A to Z of Portugal – Letters J to L

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J is for Junta (de freguesia)

The Junta de Freguesia is the equivalent of a local parish council in the UK. The junta itself usually refers to the town or village hall. In many small villages the junta shares a building with the local post office, so is a place you end up visiting fairly often.

I am tempted to be cynical and use the fact that the Junta is an official building to head off on yet another rant about Portuguese bureaucracy – but I won’t. I will instead say that, in our experience at least, the local junta represents the friendly end of the Portuguese bureaucratic experience.

A Junta de Freguesia in Portugal
A Junta de Freguesia in Portugal

One of the key pieces of paper a new Portuguese resident needs to get from the junta is a form called an atestado. This is often required when applying for Portuguese residency and requires two local voters to vouch for the fact you live in the town or village. It is worth getting an atestado, as the need for one seems to randomly pop up in all kinds of situations!

K is tricky

The letter “K,” strictly speaking, is not part of the Portuguese language. Although it is included in the Portuguese alphabet (and said, phonetically, as “kappa,”) it is only found within words loaned to the language from other tongues.

So there you go, I don’t really have a “K,” but you got some free language trivia. Perhaps “K” is for “Kop Out.”

L is for Lisboa

I actually thought of a few different things for the letter “L,” including lingueirão (razor clams), Lagos (our favourite town in the West Algarve), and laranjas (oranges). But, how can I not choose the country’s beautiful capital city?

Looking over the Tagus from Lisbon
Looking over the Tagus from Lisbon

Lisboa (or Lisbon to the rest of the world), is now the place we head to for many of our short holidays (you can read about one of our trips to Lisbon here, and also find out about neighbouring Sintra and Cascais here).

Now we have been to Lisbon several times, it’s wonderful to have built up a general sense of direction in the city and got used to using the subway system and local trains. Together with being able to speak semi-understandable Portuguese, this makes us feel a lot more “local” in the city – and it’s a wonderful feeling.

As I am mentioning Lisbon, I feel I should draw readers attention to the wonderful book, “The Moon Come to Earth” by Philip Graham, an American who spent some time living in the city and who I interviewed in this post. His book can be found at the link below:

The Moon, Come to Earth: Dispatches from Lisbon

This time last year – we were deliberating as to what to do about a car of our own, and beginning to enter a “worn down by red tape” phase – you can read the post here.

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  1. Junta de freguesia de Alcanhões. I live near that. It has place in the center of the country, in Ribatejo(Santarém), where it’s produced great wine (not porto type, with heavy flavour). Great place to visit in the winter/autumn season. If you go there, try “pampilhos”, a great pastry.

  2. Hi Rodrigo,

    Thank you for the tip. We will certainly check it out when we are next in the area 🙂

    Best wishes,


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