Do and don't in Portugal

Are you living in Portugal? We need you to share your experience of the local customs :)

Is it difficult to adjust to the local customs in Portugal?

Could you please share with us a list of the do's and don't's in Portugal?


Hello! We have been living in rural central Portugal for 18 months now, and I would say that we have found it very easy to adapt to Portuguese customs. We have found the Portuguese to be  friendly and tolerant of our language difficulties etc. Our children went straight into the local state schools, and experienced a little culture shock - but perhaps this would not be relevant to you?

It is probably true to say that the bureaucracy is the most difficult thing to adjust to - lots of papers to sign (in triplicate) taxes to pay, offices to visit etc. And you have very short time periods to make your payments - eg for utilities - if you don't, you're cut off and that's that. So DO take all your bills very seriously - don't stash them away and forget about them!

It's as well (in this region anyway) to expect things to work a bit like Britain in the early 1960's - 'customer care' is not exactly a priority, especially in places like the health centres, and information on anything can be very extremely hard to come by. Authorities do not expect to be questioned - that's why they are authorities!

The up-side is that the Portuguese are not obsessed with Health&Safety, or cotton-wool wrapping their kids, and the crime-rate is extremely low (outside the big cities). People still take the time and trouble to help each other, and do not automatically mistrust strangers - which is very refreshing.

If you have any more specific questions, we would be very happy to answer them as best we can! ;)

P.S. If you would like to read more about everyday rural life and customs in Central Portugal, take a look at the Blog - 'Life in Gois' on our website below ;)

It really depends where in Portugal, some parts of Portugal have been changed by years of tourism and people from overseas moving in, if you move to a place and embrace the local culture you will fit right in.

we have lots of info on living in Portugal here.

Do trust the cook. If served a plate of recognisable bits of animal, don't worry, the cook's done this for years.  Don't trust the motorists. The slogan in every one's head is "Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong".