Written by:
Sep 18, 2023

41+ Common Portuguese Phrases for Everyday Life and Travel

A short Introduction on Portuguese 

The Portuguese language, a beautiful and melodious Romance language, is spoken by millions of people worldwide. It holds the status of the official language of Portugal, where it has deep historical roots, and is also the primary language spoken in Brazil, which is home to the largest population of Portuguese speakers in the world. Beyond these two major hubs, Portuguese is spoken in various other countries, making it a truly global language.

These are just a few reasons why you need to learn basic phrases in Portuguese. So

let’s not waste any time and quickly dive into the most useful Portuguese expressions.

What Are the Most Common Portuguese Phrases?

Before we embark on our journey through basic Portuguese phrases for various situations, let's start with some fundamental Portuguese expressions. These phrases serve as the building blocks for effective communication, and whether you find yourself in the vibrant streets of Rio de Janeiro or the charming alleys of Lisbon, you'll be glad to have these in your linguistic toolkit. Here are 15 common Portuguese phrases along with their English translations or brief explanations:

  • Olá - Hello

Use this when greeting someone in a friendly and casual manner. It's appropriate for most situations.

  • Por favor - Please

Include this when making a polite request or asking for something. It adds politeness to your interactions.

  • Obrigado/a - Thank you (male/female)

Express your gratitude when someone does something for you. Use obrigado if you're male and obrigada if you're female.

  • Desculpe - Excuse me / I'm sorry

Say this when you need to get someone's attention, apologise, or express regret for a mistake. It's versatile in its usage.

  • Sim / Não - Yes / No

Employ these simple affirmatives or negatives to answer questions with clarity.

  • Quanto custa? - How much does it cost

Use this phrase when inquiring about the price of an item or service.

  • Onde fica...? - Where is...?

Utilise this question to ask for directions or the location of a place or object.

  • A conta, por favor - The bill, please

Request the bill at a restaurant or any other establishment when you're ready to pay.

  • Fala inglês? - Do you speak English?

Use this question when you need to communicate in English, especially when travelling or seeking assistance.

  • Preciso de ajuda - I need help

Express your need for assistance when you require help in a polite and straightforward manner.

  • Bom dia - Good morning

Greet someone in the morning until around noon with this phrase for a friendly and respectful interaction.

  • Boa tarde - Good afternoon

Employ this greeting in the afternoon, typically from noon until early evening.

  • Boa noite - Good evening / Good night

Use this phrase in the evening or when saying goodbye late in the day.

  • Tchau / Adeus - Goodbye.

Say tchau in casual settings and adeus when parting in a more formal or permanent manner.

  • Gostaria de... - I would like…

Use this phrase when ordering at a restaurant, making a request, or stating your preferences.

These useful Portuguese phrases are versatile and can be used in a wide range of situations. Whether you're greeting someone, seeking assistance, or expressing gratitude, these expressions will be invaluable throughout your journey.

Portuguese Phrases for Asking Directions

Navigating through unfamiliar streets is an adventure in itself, but it can also be challenging. To ensure you reach your intended destinations with ease, here are seven basic Portuguese phrases for asking directions:

  • Como chego a...? - How do I get to...?
    Use this phrase when you need directions to a specific location or when asking for guidance to reach a place.
  • Estou perdido/a - I am lost
    Express your confusion or need for assistance when you're unsure of your location.
  • Pode mostrar-me no mapa? - Can you show me on the map?
    Ask someone to use a map to visually guide you to a location. Useful when you have a map available.
  • Fica longe/perto daqui? - Is it far/close from here?
    Use these questions to determine the distance between your current location and the destination you're asking about.
  • Vire à direita/esquerda - Turn right/left
    Provide or follow directions by indicating the direction to turn when navigating streets or pathways.
  • Continue em frente - Go straight ahead
    Use this phrase to advise someone to keep moving in the same direction without turning.
  • Estou à procura de... - I'm looking for…
    Let someone know that you are searching for a specific item or place, which can be helpful when seeking assistance or directions.

These useful Portuguese phrases will not only help you find your way but also enable you to engage with locals and make your journey more interactive and enjoyable.

Portuguese Phrases for Shopping

No trip is complete without a bit of retail therapy. Whether you're picking up souvenirs, clothing, or local products, these phrases will be your allies in the shopping world:

  • Quanto custa isso? - How much does this cost?

Use this question when you want to inquire about the price of a specific item or product.

  • Gostaria de comprar isto - I would like to buy this

Use this phrase when you're ready to make a purchase and want to indicate your choice.

  • Aceita cartão de crédito? - Do you accept credit cards?

Ask this question when you're making a payment and want to know if the establishment accepts credit card payments.

  • Posso experimentar isto? - Can I try this on?

Use this phrase when you're shopping for clothing or trying out any item that requires testing or fitting.

  • Tem algum desconto? - Is there any discount?

Inquire about discounts or promotions when you want to know if the product you're interested in is available at a reduced price.

  • Esta cor/tamanho está disponível? - Is this color/size available?

Use this question when you want to check if a particular colour or size of an item is in stock.

  • Onde fica a casa de câmbio? - Where is the currency exchange?

Use this question to ask for directions to a currency exchange facility or booth when you need to exchange money while travelling.

These phrases will not only make your shopping experience smoother but also help you strike up conversations with local shopkeepers, providing insights into their culture and products.

Portuguese Phrases for Restaurants

Exploring local cuisine is a highlight of any journey, and ordering food in Portuguese restaurants can be a delightful experience. Here are seven Portuguese phrases to enhance your dining adventures:

  • Mesa para dois, por favor - Table for two, please

Use this phrase when you arrive at a restaurant and want to request a table for a specific number of people.

