You want to enjoy the country’s rich and flavorful cuisine when visiting Portugal. That means enjoying breakfast, one of Lisbon’s most important meals of the day.

But what exactly is it about Portuguese brunch that makes it so popular? Well, for starters, Portuguese people don’t have much time to cook elaborate meals in the morning. As most of us, right?

Instead, they tend to keep things simple: Coffee with milk and sugar, bread or toast, maybe some fruit, cheese, or ham, plus maybe some pastries or cake as well if there’s time before work. It might not look like much, but this classic spread is delicious and nutritious!

Introduction to Traditional Portuguese Breakfast Foods

brunch in portugal

In Portugal, breakfast is a cherished affair that varies across regions but consistently celebrates the country’s diverse culinary offerings. Unlike the stereotypical continental breakfast, which often features cereal and pastries, a traditional Portuguese breakfast is a heartier and more savory affair. Some of the staple items you might find gracing breakfast tables include:

  1. Bread and Pastries: Portugal is renowned for its various bread types and pastries. The “pão com manteiga e fiambre” (bread with butter and ham) or “torrada” (toasted bread) are common choices. Pastéis de nata, the iconic custard tarts, are also sometimes enjoyed in the morning.
  2. Cheese and Cold Cuts: Regional cheeses and cured meats take center stage. From the mild Queijo da Serra in the mountains to the intense São Jorge cheese in the Azores, the cheese selection is as diverse as the landscapes.
  3. Coffee: Coffee is an integral part of breakfast in Portugal. Whether it’s a strong espresso (“bica”), a creamy “galão,” or a “meia de leite” (similar to a latte), the coffee culture here is an art form in itself.
  4. Fruit: Fresh fruit, especially oranges, are often enjoyed as a refreshing way to start the day. In some regions, you might find figs, grapes, or other seasonal fruits.

Try the Portuguese continental breakfast

The Portuguese continental breakfast is not a full meal. It’s a light breakfast that can be eaten anytime, but it’s most commonly eaten as an early morning snack or after lunch. A typical Portuguese continental breakfast includes coffee, bread, cheese (usually feta), fruit, and yogurt.

Food Tours in Portugal


Ask for bread and cheese with your coffee

One of the most popular Portuguese breakfasts is bread and cheese. The combination is so ubiquitous that it is named pao com queijo (bread with cheese). You can find it at any bakery or supermarket, but if you want to go all out, plenty of restaurants specialize in this dish alone.

The Portuguese love their bread-one of the staples of their cuisine, along with codfish and wine and cheese. In fact, Portugal produces more than 1 million tons of dairy products each year! So when people get together for breakfast or brunch (the term used here), they often order both items together because they’re both good sources of protein and calcium.

Pao de Queijo
Pao de Queijo

You’ll find pao com queijo on menus throughout Portugal; however, there are regional variations depending on what type of bread you prefer and how much cheese gets melted over the top of your slice before serving it up hot from the ovens underneath where everyone can watch as things get heated up without burning anything off too quickly…or anything else getting burnt either!

Don’t miss out on pastries in Portugal

While you’re in Portugal, don’t miss out on the pastries. These flaky treats are a big part of Portuguese cuisine and can be found at every meal, from breakfast to dinner. They’re also a great way to sample traditional ingredients like cheese and almonds while you’re there!

Some pastries are only available during certain times of the year, so ask your server if they have what you want before ordering. For example, Bolo Rei (King’s Cake) only appears during Christmas. So if you want some cakey goodness this December holiday season (and who doesn’t?), head over now before it’s too late!

bolo rei

While cafés and pastry shops known as pastelerias are numerous nationwide, eating breakfast at one of these locations is very usual. This is not considered a luxury, and, unlike going out for brunch, which is a more formal occasion, it may be extremely cheaply priced. Breakfast combinations will be available at many cafés.

Chain shops such as A Padaria Portuguesa will sell breakfast menus, including sandwiches, pastries, fresh orange juice, and coffee for as low as 3.5 euros.

Go for something savory, too

Francesinha sandwich
Francesinha sandwich

Most homes choose ham (fiambre), cheese (queijo), or a mix of both (mista) in their sandwiches. Meat enthusiasts may also incorporate thin slices of various cold cuts in their sandwiches, such as chouriço, a thick chorizo kind of cured sausage, or paio, smoked pig loin. Cured ham is not as typical in the morning as later in the day, but those who like a more substantial breakfast are not unfamiliar with sandes de presunto.

Pair your meal with a glass of wine or beer.

The Portuguese are known for their love of wine, and it’s easy to see why. The country has some of the best European vineyards, producing award-winning wines perfect for pairing with your brunch.

But if you’d rather have a beer or coffee than a glass of vinho verde (as they call it), no problem! The Portuguese also make great coffee and tea. And there’s no need to worry about carbonated beverages like soda or sparkling water here, either. These are both frowned upon by locals during meals.


Portugal Wine Tours

Brunch is an important part of life in Portugal!

Brunch is an important part of life in Portugal and an excellent way to sample the local cuisine. Portuguese brunch is not just about coffee and pastries. It’s also a great opportunity to try bread with cheese or other regional specialties.

Portuguese people love their brunches! In fact, they consume more per capita than any other country in Europe (and probably North America). Many types of restaurants serve brunch on weekends: cafés, bistros, and even traditional taverns will offer these meals on weekend mornings.

The most popular dishes include fresh juices like orange juice (suco de laranja), grapefruit juice (suco de toranja), watermelon juice (suco de melao), or carrot juice; sweet crêpes filled with chocolate cream; salty egg sandwiches made with ham slices; egg dishes like omelets stuffed with cheese; sliced ham served with scrambled eggs cooked in butter sauce…

Conclusion for Portuguese brunch!

Brunch is a delicious way to sample Portuguese cuisine and enjoy the company of friends and family. While there are many different types of brunch, we recommend trying a continental breakfast and pairing it with wine or beer.

If you’re craving something savory, go for pastries!