Dating in Portugal

Updated 2021-09-24 15:10

Dating in a foreign country can be tricky. In addition to the language barrier, you will be dealing with cultural differences, a new unfamiliar environment, different habits and behaviors and lots more.

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. People would typically start dating as teenagers meeting their dates at schools, after-class activities, popular hang-out spots in the city, etc.

Adults typically socialize at work, meet through friends or use online dating apps to find a partner.

Note that gender roles may be more defined in a Portuguese society than in your home county. For instance, it's customary for a man to open a door for a woman, pull out her chair in a restaurant, etc.

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

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 a serious relationship, you may prefer -- a dating website meant for those interested in more than casual dating. Badoo, InCircle, Happn and Hinge are also quite popular.


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 your family and friends 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, there are not too many differences from other European countries here. A typical data in Portugal would probably include going to a restaurant for a meal or a cafe for a cup of coffee.

Good to know:

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, 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 on the beach is always a good option.

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

Lunch is considered to be a very important meal of the day -- and if you are planning a lunch date, prepare to eat a sizable portion of food.

Arriving for a date late is definitely frowned upon.

So, make sure to plan your time properly so you don't make others 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 rather conservatively. Thus, it's best to dress according to the situation: and if you are going to a fancy restaurant, consider a more formal attire.

Conversations on a date tend to be relaxed and laid-back. There are no specific topics to avoid -- but just like on any date you may not want to start with a political or religious debate. 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.

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 is it's definitely a good idea to enroll in a Portuguese language course (which, in turn, can be a great way to meet new people).

With a more relaxed lifestyle, dating in Portugal also tends to be relaxed. It's okay to take your time, enjoy each other's company and not rush into a relationship.

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.