The word Portugal derives from the Roman-Celtic place name Portus Cale. Cale or Cailleah was the name of a Celtic deity and also the name of an early settlement located at the mouth of the Douro River (present-day Vila Nova de Gaia), which flows into the Atlantic Ocean in the north of what is now Portugal. Around 200 BC, the Romans took the Iberian Peninsula from the Carthaginians during the Second Punic War, and in the process conquered Cale and renamed it Portus Cale (Port of Cale). During the Dark Ages, the region around Portus Cale became known by the Suebi and Visigoths as Portucale. The name Portucale evolved into Portugale during the 7th and 8th centuries, and by the 9th century, that term was used extensively to refer to the region between the rivers Douro and Minho, the Minho flowing along what would become the northern Portugal-Spain border. By the 11th and 12th centuries, Portugale was already referred to as Portugal. [wikipedia]

Places to Meet People

Places to Meet People

Design Monday – If your job is to design, you might just not hate mondays like most people do. That is why you must join us, one monday per month, to exchange about design subjects : from graphic design to product design, from architecture to tattoo design, from fashion design to typography or god knows what you love to design. [meetup]

Lisbon ‘Born To Run’ Training Meetup – Welcome, this is a group for anyone interested in improving their walking and running technique in and around the Lisbon area. Free hikes are offered to provide an opportunity to have a fun walking experience with the option to ask questions about the the coaching services that Naeem offers at his clinic close to Carcavelos beach.[meetup]

Lisbon Out And Out Spots – This group is for the ones who need to break the daily routine and have a good time, meet people for socializing, dining out, or just having some drinks. Preferably we’ll be meeting in interesting spots in town, so let’s keep a dose of good taste to make the good time even better! Feel free to join us, all you need is to bring some good mood. [meetup]

Lisbon Parents with preschoolers Meetup – Let’s get together at least once a week in the afternoon for our (preschool) kids to play and for parents to share stories. Together we can discover Lisbon and places to go with our children. All languages and nationalities welcome. [meetup]

Lisbon Explorers – This is a group for anyone interested in exploring Lisbon and Portugal. Lets find interesting places to visit see and fun things to do. [meetup]

Meetup Marketing Digital Porto – The Digital Marketing Meetup is a space for sharing information and experiences for Digital Marketing professionals, Students, Entrepreneurs, Marketing Managers and all those who are interested in learning more about Digital Marketing. Free entrance. [meetup]

Start Algarve – We’re starting to build a community of entrepreneurs and startup founders in the Algarve, Portugal. Our goal is to connect entrepreneurs so that we all can share our learnings, challenges, ask for help, give help and push forward the innovation in the Algarve. [meetup]

Vibrant Self Healing Algarve – Vibrant Self Healing is about just that – developing each person’s ability to heal themselves. I’m a Reiki master and teacher, a master practitioner of NLP and a tarot reader and teacher, and I’m also an active meditator. I create workshops and courses designed not to tell you how to walk your own path, but to share tools which you can then use in creating your own journey. [meetup]

How to Find a Date

How to Find a Date

Badoo.com – Badoo.com is popular in Latin America and Europe. I put it on this list because there are a lot of members in Portugal. However, because this site is free, you have to go through a lot of trash profiles to find anybody worthwhile. I would only sign up for this site if I had A LOT of time, or I ran out of options at Meetic.pt. [visa hunter]

Meetic.pt – Founded in 2001 and based in Boulogne-Billancourt, France, Meetic.pt is the best online dating site in Portugal. From its humble beginnings, it has grown into the largest online dating site in Europe (source: JupiterResearch). Following the acquisition of Match.com’s European operations, the site exploded in popularity and has millions of members all across the EU. With that said, If you are intending to go to Portugal or live there for any significant period of time (and you are single), sign up for Meetic.pt. [visa hunter]

Walking Tours

Walking Tours

Inside Lisbon – Tours & Events – For more than 10 years we have worked to show to our clients the best of Lisbon and provide them unforgettable experiences. We are specialized in Walking Tours and Full Day Tours in and around Lisbon region for individuals and groups. We have regular tours in English and Spanish, and private tours in English, Portuguese, Spanish, German, French and Italian. [inside lisbon]

