What My Personal A to Z of Portugal is all about

In 2012, I began working on a series of blog posts, each based on a letter of the alphabet, to create a personal A to Z of Portugal. The posts are about aspects of living and travelling in Portugal that I feel strongly about, one way or another, each based on a letter of the alphabet.

Some are about things I adore or find amusing or interesting, others are about irritations and frustrations I’ve experienced as a foreigner living and working in Portugal.

Over the years, I’ve changed some of the titles and updated the information so it’s still relevant (or annotated if it’s no longer applicable). If you’ve moved to Portugal, or are thinking of relocating, they might give you some insights into expat life in Portugal.


My Personal A to Z of Portugal posts so far:

A Is For Alva, The River AlvaObservations about the river that runs beneath our house

B Is For Beirão, Licor Beirão – My favourite Portuguese liqueur

B Is For Brambles And The Battle To Banish Them – How to tackle clearing land of brambles

C Is For Comfort In A Foreign Country – What to consider when choosing a country to relocate to. What do you need in order to feel sufficiently comfortable with your life abroad?

D Is For Daisy, Our Adopted Rescue Dog– How we met and adopted a dog from the municipal kennels in Coimbra

E Is For Eucalyptus Trees– Why are there so many eucalyptus forests in Portugal and what’s the problem with that?

F Is For Fado, Traditional Portuguese Music– Love it or hate it, this UNESCO World Heritage musical genre is unique to Portugal

G Is For Gold, Portuguese Gold– The quality of gold in Portugal is superior to that in other countries. It’s also used to make beautiful filigree jewellery

H Is For Handkerchiefs Of Love, A Romantic Portuguese Tradition– One of my favourite Portuguese crafts

I Is For Ice CreamOur all time favourite ice cream parlour is in Figueira da Foz

J Is For Jazz In Portugal– While not my favourite genre, Jazz is popular in Portugal – find out about typical Jazz events in Central Portugal

K Is For Kissing In Portugal– Cheek kissing is a common greeting in Portugal but it’s fraught with uncertainty for the uninitiated

L Is For Lace Making In Portugal – Two towns in Portugal are particularly famous for their tradition of Bobbin lace making 

M Is For Mimosa Trees– Like eucalyptus, Mimosa trees, although attractive, are a plague on Portugal’s biodiversity

N Is For NataPastel de Nata– All you need to know about the famous Portuguese custard tart

O Is For Olives in Portugal – Our disastrous experience of attempting to cure olives and what professionally produced Portuguese olives are like (delicious!)

P Is For Portuguese foodWhich Portuguese foods I really enjoy and recommend you try if you get the chance

Q Is For Quotes And Builders– One of the most frustrating aspects of living in Portugal is getting quotes and work done. Think twice before jumping into a renovation project!

R Is For Rain In Portugal – It’s not always sunny here – find out what it’s like to live in Portugal during extended rainy periods

S Is For Safe, At Last!– How safe is Portugal? Very – find out why…

T Is For Thigh Tiles – Curiosities about Portuguese roof tiles

U is for UNESCO World Heritage – Portugal has an ever-growing list of World Heritage sites, 4 of them are in Central Portugal

V is for Vidago Palace – A truly special hotel in the north of Portugal

W Is For Writing And Becoming A Freelance Writer – My journey from TEFL teacher to freelance writer 

X Is For eXpatSince writing this post, I’ve come to realise that I am, of course, an immigrant rather than an expat but you may find the observations and my identity struggle of interest

Y Is For Yokes – Back when beasts of burden were commonplace in Portugal, beautifully carved wooden yokes were  something of a status symbol

Z Is For Zapping, The Best Way Of Paying For Public Transport In Lisbon – How to use the Zapping system in Lisbon


  1. Hello Julie,
    All yours posts are a lot helpful. I am an intern student from India living at Cantanhede (Centro region). I need some few details
    1) about shopping card “loyalty card” for continente store. Everything is in Portuguese in their website so please help me out. I opt for it since its a six month stay here.
    2) And suggest me some good restraunts in Cantanhede Centro Region (if any, you might know).
    That’s all thank you.

    1. Author

      Hi Sivaa, I’d suggest going to the customer services counter of the supermarket. There’s probably someone working there who can speak English better than you can speak Portuguese and will help you compete the form.

      As for restaurants, Dom Finino in Cantanhede is supposed to be excellent for seafood.

  2. Thank you for spreading the message. We should be so proud of our country’s legacy, and yet we tend to overlook it and blame anything else but OURSELVES. Your blog is, in a kind of way, the portuguese version of Bill Bryson’s ‘Mother Tongue’. Well done!

    1. Author

      Thank you, João. What a compliment to be compared to Bill Bryson 🙂

  3. Fantastic idea! Mind if I join in as well? Cheers.

Over to you. Please share your thoughts in a comment.