Portuguese is practically universal in Portugal, but there are some special dialects. Nontheless it helps greatly with establishing a social life in Portugal to learn at least a few words in Portugese.
The Southern and Central dialects: these include the dialect of the capital, Lisbon, which however has some peculiarities of its own. Although the dialects of the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira have unique characteristics of their own, they can also be grouped with the southern dialects.
Most Portuguese from the towns have some knowledge of English. The language has been number one foreign language in school for quite a few years now. In more rural areas speakers of English will be fewer.
The great thing is that if you have children they do seem able to absorb languages easily, and unless your Portuguese is very good they will soon be translating for you.
Social Life in Portugal
There are a wide variety of festivals taking place throughout year – many are religion based (although Portugal is a mainly catholic country they are mostly relaxed about religion). Somewhat relaxed about punctuality, as well, they usually take an hour off for lunch, although meal times are not as late as in Spain.
Portugal has many small galleries and museums as well as the modern bigger venues in major towns. It has its own theatre tradition like musical comedy, and its own music – “fado”. You may find the people reserved, but they are tolerant and can be very patient. The national sport is football, so most UK citizens will find something to talk about – especially if your Portuguese is understandable. They love to hear how beautiful their country is and what marvellous food they serve. There are plenty of dating sites – just take the usual precautions.
Tourist information centres have a generous amount of information on the sites to visit. The local library will have details of the culture – theatre, music, art. It’ll also provide information about exhibitions on such topics as lace making, sculpture, architecture and many other things of interest for you to enjoy.
- Jan 1 New Year’s Day
- April Good Friday/Easter day
- April 25 Liberty Day
- May 1 Labour Day
- June 10 Portugal Day Aug 15 Assumption of Mary
- Dec 8 Feast of the Immaculate Conception Dec 25 Christmas Day