Lisbon Explorer Private Tours – We want you to have an authentic experience! We are a network of carefully selected scholars, professors, researchers, authors and licensed guides specializing in the study of art history, archeology, architecture, literature and other subjects. Many of the scholars who lead our original tours hold MA, or Ph.D. degrees, and are known for their vibrant and enthusiastic presentations, bringing each location into historic and relevant detail with personality. [lisbon explorer]

Portugal Nature Trails – Welcome to PORTUGAL NATURE TRAILS. Here, we don’t just promise a hiking or cycling vacation. We promise to change the very definition of what a hiking or cycling vacation should be. [portugal nature trails]

Portugal Walks – Walking tours in Portugal, Madeira and Azores plus the Camino Portuguese to Santiago da Compostela. [portugal walks]

U Tracks – Portugal varied landscapes provide unrivalled opportunities for memorable walking or cycling holidays. The lush landscape of Portugal’s north is rich agricultural and viticultural country. The central and southern regions are less green, yet they support olive groves, vineyards, and citrus trees.  In spring they are a sight to behold when the almond blossoms are in full bloom. [u tracks]

Free Things to Do

Free Things to Do

Bom Jesus do Monte, Braga – Bom Jesus do Monte, Portugal’s grandest religious sanctuary, is located on a wooded slope six kilometers east of Braga and is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the country. Comprising a monumental Baroque Escadaria (stairway) and the church of Bom Jesus, this spectacular complex also features several chapels adorned with sculptured scenes from the Passion of Christ, fountains positioned at various points on the long ascent, and statues of biblical, mythological, and symbolic figures. [planet ware]

Castelo de Guimarães – The birthplace of the nation and where Portugal’s first monarch, Dom Afonso Henriques, was born in 1110, Guimarães was once the capital of the kingdom of “Portucale.” Recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site for its collection of historic monuments grouped in and around the old town center, it is the Castelo de Guimarães that best symbolizes the role played by the town in defining the nation’s culture and tradition – it even appears on the Portuguese coat of arms. [planet ware]

Castelo de São Jorge, Lisbon – Its commanding position crowning a hill and overlooking Lisbon’s bustling Baixa (downtown) district defines Castelo de São Jorge as the city’s most visible historic monument. Hugely popular with locals and tourists alike, the foundations of this impressive castle date from the late 12th century when King Afonso Henriques recaptured the city from the Moors and built a palace over the ruins of their hilltop citadel. In 1511 the royal residence was extended and reinforced with sturdy battlements. The great earthquake of 1755 leveled much of the structure, and what remains today is largely the result of substantial renovation. [planet ware]

Convento do Cristo, Tomar – Dominating the charming riverside town of Tomar is a mighty castle that shields the Convento do Cristo, one of Portugal’s standout historic attractions. Founded in 1160 as the headquarters of the Order of the Knights Templar, the Convent of Christ is as awe-inspiring as it is mysterious, its masonic heritage tangible and beguiling. At its center is the medieval Charola, the original Templar church, richly decorated and exuding all the strange symbolism associated with the Order of Christ. [planet ware]

Igreja de Santo António and the Museu Municipal, Lagos – The Municipal Museum in Lagos holds the quirkiest collection of archeology and ethnography in the Algarve. The wonderfully eclectic display of local handicrafts, curios, and artifacts perfectly illustrates the region’s diverse culture and heritage and includes items like an altarpiece handcrafted from cork and a realistic homemade scale model of an imaginary Algarve village. A highlight is the impressive Opus Vermiculatum Roman Mosaic, unearthed in 1933 by the museum’s founder, Dr José Formosinho. [planet ware]

Mosteiro Pálacio Nacional de Mafra – The majestic National Palace and Monastery of Mafra looms over the pleasant countryside town of Mafra and represents an outstanding example of grandiose excess. Work began in 1717 on what was originally supposed to be a simple monastery and basilica, commissioned by Dom João V to honor the birth of the king’s first child. But as wealth from Brazil swelled the royal coffers, the project took on a new dimension and eventually, a huge Baroque palace was built, lavishly decorated with exotic furnishings and numerous works of art. [planet ware]

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, Lisbon – Belém is synonymous with Portugal’s golden Age of Discovery. It’s from the shores of this Lisbon suburb that intrepid navigators set sail in the 15th and 16th centuries on long and perilous voyages to chart unknown waters and map new territories. One such mariner, Vasco da Gama, discovered the sea route to India in 1498 and to honor his achievement, King Manuel I commissioned a monument that became a lasting symbol of the country’s astonishing era of conquest and expansion. [planet ware]

Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon – Lisbon is blessed with some truly world-class museums, and one of the finest is the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian. The museum’s collection numbers some 6,000 pieces, all of which belonged to just one man – Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian, a wealthy Armenian oil magnate who bequeathed his priceless hoard to the Portuguese nation upon his death in 1955. Quite simply, this is one of the finest collections of art in Europe. The exhibits span more than 4,000 years from classical and oriental Antiquity to European art of the early 20th century. [planet ware]

Oceanário de Lisboa, Lisbon – Arguably Portugal’s most popular and family-friendly visitor attraction, Lisbon’s oceanarium is brilliantly conceived to highlight the world’s diverse ocean habitats. This is one of Europe’s best and largest oceanariums, containing a vast array of fish and marine animals. Four separate sea- and landscapes recreate the ecosystems of the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Antarctic oceans. A huge central tank, visible from different levels, teems with shark, ray, and many other finned wonders and denizens of the deep. [planet ware]

Palácio da Bolsa, Oporto – Oporto’s alluring medley of visitor attractions includes the city’s former stock exchange building, the beautiful Palácio da Bolsa. Built by merchants in the mid-19th-century on a site where the monastery of São Francisco once stood, the palace lies within the old city boundaries and as such enjoys UNESCO World Heritage status. The dazzling interior reflects the wealth pouring into the city at that time, and a tour of the ornate rooms and galleries reveals a grandness and richness as extravagant as any royal palace. [planet ware]

Palácio Nacional de Sintra, Lisbon Coast – Nestling in the lap of a wooded mountain range, Sintra’s stunning location is reason enough to visit this charming, verdant town. Indeed, UNESCO acknowledges the destination as a World Heritage cultural landscape such is its beauty and the significance of the collection of historic visitor attractions clustered in and around the old town, Sintra Velha. A favorite summer retreat for the kings and queens of Portugal and an alluring destination for numerous writers and poets, including Lord Byron and William Beckford, Sintra exudes romance. [planet ware]

Sé (cathedral) and Roman Temple, Évora – Set deep in southern Portugal’s sun baked Alentejo province is Évora, one of the country’s most enchanting cities. The Romans established themselves here in BC 57, but it was under Moorish rule that the town began to take shape, its maze of narrow lanes and alleys typical of Islamic urban design. Christian reconquest saw the construction of the Sé, Évora’s impressive cathedral and one of several stunning visitor attractions in the old town. [planet ware]

Silves Castle – As Xelb, Silves was once the capital city of Moorish Algarve, and the Arabs named the region al-Gharb. During the early 12th century, the town was renowned as a center of learning, a place where Islamic writers, philosophers, and geographers gathered. To protect the inhabitants, the Moors built a mighty castle on an elevated position overlooking the town. Captured later by Crusaders, the fortress stands today as a permanent reminder of Moorish domination and Christian Reconquest. [planet ware]

Torre de Belém, Lisbon – One of Portugal’s best-loved historic monuments and a Lisbon icon, the Torre de Belém stands as a symbol of the Age of Discovery and the voyages of exploration undertaken in the 15th and 16th centuries. [planet ware]

Torre de Clérigos, Oporto – The spindly, needle-like Torre de Clérigos is one of Oporto’s defining landmarks. Standing 75 meters above the streets and overlooking the old town, this slender tower was built in the 18th century by Nicolau Nasoni and exudes a bold sense of the Baroque. Designed as part of the Igreja dos Clérigos, the tower was completed in 1763 and at the time was the tallest building in Oporto. To reach the top, visitors need to climb upwards of 200 steps, but the huffing and puffing will all be forgotten as you embrace truly magnificent views of the city and the River Douro. [planet ware]

Universidade de Coimbra – The Universidade de Coimbra is Portugal’s oldest seat of learning, founded in 1290 by King Dinis. Acknowledged by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, the historic buildings of the Velha Universidade, or old Coimbra University, surround a beautiful colonnaded central square, the Paço das Escolas. The Alta and Sofia wings of the university – a former royal residence – reward visitors with a number of star features, including the astonishing Biblioteca Joanina, a sumptuously decorated library installed in 1717 by King João V. A tour also takes in the dazzlingly ornate 16th-century Capela de São Miguel. [planet ware]



February: Carnaval – You’ll find carnaval parades all over Portugal, with Lisbon and the towns of the Algarve having particularly spectacular celebrations. While it may seem to be all Rio-style feathers, spandex and sequins, carnaval dates back centuries to when people held huge feasts to eat up all the meat (carne is the Portuguese word for meat), which was forbidden during Lent. Traditionally carnaval begins on the last Friday before Lent and ends on Shrove Tuesday. [expatica]

March–August: International sand sculpture festival, Pera – FIESA, the international sand sculpture festival held in Pera in the Algarve, has been running since 2003. Artists use some 40,000 tonnes of sand over an area of 15,000sqm to create sand sculptures depicting people, places and things in amazing detail – and some of them up to 12m high. At night the sculptures are illuminated; by day you can attend workshops, contests and demonstrations. [expatica]

1–3 May: Festa das Cruzes, Barcelos – Festa das Cruzes, the Festival of the Crosses, is the largest annual event in Barcelos, Minho. The festival has its roots in the 16th century when a cobbler saw the shape of a cross appear on the ground, which was seen as a sign of God. Up until the 19th century the festival was purely religious, attracting pilgrims from all over Portugal but today it’s a more secular celebration with parades of locals in folk costume, circus performances, horse races and fireworks. [expatica]

May: Fátima – Fátimaor Peregrinação de Fátima is Portugal’s most famous Christian pilgrimage. On 13 May 1917 three children saw a miraculous vision of the Virgin Mary in Fatima, now Leiria-Fatima. Later that same year there were other apparitions, apparently witnessed by large numbers of visitors to the site. Huge numbers of pilgrims come here throughout the year but 13 May is the most important date. There’s a candlelight procession through the town on 12 May leading down to the sanctuary. The next day crowds become tearful and wave white handkerchiefs as a statue of the Virgin Mary is carried from the high altar to the Chapel of the Apparitions during the Adeus (farewell) procession the next day. There’s a second pilgrimage held in October. [expatica]

May: Serralves em Festa, Porto – Serralves em festa is 40 hours of non-stop contemporary art, music, theatre, contemporary dance, cinema, circus, architecture and ecology at Portugal’s largest contemporary arts festival – and it’s all free. Hundreds of events are held as part of the Serralves em festa in and around the Serralves Museum and Park in the Baixa area of Porto. The programme starts early on a Saturday morning and runs non-stop until midnight on Sunday. You can go from watching dancers on the Serralves meadow at dawn to listening to a concert in the museum at midnight. [expatica]

June: Rock in Rio-Lisboa, Lisbon – This is one of Europe’s largest rock festivals and based on the Brazilian musical festival Rock in Rio. Held in Lisbon’s Bela Vista Park, the five-day music festival attracts leading international musicians and DJs as well as emerging talent to perform on the World Stage, Electronic Tent and Hot Stage. [expatica]

June: Feast day of St Anthony, Lisbon – On the feast of St Anthony festival on 12–13 June, the Alfama district of Lisbon is decked with lights and streamers and the air is filled with the smell of sardines grilling on churrascos outside houses and restaurants. The tradition celebrates the story of how a fish rose out of the sea to listen to the 13th-century saint when the locals wouldn’t. St Anthony is also known as the matchmaker saint: women fill their mouths with water until they hear a man’s name mentioned, and men give women basil plants and love poems. [expatica]

Public Transit

Public Transit

Bus, tram and funicular – Getting around major cities is quite easy as their public transport networks are quite large. In Lisbon for instance, transportation is run by Carris and there are: 78 bus lines. You can buy tickets on board, 5 tram lines. You can buy tickets on board. [just landed]

Metro (underground) – The metro is always the best option if you don’t have much luggage. Even if it’s your first time in a city, all you need is to follow the map to know where you’re going. Lisbon and Porto are the only two Portuguese cities with a metro system, and both networks are clean, safe and efficient. [just landed]

Rail – Portugal has a large network of trains connecting every major city in the country. There are various types of trains: Regional and inter-regional trains, used for short distances and going from one big city to the next, Intercity trains (Intercidades) that connect the major towns and make fewer stops. [just landed]

Taxis – Taxis are beige in Portugal, although you can still spot a few green or black taxis. All taxis run on a meter and drivers are allowed to charge you more if you have luggage. Big cities are full of taxis that are not too expensive (fares start at €2.50 for the first 500 meters). You can also call the cab company to have one pick you up at a specific time. [just landed]

Professional Groups & Events

Professional Groups & Events

Android LX – Android LX is a dev-oriented meetup at the heart of Lisbon. We meet to share development experiences trough technical presentations, healthy discussions and its also a great place to meet new people while sharing a beverage. [meetup]

Braga JS – Common ground for JS ehnthusiastics and Web aficionados in general. [meetup]

Braga Startup Founder 101 – Startup Founder 101 brings together aspiring and experienced tech entrepreneurs to discuss, meet, and collaborate to build great new startups, and to push the local startup ecosystem forward. In this group you can learn the best practices of starting a company from people who have been there and done that. [meetup]

Lisbon Lean Startup Practitioners Meetup – This is a free group for practitioners of Lean Startup (seasoned and aspiring) or those who have a firm interest in applying Lean Startup in their startup, scale-up or a corporate team. [meetup]

Lisbon Open Data Meetup – This is a group for people who love working with data. We are open to data scientists, engineers, hackers and and enthusiasts, and would love to see the community grow in Lisbon. [meetup]

Lisbon Polyglots – Languages are little private jets that allow us to hover over our own personality and society. They are jets and not birds because most often than not we have to construct them, and that means lots of technology involved: grammar, books, meeting strangers, travelling, watching movies, training our memory… Languages allow us to redraw our mental paths, to reshape our personalities for the better, to develop empathy, compassion and respect. [meetup]

Meetup WordPress de Braga – We’re a group of local WordPress developers, designers, and publishers who get together to share our knowledge and experience, and to meet other WordPress users in the area. This WordPress Meetup is open to all who love WordPress — join us! [meetup]

Language Exchange

Language Exchange

Learn Italian in Lisbon fun fast Italian learning – This group is for people of all nationalities interested in learning Italian (levels Beginner to Advanced) with a certified native Italian teacher in a fun and laid-back classroom environment. [meetup]

Learn Mandarin and other languages EASILY! – This group is made for people who are interested in learning Chinese (as I am Chinese) or other languages and knowing about different cultures. People who are multilingual ou have international travel experiences are welcome to join. You will make a lot new friends with common interest and an open mind. [meetup]

Lisbon English Language Meetup – This is a group for anyone who wants to get to know new people while practicing their English. All levels of English are welcome–from beginners to people completely fluent. We’ll get together for a cup of coffee and to talk. Several Americans will be on hand, so you can practice with native speakers. [meetup]

Lisbon Portuguese English Exchange – This is a group for anyone interested in practicing their English or Portuguese language skills. The first 45mins we speak English, and the second half we switch to Portuguese. All levels are welcome [meetup]

SPEAK Lisbon Language and Culture Exchange – Lisbon Language and Culture Exchange is diversity – be prepared to meet people from different parts of the world, with different lives and different religions. Respect is a must. Open your mind to learn more about the world and have loads of fun 🙂 [meetup]

LGBT Groups

LGBT Groups

Comunidade Queer&Friends-LGBTQIA Portugal – This group is for all those who want to meet new people, make new friendships and consolidate friends, regardless of sexual orientation and identity, age, race and religious beliefs. [meetup]

Lisbon LGBT Social Group Meetup – This is a Social Meet up for Lisbon LGBTQ+ Community Members. Expats, Portuguese and in between lets meet up for fun and friendship! New to town? Stopping by on vacation? Come along, meet some friendly local people and make new friends. [meetup]



Places in Portugal

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