Top 10 Portuguese phrases for a trip to Lisbon
Are you coming to Lisbon anytime soon? Then, this article is perfect for you! I will share with you the top 10 Portuguese phrases for a trip to Lisbon! Your stay in the city will be much more entertaining and interesting if you try to speak Portuguese with the locals. It will be kind of a challenge for you, but I’m sure you will enjoy it since it is, in my opinion, one of the coolest languages there is!
The locals will be more willing to help and guide you, if you engage in conversation in Portuguese. Because, let’s be honest, most of the youngsters know how to speak English, thanks to their school education, the games they play and the series they watch, but if you have to talk to older persons, they won’t know a word of English! You’re definitely the one who will have to make an effort to communicate with the locals.
You don’t need to worry. Thanks to this top 10 Portuguese phrases for a trip to Lisbon, you will know some of the basic phrases to make sure your stay is as enjoyable as possible and to be able to easily connect with the Lisbon people. Read on and find out my top 10 Portuguese phrases for a trip to Lisbon!
Greet the locals: Bom dia – Boa tarde – Boa noite – Olá!
It’s always great to be able to greet the people you meet in a foreign city. People in Portugal are very friendly and they will definitely appreciate it if you greet them by saying “bom dia“, “boa tarde“, “boa noite” or simply “olá“.
Bom dia means good morning or hello. It’s usually used during the morning until 1 or 2 pm. After 2 pm, the locals start saying boa tarde which means good afternoon. Then, when the day gets darker and night falls, we say boa noite which means good evening or good night. If you want to keep it simple and don’t want to get confused, you can simply say olá which means hi!
Greeting the people before engaging in conversation is one of the best things you can do to “break the ice”. They will love it that you’re making the effort to speak in their native language and will be more friendly to you.
Ask them how they are: Tudo bem?
When meeting new people or before starting a conversation with anyone, ask them if they’re okay. Tudo bem? means “is everything fine?“. It is how people in Portugal ask the interlocutor how they’re feeling. You can also say “Como está?“, if you prefer. It means “how are you?“. I leave it to you to choose which one you prefer or which seems easier for you to pronounce.
This Portuguese phrase show that you care about their well-being. It will be strongly appreciated by the locals and will definitely be a good “ice-breaker”.
Ask for help: Pode me ajudar, por favor?
If you’re having trouble, need some guidance, are lost, can’t find a place, if you need help for any kind of situation, ask your interlocutor “pode me ajudar, por favor? which means “can you help me, please?” They will understand that you’re in need of help.
Ask if they know how to speak English: Fala inglês?
The Portuguese phrase “Fala inglês?” is an interrogation. By asking this question, you will get to know if your interlocutor knows how to speak English. If they do, the communication will be easier for you and you will feel more comfortable.
As I’ve said earlier in the introduction of this article, most of the younger people know how to speak English. Nonetheless, it is possible that some adults won’t be able to have a conversation with you in English, which is why you should know a few Portuguese phrases. If you start a conversation with elderly people, I’m almost certain that they won’t know how to speak English, because in most cases, they are people that have lived in Portugal their entire life. However, as mentioned in this article, during the twentieth century, many Portuguese emigrated to other European countries looking for a better life when the dictator Salazar was in power. The Portuguese have always been a people of explorers, not afraid to step out of their comfort zone, which means that you will probably meet many people that have lived in other countries, so there’s still a good chance that they know how to speak your language!
Ask for directions: Onde está o … ?
If you’re looking for a place and can’t find it, ask the locals “Onde está o …?” Complete the sentence with the place you wish to go to. For instance, if you want to get to the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, simply say “onde está o Mosteiro dos Jerónimos?” However, if you’re looking for the Torre de Belém, it is a feminine noun, so you will have to say “onde está a Torre de Belém?” But I’m sure they won’t mind these little grammar mistakes.
Don’t be too hard on yourself, simply enjoy talking Portuguese with the locals!
Ask for a coffee: Um café, por favor
As you know if you’ve read my article about the Portuguese people, they loooove coffee! They have coffee several times during the day, and I honestly think coffee in Portugal is one of the best! If you’re in the city of Lisbon and want to experience the Portuguese lifestyle and know more about their habits, have coffee in some of the cafés around the city. The Portuguese love their coffee breaks. It will be an awesome opportunity for you to meet the locals and have a little chat with them, while enjoying a great coffee!
Ask for a beer: Uma imperial, por favor
Having a cold beer at the end of a long day of walking around the city and visiting Lisbon greatest landmarks is the best! Especially if you choose a nice place where you can enjoy the sunset.
As the days of your stay go by, you will quickly see that the Portuguese love to enjoy a nice drink at the end of the day. After work or school, they usually meet with friends and enjoy some time with them. One of the most drank beverages is beer! They go to a café or a bar they’re used to and ask for an “imperial” or a “fino“, which is similar to the pint. Both words work!
So, if you want to ask for a beer, say to the waiter “uma imperial, por favor” If you want any other drink, just replace the word “imperial” by the beverage you wish to have. For instance, a glass of wine is copo de vinho in Portuguese. A cup of tea is um chá.
Show your gratitude: Obrigado or Obrigada!
Be polite and always be thankful for your local friends help, for the information they provide, or for their attention. If you don’t thank your interlocutor, you will be seen as being rude. The interactions won’t be as positive as expected, because of your atitude.
In Portuguese, if you’re a male, it is common that you say obrigado and if you’re female, you usually say obrigada. This is only one of the grammar rule, but the locals won’t mind this little mistake if you don’t apply this female and male distinction.
Ask for the bill: Traga a conta, por favor
At a restaurant, once you’ve finished your meal, you can ask the waiter for the bill. Say “traga a conta, por favor” which means “bring the bill, please”.
Ask for the dish of the day: Qual é o prato do dia?
At almost every restaurant you’ll go to, the prato do dia will be available to you. In Portuguese restaurants, the chef prepares a few dishes in the morning he wishes to serve for lunch. You can usually choose between three to four different dishes. The prato do dia dishes were made in the morning and are ready to be served, which means you will be served very quickly. It is the perfect option if you want to enjoy a traditional Portuguese dish quickly and to be able to head on the rest of your visit in the city during the afternoon.
The “dish of the day” is what the locals usually have for lunch, because they have to eat something fast to get back to work. All you need to do is to head to a place that looks good to you, ask the waiter “qual é o prato do dia?” and enjoy a traditional Portuguese dish that will be served in the five following minutes of your order. At lunch, it is important that you eat a fast lunch so you can enjoy the rest of the day walking the city and visiting its landmarks. You will be able to enjoy a more elaborated meal during the night. Pick a nice restaurant for dinner and eat a meal of your own choosing.
You know know the top 10 Portuguese phrases for a trip to Lisbon! I hope you’ve enjoyed it and that it has been helpful to you. If you practice these few phrases before your trip to Lisbon, communicating with the locals will be much easier. They will be more open to help you and will certainly teach you some new words! Come to Lisbon and bring your biggest smile.
People are always sensitive to a genuine smile, even if your Portuguese is not that great. If you need further information about anything, don’t hesitate to contact us. Also, I strongly advise you to join one of our tours. The local guides will guide you through the city, share with you the best places and stories and will teach you plenty of Portuguese phrases! Seize the opportunity to explore the city with a local and get to learn a little of Portuguese, the coolest language ever! See you soon!