Sports and leisure in Portugal


Called The Beautiful Game, the Portuguese are ardent futebol Fans. From club matches to the national team, everyone has a favorite player and team that they follow with great dedication.


The game demands speed, dexterity, stamina and strategy. Portugal’s Cristiano Renaldo is arguably the best player in the world and José Marinho is widely recognized as a gifted coach.

For professional players, being on the national team is the height of success. Many professional footballers play internationally for other teams; for example Renaldo plays for Real Madrid. As qualifying for the Quadrennial World Cup draws near, players are nominated for the national team. Below the national team is the club game. Premeira Liga, with 14 teams, is the premier league and the Segunda Ligapitches 22 teams.

Every city and region has a host of amateur leagues, as well as varsity and school teams ranging from five to five to full teams. Naturally, you can find a group of kids (or adults) kicking the ball anywhere there is a bit of open space.


Futsal, indoor 5-a-side football, is played on a hard surface. There are several leagues divided into divisions. 1a Divisao is the top league.

Everything else

  • Athletics: Portugal has a number of top level runners and has done well at the recent Olympic Games in London and Beijing; there are also a number of top cross country racers from Portugal

  • Canoeing: Portugal has many top Olympians in this sport; kayaking and canoeing are popular sports for tourists and locals

  • Cycling: Volta to Portugal is the annual professional long-distance race; bicycle tours and mountain bike trails are widely available in all regions

  • Martial Arts: Jogo do Pau is a traditional martial art of stick fighting dating from the Middle Ages (fencing and judo are also popular)

  • Motorsport: Rally, motorcycle racing and the A1 Grand Prix are popular sports for spectators, with some races (Rally Madeira and Lisboa-Dakar) receiving international attention

  • Bullfights: Portuguese bullfights differ in style from Spanish customs, in particular the bull is not killed in the ring; running with the bulls, as in Pamplona, ​​Spain, is popular in the Azores

  • Golf: The Algarve has some great courses and many of Portugal’s top pros play in the area

  • Airsoft: Known as paintball in the United States, the game is popular across the country

  • Water sports: Surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing and sailing are all popular, especially in the Algarve

  • Portugal is considered one of the best waves in Europe, especially around the central coastal town of Peniche. Recently the biggest wave ever to be surfed was recorded in Nazaré, about 30 minutes north of Peniche.



Traditional Portuguese sewing and the fiber arts began in the nunneries and cottage industries. Sheer linens, rugs, lace provided a livelihood for many families and grew to be celebrated for craftsmanship. Portuguese textiles are well known around the world.

  • Embroidery: Portuguese embroidery is highly sought after with its intricate stitches and rich colors; styles vary by region, with the best known examples from Madeira and Castelo Branco; white embroidery (white thread on white fabric) is also popular with modern needlework workers

  • Carpet / tapestry manufacturing: Arraiolos in the south of Portugal is famous for its pure wool rugs; the patterns and style are similar to Persian rugs; Portalegre is well known for its finely detailed tapestry with up to 25,000 stitches per square meter

  • Knitting: Portuguese knitting is popular with knitters all over the world; also known as continental knitting

  • Crochet / lace-making: fine-thread crochet lace and bobbin lace were developed as another way to make ends meet in poorer families; well known styles include secret, secret of love and Loulé lace

  • Weaving: The Serra da Estrela region is well known for its thick and dense waterproof covers (mantas); 100% wool, blankets are free of dyes and chemicals

Folk dance

Traditional Portuguese folk dances, usually slower than those of their Spanish neighbors, reflect the court and wedding customs of their region of origin. Well-known dances include: fandango, vira, corrinhdo, chula and viranda. To dance well, it takes time, practice, endurance, and instruction.

Source by James E Harrison


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