Every year thousands of Brits decide to escape from the capricious weather and move to Portugal. Algarve’s beaches and architecture dating back to the 1500s–1800s attract both visitors and expats to this breathtaking country. Regardless of how long you plan to spend in Portugal, you may need some basic information about its culture and customs. To save you time and effort, we prepared some information about Portuguese public holidays, car insurance and taxes, and the most popular supermarkets.
Public holidays in Portugal
Whether you are a visitor or an expat, you should take note of Portugal’s public holidays, as most businesses are closed on those days. Also, bear in mind, that unlike many European countries, if a national holiday falls on Sunday, it is not observed on the next Monday.
Public holidays in Portugal include:
- Tuesday, 1 January: New Year’s Day (Ano Novo)
- Friday, 19 April: Good Friday (Sexta-Feira Santa)
- Sunday, 21 April: Easter Sunday
- Thursday, 25 April: Freedom Day (Dia da Liberdade)
- Wednesday, 1 May: Labour Day (Dia do Trabalhador)
- Monday, 10 June: Portugal National Day (Dia de Portugal)
- Thursday, 20 June: Corpus Christi (Corpo de Deus)
- Monday, 24 June: St John’s Day – Porto, Braga, Figueira da Foz and Almada
- Saturday, 29 June: St Peter’s Day – celebrated in some regions
- Thursday, 15 August: Assumption of Mary (Assunção de Nossa Senhora)
- Sunday, 8 September: Nativity of Mary – celebrated in some regions
- Saturday, 5 October: Republic Day (Implantação da República)
- Friday, 1 November: All Saints’ Day (Todos os Santos)
- Sunday, 1 December: Restoration of Independence Day (Restauração da Independência)
- Sunday, 8 December: Immaculate Conception (Imaculada Conceição)
- Tuesday, 24 December: Christmas Eve – banks are closed
- Wednesday, 25 December: Christmas Day (Natal)
School holidays in Portugal
Portuguese schools observe four holidays throughout the year. Each break lasts around two weeks, excluding the summer holidays, which are around eight weeks long. School holidays in Portugal include:
- Christmas break: December – January
- Carnival break: February
- Easter break: March – April
- Summer break – June – September
Car insurance and taxes
As you register your car in Portugal, you must pay the road tax (Imposto Único de Circulação, IUC) every year, starting from the registration date. Drivers are required to keep a receipt as proof of payment.
The amount you must pay differs for those who registered the vehicle before and after July 2017. Those car owners who registered their vehicles before the date, pay the tax according to the age of the car and its engine size. On the other hand, if the vehicle was registered after July 2017, the tax takes into consideration the vehicle’s CO2 emissions and the power of the engine.
Supermarkets in Portugal
Grocery shopping is a great way to interact with the locals, learn some new words and get an understanding of Portuguese culture.
Most of the supermarkets in Portugal are open between 8 am to 8 pm daily. As most of them are opened at lunchtime and during the weekends, you will not lose the opportunity to come by the shop to buy what you need.
Let’s have a look at the most popular of them!
- Pingo Doce – the largest supermarket chain in Portugal. It is well known for its wide range of healthy products.
- Pão de Açúcar – a chain of supermarkets belonging to the French group, Auchan. Since 2019 it operates under the name of Auchan
- Minipreço – a viral supermarket chain, known for its “mini prices”.
- SPAR – a western European supermarket chain for well-off customers.
- Continente – founded in 1985 in Matosinhos. It is a relatively popular chain of supermarkets.
- Lidl – initially founded in Germany is now one of the most popular discount supermarket chains in the whole of Europe.
- Intermarché – a popular supermarket brand around Europe
- Apolonia Supermercados – popular in the Algarve region.