Portugal is a European gem with many unique cultural aspects. And what’s more central to a country’s culture than its language? As a visitor to any foreign country, it’s useful to know a few key words and phrases that will make you trip easier. Portugal, with its pristine beaches and beautiful architecture, is no exception to that rule.

Portuguese is the 6th most spoken language in the world with many similarities to Spanish. But if you’re like many of us who don’t know much Spanish—or any language for that matterthis guide will be useful!

1.) Greetings

Samuel Borges Photography / Shutterstock

Samuel Borges Photography / Shutterstock

Want to get the conversation started? Open up with a greeting! Say Olá for hello, bom dia for good morning, and boa tarde for good afternoon. Another typical conversation starter could be, De onde você é?  That means, where are you from? To respond, simply say, Eu sou de New York, or wherever you happen to call home. When it’s time to go, say, Tchau!

2.) Mind Your Manners!

KIRAYONAK YULIYA / Shutterstock

KIRAYONAK YULIYA / Shutterstock

Need some food, directions, or a hotel recommendation? You’ll need to know how to say please and thank you! In Portuguese, por favor means please and obrigado means thank you.

 3.) WiFi and Transportation

Elena Dijour / Shutterstock

Elena Dijour / Shutterstock

As you’re traveling, you’ll definitely need to find a WiFi signal and a way to get around. If you’re looking for the Internet, simply ask, onde é o café mais próximo? You’re asking for the nearest cafe, and hoping it has a Wifi signal!

If it’s a train you seek, ask, onde é o de comboios mais próxima? A local will point you to the nearest train. Bonus tip! Metro and train tickets are cheaper in Portugal than they are in nearby France and England. Score! 

 4.) Where Are We Going?

PhotographyByMK / Shutterstock

PhotographyByMK / Shutterstock

Whether you’re the type of traveler who wanders spontaneously, or the type to plan out every detail ahead of time, you’ll need to ask for directions. Portugal has beautiful tourist attractions like the Torre de Belem in Lisbon, the Museu Municpal in Lagos, and the Praia da Marinha in Caramujeira. If you want to find one, just ask, Como posso encontrar Praia da Marinha? You’re asking where the Praia da Marinha is, so remember to swap out the name of your desired destination.

5.) Learn Some Slang!

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

If you’re getting down with the locals, it’s good to have a few slang phrases in your back pocket. For mal loosely translates to my bad in English—the perfectly adorable way to apologize for any Portuguese blunders you might make along the way. For more slang phrases, whip out your phone! There are tons of apps to help you learn the local lingo.

6.) Where’s the Bathroom?

David Pereiras / Shutterstock

David Pereiras / Shutterstock

Let’s be real, this is probably the most important phrase for you to know. When nature calls, just ask, Você pode por favor me dizer onde é o banheiro? Don’t forget to throw a polite obrigado on the end!

Portugal has a lot to offer, from its majestic beaches and marinas to its friendly locals and delicious food. Are you headed to this coastal country any time soon? Which phrases do you want to know before heading out? Let us know in the comments!

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About The Author

Chenea Gordon

Chenea Gordon is the newest addition to our travel writer team! She’s fun, enthusiastic, and has (surprise!) a deep love for travel. The Bronx native has several years of experience working in the travel industry. She’s passionate about understanding travelers’ needs and interests, as well as creating lasting memories.