Sports and Pastimes

If we’re going to talk about national sports and pastimes in Portugal, then we have to begin with football.

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Football is a national obsession. Yes, it’s a national obsession in the UK too, but in Portugal, people tend to take an avid interest in Portuguese football, Spanish football AND English football. Needless to say, that’s a lot of football.

Playing football is equally popular, although in the Algarve at least, much of it is played on hard pitches. Expats who play football should have no problem at all finding a local team to play for. Tournaments abound, and in some Algarve areas there are enough expats to form teams of their own.

Expats who decide to follow a Portuguese team enjoy a friendly atmosphere at matches, and lower ticket prices than back in the UK. However, Algarve expats only have one team to choose from: Olhanense, currently in the Portuguese first division.

Golf is also big business in Portugal and, indeed, one of the reasons many people visit. However, it’s not accurate to describe it as a national sport. Golf (in the Algarve especially) is an expensive pursuit that’s beyond the financial reach of many locals and expats. However, those that can afford it have access to some of the finest facilities in the world, and those who can nearly afford it can benefit from good off-season offers.

With most of the heavily populated areas of Portugal located on the coast, it’s unsurprising that a lot of local pastimes are connected to the sea. Fishing is very popular, and it’s usually not long until new expats meet somebody with a boat. Similarly, surfing, jet skiing and other watersports are widely enjoyed.

General fitness is easy to maintain in Portugal (at least for those with the motivation!). Municipal facilities are surprisingly good, with many councils providing outdoor gyms for free use, inexpensive public swimming pools and other amenities. Fitness classes such as Zumba and Yoga are increasingly popular throughout the country.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning reading. This may come as a surprise to those not “in the know”, but Portugal is very proud of its rich literary heritage, and of authors such as José Saramago and Fernando Pessoa. These figures are treated with equal reverence to sporting stars and musicians – and for anyone tiring of an increasingly superficial world, this is something to be thankful for.

There are all sorts of schools teaching diving, sailing and kayaking amongst other things, even to the very young.

In Calalunya, petanca is also popular, played by locals and nationals alike. All that is required for this is a stretch of sandy gravel of 10 metres or more, preferably under shady trees, two or more teams of two or three people each, with two or three weighty metal balls, a small wooden ball, the “boliche”, a good eye and a couple of hours to spare! Many towns and villages have designated areas for petanca – and don’t be mistaken in thinking that it is just a game for elderly men wearing caps – everyone gets involved and it’s very sociable


Further reading for Living In Portugal

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Finding work in Portugal

There are a number of ways that UK expats can fund their lifestyle in Portugal.
Read more...

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Social life in Portugal

The best way to get settled in Portugal is to find out as much as you can about your new community.
Read more...

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Heathcare

One of the first things you need to do once you arrive in Portugal is find out where your nearest hospital is.
Read more...

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Education in Portugal

Are you emigrating to Portugal with school-age children?
 

Read more...


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For more information on buying in or making the move overseas, contact the Portugal Buying Guide Resources Team on 0207 898 0549 or email them here.


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Don't forget to download your own copy of the Portugal Buying Guide, your guide to successfully purchase a property in France
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