Dating in Portugal

Updated 2023-11-01 10:09

If it's true that dating in general can be tricky and present its challenges, even more so when we talk about dating in a foreign country! In addition to the language barrier, you will be dealing with cultural differences, a new, unfamiliar environment, and different habits. With that said, when it comes to dating in Portugal, you shouldn't be afraid of putting yourself out there for fear of making a faux pas.

The country is friendly and laid back, and you should have no trouble meeting new people and making connections.

As always, it's a good idea to look into Portugal's culture and lifestyle to have a better understanding of its people, their character and mentality.

Dating in Portugal at a glance

In general, the dating scene in Portugal is not that much different from that in any other country in Europe.

Most adults will typically socialize at work, meet through friends, or use dating apps to find a partner.

The LGBTQ dating scene is dynamic and ever-growing in the country - especially in big cities. Same-sex marriage was legalized in the country in 2010, and since 2016, same-sex couples can also adopt children. Overall, under Portuguese law, same-sex married couples are guaranteed the same legal rights as heterosexual couples.

Read also: Diversity and Inclusion in Portugal

Where to meet people in Portugal?

You will probably go about searching for a date in Portugal the same way you would in most other European countries. However, the success of your search depends a lot on where you are settled. Living in a big city like Lisbon or Porto definitely offers more dating options compared to smaller towns and rural areas. What's more, people in smaller towns tend to be more conservative and live in tighter communities. They may also tend to date within their established circle - which will make it harder for expats looking for a partner.

Just like in most countries, online dating is very popular in Portugal. Tinder remains to be the number one dating app in the country - as well as the rest of Europe. However, if you are looking for other options, you may want to check apps such as Inner Circle; Bumble; Hinge; OKCupid or Happn.

Regardless of any fears you might have when it comes to meeting new people and forming romantic connections, it's always a good idea to find others who have similar passions and hobbies as you. Building friendships and a circle of support around you is a great way to also allow for romantic connections to flourish. Research about expat groups and communities, search for people in your area exploring hobbies and activities you enjoy and start making new friends!


Make sure to follow safety practices when dating online:

  • Do not give away too much information about yourself at once (especially your address, contact details, etc.).
  • Make sure to have your first meeting in a public place.
  • It may also be a good idea to video chat before meeting in person.
  • Always let a trusted family member or friend know where you are going and with whom.
  • Joining a club, attending meet-ups, professional conferences - and other types of events are all good ways of meeting people. Once again, you will have a better chance with these if you live in a larger city. Overall, if you do plan to date during your stay in Portugal, this may be something to consider when picking a city to settle in.

What does a typical date look like in Portugal?

Once again, you shouldn't expect many differences compared to other European countries. A typical date in Portugal would probably include going to a restaurant for a meal or a cafe for a cup of coffee.

Note that "having a cup of coffee" is often used just as a general expression and can refer to lots of different activities. So, if you are invited for a cup of coffee, feel free to make suggestions on how to spend the date: dinner, a movie, a walk in the park, etc. Plus, as Portugal is one of the sunniest places in Europe with some of the world's best beaches, spending the first date going for a walk on the promenade can be a good option.

Another thing you may want to know is that Portuguese people typically eat their dinner quite a bit later than you may be accustomed to - after 8 p.m.

Arriving for a date late is definitely frowned upon. So, make sure to plan your time properly so you don't make the other person wait.

When it comes to the dating dress code, it's definitely a personal choice. Feel free to show your personal style, but do keep in mind that most people in Portugal tend to dress according to the circumstances (a casual outfit for a walk on the promenade, a fancier option for a nice restaurant, etc.).

Conversations on a date tend to be relaxed and laid-back. One thing you may notice is that people in Portugal tend to gesture a lot with their hands, so your conversation will probably be lively and animated. Bring your sense of humor and lots of curiosity.

Keep in mind that even though most people in Portugal do study English as a second language, you may still run into a language barrier - especially in smaller cities. Not speaking Portuguese may prevent you from building a more profound connection with people - as well as Portugal in general. This is why it is definitely a good idea to enroll in a Portuguese language course (which, in turn, can be a great way to meet new people, too).

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.