Portugal is in Europe, but it’s not like the rest of Europe. The country itself juts out on the western border of the Iberian Peninsula, almost as if it were trying to physically distinguish itself from its European neighbors.
The truth is that Portugal is totally unique. Its people are much, much friendlier than most other Europeans and much more likely to embrace outsiders — both figuratively and literally!
The climate is very Mediterranean and features warm temperatures, plenty of sunshine, and almost tropical humidity in the summer months. It’s almost like Portugal is more a part of North Africa or the southern United States than Europe.
People Are, Well, Nice!
While there are nice, friendly people in every country, you are much more likely to be welcomed and made to feel at ease by people in Portugal than you would in most other European countries. Perhaps it’s because Portugal is so physically distant and separated by tall mountains from places like Berlin, Paris, or Milan that its culture and social standards developed independently, essentially on their own.
Like France, Germany, and Spain, Portugal has big cities. But while places like Porto and Lisbon are certainly cosmopolitan, they lack the social coldness, alienation, and anonymity that you often find in cities like New York, Brussels, or London. People in Portuguese cities and towns stop and talk to each other. Smaller neighborhoods within large urban areas are like small towns where everybody knows everybody else.
Made to Feel Welcome
Perhaps the biggest difference between Portugal and other places in Europe is that people there genuinely seem to like outsiders and be interested in their backgrounds. Walking around a Portuguese city, you are much more likely to be stopped and complimented on your clothing or physical appearance. Conversations between strangers are struck up naturally. And English is widely spoken, especially in big cities and popular tourist destinations like The Algarve.
People in Portugal are generally very nice, quite friendly, and genuinely helpful. And that makes visiting or even relocating to Portugal a happier, healthier experience.