Top 10 phrases to learn on your holiday to Portugal

Portuguese often slips through the cracks for us Brits. Though not in the ranks of high school languages like French, Spanish and German, there are around 210 million native speakers. That’s because it’s the official language in nine countries, including Brazil, Angola, Cape Verde and of course Portugal itself.

If you’re heading over to that beautiful Mediterranean spot to the south, then it’s a good idea to memorise some basic Portuguese phrases. You never know when your smattering of the language could get you noticed amid a group of tourists who haven’t made the effort – that little bit of knowledge really goes a long way.

To help you along on your holiday to Portugal we’ve collected together the top 10 phrases that’ll mean you’re never lost for words.

1. O, desculpe!

First thing’s first, how to get noticed.

O, desculpe! translates roughly to ‘excuse me’, and works universally in Portugal, whether asking for directions in the street, apologising, or trying to catch a waiter’s attention.

2. Vai mais uma?

So you’ve been noticed, the waiter’s come over and you’re unsure what to say next. You look over to your friends, see all the glasses are empty and realise it must be time for another round. ‘Vai mais uma?’ is what you say in this situation – simply meaning ‘One more?’

3. Qual e o seu nome?

A sure fire way of winning admiration and forming the beginnings of a friendship is to ask in Portuguese what someone’s name is.

Using the informal version of ‘Qual e o seu nome?’ means there’s no worry about offending by choosing the wrong male or female variation. And if you’re asked for your name you can astutely reply with ‘Me chamo…’.

4. Muito Prazer

If you’d rather keep it formal or just want to express your delight at meeting the person, go with ‘Muito Prazer’. It means ‘pleased to meet you’ and will undoubtedly get across how you feel before heading off to continue your travels.

5. Bora la, pessoal!

When you’re trying to get the crew moving, hurry up the kids or convince your mates to join you on a spontaneous island hopping trip, this is the clinching phrase. It means, quite simply, ‘c’mon, guys!’ If that doesn’t work, we don’t know what will.

6. Onde e a casa de banho?

All those calls of ‘Vai mais uma?’ inevitably mean that at some point nature will come calling. Luckily, asking ‘where’s the bathroom?’ is as easy as ‘Onde e a casa de banho?’.

7. Quanto custa isto?

Knowing how to speak even a little bit of the native language in a place you’re visiting can mean you get to see the lesser-travelled side of the country.

This means more authentic souvenirs, and is when ‘Quanto custa isto?’ will come in handy when you need to ask ‘how much does it cost?’. It might even mean they give you a lower price for your efforts.

8. Qual e o seu numero de telefone?

An important one in any language, ‘What’s your telephone number?’ can come in handy in a whole range of scenarios. You could need to arrange a taxi, ensure you have your hotel’s contact details, or, of course, you may just have met somebody special in a bar.

9. Ate mais!

It’s time to bid farewell to all those new friends you made thanks to the Portuguese you know. Depending on how casual you want to keep it, you can throw out a quick ‘Ate mais!’. That’s ‘see you later!’ in English.

10. Eu nao falo Portugues

Although hopefully after our little run down you’re a bit more au fait with Portuguese, you may need to tell people from time to time that you don’t speak the language. ‘Eu nao falo Portugues’ means ‘I don’t speak Portuguese’, but you already knew that, right?