Here is a link to information about sport across Portugal.

Football (soccer)

This is the Portuguese football set-up in descending order as it was for season 2007-2008. Changes are planned for 2008 - 2009 but these are not yet confirmed.

  1. BWin Superliga - Benfica, Porto, Sporting etc;
  2. Liga Vitalis (formerly Liga de Honra);
  3. Division 2 - four regional sections;
  4. Division 3 - six regional sections plus a separate one for the Azores;
  5. Regional and District Leagues.

The media is obsessed with the minutae of goings-on in the 'big three' clubs and almost ignores everyone else. There are four daily sports newspapers, with much of their content devoted to Benfica, Sporting and FC Porto.

You can get a good English language overview of Portuguese football at the top level at www.portuguesesoccer.com - this site also has links to the various club and league websites plus links to all the sports newspapers etc.

Another good website, with areas in English and several other languages, is www.zerozero.pt which among a lot of information, has results, league tables and fixtures for all levels of the game in Portugal.

There is virtually no recreational or 'park' football as known in the UK and elsewhere.

There are also national and regional set-ups for U-19 etc type football.

Admission charges are a lot less than in the UK for the comparable level of football. Tickets seem to be readily available apart from, for example, Benfica v Sporting or Benfica v Porto.

There is virtually no midweek football (ie Tuesday or Wednesday) anywhere in Portugal below the top two Divisions.

Superliga

Superliga games are almost all scheduled for television purposes and are played over Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday evenings with kickoffs as late as 930pm in some cases. The season starts in mid-late August and finishes in mid-May.

ALL Benfica, Sporting and Porto matches are shown live on TV and are therefore played in the evenings, with kickoffs sometimes as late as 930pm. There will be therefore five or six live games on TV every weekend, with only two or three at the 'regular' time of 4pm on a Sunday afternoon.

To complicate the issue, kick off DATES and TIMES are not confirmed until ONE WEEK BEFORE the 'Jornada' ie the round of games. So you cannot really plan much in advance.

Confirmed fixture dates and times can be found on the official Superliga website which also has links to the club websites.

Liga Vitalis

Almost all the matches are played at 4pm on Sundays. There is, about once a month, a morning game for television.

Confirmed fixture dates and times can be found on the official Superliga/Liga de Honra website which also has links to the club websites. Most clubs average less than 1,000 spectators, so getting in is not a problem. There are no programmes and in almost all cases, no such thing as a club shop for souvenirs etc.

 Admission is 10€ - 12€.

Portuguese FA Cup/ League Cup

The Portuguese FA Cup is open to all teams in the National setup, including those in Madeira and the Azores. Almost all games are played at the weekend, as the leagues consist of either 14 or 16 teams only, thus creating plenty of spare dates. Teams from District Leagues are no longer allowed to enter the FA Cup.

The League Cup is played for by the Superliga and Liga Vitalis teams only. These are midweek games between second-string players,  normally attended by three men and a dog.

Lower leagues 

The lower echelons are semi-professional or amateur teams. Almost every town and larger village has its team. If you are a devotee of minor league football, there will be a game to watch, normally on a Sunday afternoon except for the Regional/District Leagues, which normally play on Saturday afternoons. Fixtures are often not very well publicised, even in the immediate area of the stadia, so you may have to ask around for information. Kick-off times are sometimes changed at short notice. Admission is between 9€ and about 3€ depending on the level. Divisions 2 and 3 normally start their season in mid-September while the District leagues begin later that month.

Rugby

Portugal's rugby players made a name for themselves in the 2007 World Cup by scoring a try against the New Zealand All-Blacks. Rugby has a small but enthusiastic following, with national league and cup competitions keenly contested. The official website of the Portuguese Rugby Union has more information, in Portuguese only.

Horse Racing, etc.

There is no racing in Portugal; the laws on gambling work against the sport. 

Motor Sports

Motor sports are very popular, with the well-know track at Estoril hosting many major events. A new Formula 1 standard track is scheduled to open in November 2008, a few miles to the north of Portimao, down south in the Algarve. Its first event will be a round of the World Superbikes Championships.

Others

See the link at the top for relevant websites. Volleyball, handball, indoor football (futsal) and basketball are all fairly popular. Fishing, sailing and the like are of course well practised in coastal areas and on lakes and rivers. Boules or Petanque is also to be seen in towns and villages. Tennis courts abound! Golf courses are many and varied. The Algarve region alone has more than 50 to choose from.