Exploring Portuguese Culture

Situated between Spain and the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal is famous for its abundance of seafood and beautiful beaches. From ancient cathedrals and castles, rugged mountains, gorgeous beaches, serene forests, and picturesque farmlands, Portugal is an idyllic country. Portugal is also home to open air markets selling fresh produce, folk festivals, and concerts of traditional fado music. The Portuguese have an open-minded society but place a greater importance on religious values than those in other western European nations. In Portuguese culture, people and relationships are considered more important than time, so punctuality is not as emphasized.

Study abroad in Portugal Host a Portuguese student in the U.S.


Portuguese People and Community

Portuguese families enjoy traveling together to visit their country house on weekends or spend time on the beach. Food is a big part of Portuguese culture and a time for animated and long family conversations. Most Portuguese families are relatively small, with one or two children. It’s rare for people to live with their grandparents but many live close to their extended family.

Parents are typically quite involved in the lives of their children. Younger couples tend to be more progressive than their parents’ generation regarding gender equality in the household. Husbands and wives are more likely to share household chores.

In urban areas, many people rent or own apartments (andar) in large blocks called prédios. Prédios offer small verandas where people keep plants, hang clothes to dry, and house pet birds. Red-tile-roofed moradias, or detached homes, are common in suburbs and in rural areas.

Language and Communication Styles

The main language spoken in Portugal is Portuguese.

Food in Portugal

Food is extremely important to the Portuguese, whose average calorie intake is among the highest in Europe. Meals in Portugal involve lots of lengthy and passionate conversations. Seafood is very popular in Portugal and the Portuguese have hundreds of ways to prepare fish, from charcoal-grilled sardines to salt cod. Other staples include meat, bread, cheese, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Pork, lamb, beef, chicken, and rabbit are all common sources of meat. Sweets and pastry shops are also very popular. Pinching the earlobe and shaking it gently while raising the eyebrows means that a meal is very good.

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