How to Say Hello in Lisbon: Formal and Informal Ways

Welcome to Lisbon, the stunning capital of Portugal! If you’re planning a visit or just want to connect with the locals, knowing how to say hello in Lisbon is a great way to make a warm first impression. In this guide, we’ll explore both formal and informal ways to greet people in Lisbon, as well as provide some tips, examples, and even touch upon regional variations. Let’s dive in!

Formal Greetings in Lisbon

When it comes to formal greetings in Lisbon, the Portuguese language follows some common conventions. Employing these phrases in appropriate settings, such as a business meeting or when meeting someone for the first time, can demonstrate respect and politeness:

1. Bom dia

This versatile greeting literally translates to “Good day” and is used as a formal hello from morning until early evening. It’s perfectly fitting for any situation, whether you’re greeting a stranger or addressing a business associate.

2. Boa tarde

As the day moves forward, you can switch to “Boa tarde,” meaning “Good afternoon.” This greeting is typically used from early afternoon until early evening. It’s a polite and appropriate way to greet people during this time frame.

3. Boa noite

As night falls, you can transition to “Boa noite,” which means “Good evening” or “Good night.” This phrase is suitable for formal interactions during the evening and night-time hours.

Informal Greetings in Lisbon

While formal greetings are crucial in specific situations, informal greetings allow you to connect with locals on a more personal level. These phrases are perfect for greeting friends, family, or people you’re familiar with:

1. Olá

The informal counterpart to “Hello” in Lisbon is “Olá.” It works in both casual and semi-formal situations, making it a versatile and commonly used greeting. You can use it to greet friends, coworkers, or people of the same age group.

2. Oi

Similar to “Olá,” “Oi” is another informal way to greet people in Lisbon. This friendly and relaxed greeting is widely used among friends, family, and close acquaintances. Embrace it to make a warm and approachable first impression!

Regional Variations

Portugal is a country rich in culture and regional diversity. While most standard greetings mentioned earlier are universally understood and used in Lisbon, there are a few regional variations worth exploring:

1. Marhaba

In some neighborhoods of Lisbon, such as Mouraria, which has a significant presence of Arabic culture, you might come across the greeting “Marhaba.” This word means “Hello” in Arabic and is used informally by people in the community.

2. Alô

“Alô” is a casual and modern way to say hello in Lisbon. Although it’s not specific to the city, you may hear it more frequently in urban areas among younger generations. It’s a catchy and cool way to greet someone.

Tips and Examples

To make your greetings more natural and sincere, here are some tips and examples to keep in mind:


  • Always consider the context and formality level of the situation before greeting someone.
  • Pay attention to the time of day and use the appropriate greeting accordingly.
  • Smile and make eye contact while greeting someone—these small gestures can go a long way.
  • If in doubt, opt for a formal greeting as a sign of respect.
  • Embrace local customs and greetings to genuinely connect with the people of Lisbon.


  • Formal: When entering a meeting, you can say, “Bom dia, prazer em conhecê-lo,” which means “Good day, nice to meet you.”
  • Informal: When meeting a friend, you might say, “Olá! Como estás?” which translates to “Hello! How are you?”
  • Regional Variant: In Mouraria, if you encounter someone you know, you could greet them with “Marhaba! Tudo bem?” meaning “Hello! How are you?”

Remember, greetings are just the beginning of a conversation in Lisbon. Be prepared to engage in further small talk, ask about the person’s wellbeing, and show genuine interest. The warm and welcoming nature of Lisboetas will surely make your interactions memorable.

That wraps up our guide on how to say hello in Lisbon, featuring both formal and informal greetings, a touch of regional variations, and a bunch of tips and examples. Now, armed with these language insights, go ahead and greet the people of Lisbon with confidence and warmth! Boa viagem (good journey)!

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