  • O menu, por favor - The menu, please

Request the menu from the server to browse the list of available dishes and drinks.

  • A recomendação do chef - Chef's recommendation

Ask for the chef's recommendation when you want to try a special dish that the chef recommends.

  • Gostaria de um café / vinho - I would like coffee / wine

Use these phrases to order beverages, specifying whether you'd like a coffee or a glass of wine.

  • Está delicioso! - It 's delicious!

Express your appreciation for the food when you find it tasty. It's a compliment to the chef.

  • A conta, por favor - The bill, please

Request the bill when you're ready to pay for your meal.

  • O serviço está incluído? - Is the service charge included?

Ask about the service charge if you're unsure whether the tip or service fee is already included in the bill.

Using these phrases not only ensures you enjoy a delicious meal but also fosters a deeper connection with the local culture and cuisine.

Portuguese Phrases for Accommodations and Hotels

Comfortable lodgings are essential for any traveller. These Portuguese phrases will help you secure accommodations and ensure a pleasant stay:

  • Tenho uma reserva - I have a reservation

Use this phrase when you arrive at a hotel to inform the staff that you have a pre-booked room.

  • Quarto individual/duplo - Single/double room

Specify the type of room you want when booking or checking in. Individual means a single room, while duplo is a double room.

  • Preciso de toalhas extras - I need extra towels

Request additional towels if you require more than what is provided in your room.

  • O meu quarto não está limpo - My room is not clean

Inform the hotel staff if you find your room to be unclean or if it requires cleaning.

  • A que horas é o check-out? - What time is check-out?

Ask about the check-out time to ensure you leave your room at the appropriate time on your departure day.

  • O Wi-Fi é gratuito? - Is the Wi-Fi free?

Inquire about the availability and cost of Wi-Fi access in the hotel. This is especially important if you rely on internet connectivity.

  • Posso guardar a minha bagagem aqui? - Can I store my luggage here?

Ask the hotel staff if they offer luggage storage services if you need to leave your bags after check-out or before check-in.

These phrases will ensure you have a comfortable and hassle-free stay in your chosen accommodations.

Portuguese: A Language of Diversity

Before we dive into the intricacies of the language, it's crucial to understand that Portuguese, like English, has regional variations. The two primary branches of Portuguese are European Portuguese (Português Europeu or pt-PT) and Brazilian Portuguese (Português Brasileiro or pt-BR). These regional distinctions encompass pronunciation, vocabulary, and even certain idiomatic expressions. Understanding these differences is essential for travellers, as it can greatly impact their ability to communicate effectively and immerse themselves in the local culture.

European Portuguese vs. Brazilian Portuguese

  • Pronunciation:

One of the most noticeable differences between European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese is pronunciation. For instance, in European Portuguese, the 's' at the end of words is often pronounced like 'sh', whereas in Brazilian Portuguese, it's pronounced as 's'. So, "Portugal" would be pronounced "Pur-tu-gal" in European Portuguese and "Pur-tu-gau" in Brazilian Portuguese.

  • Vocabulary:

There are also variations in vocabulary. Some words are unique to one region or have different meanings. For example, the word for bus in European Portuguese is autocarro, while in Brazilian Portuguese, it's ônibus.

  • Idioms and Expressions:

Regional idioms and expressions can also differ. A classic example is the use of tudo ótimo, which means "everything's great", but is more commonly used in Brazil. In Portugal, you might hear (está) tudo bem instead.

  • Grammar:

Grammar rules, such as verb conjugation, remain largely consistent between the two versions. However, there are subtle differences, especially in verb conjugation and verb tense usage, that might be noticed by more advanced speakers.

If you are still wondering which dialect to learn, check out our blog about how European and Brazilian Portuguese differ.  

Are There Any Similar Common Phrases in Brazilian and European Portuguese?

Yes, many common phrases are shared between Brazilian Portuguese (pt-BR) and European Portuguese (pt-PT). While there are some regional variations in pronunciation and vocabulary, you can generally use the phrases mentioned above in both regions. Native speakers will understand you, and your efforts to communicate in their language will be greatly appreciated.

Don’t hesitate to test your knowledge on Portuguese and Brazilian culture. 

How Drops Language Learning Can Help you in your Language Journey

Learning these everyday Portuguese phrases can greatly enhance your travel experience, fostering deeper connections with the local culture and people. To expedite your language learning journey, consider using language learning apps like Drops. Drops offers bite-sized lessons, vocabulary exercises, and pronunciation practice tailored to your specific needs. Here are some benefits of learning Portuguese:

  1. Enhanced Cultural Experience: speaking the local language opens doors to deeper cultural connections and authentic experiences, allowing you to engage with locals on a more profound level.

  1. Improved Communication: being able to communicate in Portuguese helps you navigate various situations, from ordering food to asking for directions, with confidence and ease.

  1. Friendship and Connection: locals often appreciate when travellers make an effort to speak their language. Your attempts to communicate in Portuguese can lead to meaningful connections and friendships that enhance your journey.

In conclusion, learning common Portuguese phrases is a valuable investment for any traveller heading to a Portuguese-speaking destination. With these Portuguese  expressions in your toolkit, you'll not only enrich your travel experience but also build bridges of communication and connection with the people you meet along the way. So, whether you're strolling along the beaches of Rio de Janeiro or exploring the historic sites of Lisbon, embrace the Portuguese language, and embark on a journey filled with meaningful interactions and unforgettable moments. Start learning Portuguese now! 

Javier Gil is our Senior Language Operations Manager. He loves linguistics, reading, skincare, 90s music, and Zumba. He currently lives in Spain.

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