Do NOT respect the way the locals dress. Don’t dress like a tourist in flip flops and slippers but dress like the locals with modesty and a sense of quality.
  2. Don’t assume that everyone should speak English or even understand English.
  3. Don’t tip in restaurants. It is almost considered an insult.
  4. Don’t raise your voice in public. Have some manners.
  5. Don’t assume that everybody has your spending capacity. Some tourists say “Oh, that is so very cheap, in my country…”, which implies looking down on the locals.

Top 5: Phrases to know

  1. Olá = Hello
  2. Bom dia = Good morning
  3. Desculpe = I’m sorry
  4. Obrigado/Obrigada = Thank you Note that obrigado is masculine and therefore said by men and boys; obrigada is the feminine counterpart that women and girls would use.
  5. Quanto custa? = How much does this cost?
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