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Friday Briefing: New Year, New Normal

Good morning and welcome to PORTUGAL DECODED. On our first briefing of 2024, we bring you ch-ch-ch-ch-changes. Look out you rock 'n rollers!

© Boom Festival


71% of the Portuguese believe that Prime Minister António Costa will be cleared of influence peddling suspicions, a new survey has revealed. However, they are split down the middle over his government, with 43.7% of those surveyed evaluating it negatively and 41.7% positively (More).

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa urged the Portuguese to vote in the upcoming elections in his New Year message. Observing that “2023 ended with more and harder challenges than it began with,” the President argued that “2024 will be largely what voters want it to be” (More).


510 people died in Portugal on the second day of the year - the highest toll since February 8, 2021, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The mortality hike coincides with a peak in seasonal flu and respiratory infections, which are putting hospitals’ emergency rooms under pressure (More).

The Parliament’s Constitutional Committee approved a bill that paves the way for gender-neutral first names, making it no longer compulsory to identify with either masculine or feminine genders. Only the CHEGA MPs on the committee voted against the proposal (More).


After a 4-month decline, consumer confidence and the economic climate indicator rose again in December. According to the National Statistics Institute, the uptick results from rising expectations about Portugal’s economic situation and households’ financial situation (More).

Renewable energies supplied 61% of Portugal’s electricity consumption in 2023, the highest value ever. Meanwhile, though car sales grew by 26% in 2023, EVs and hybrids accounted for 51,9% of passenger vehicles sold (More).


Boom Festival organiser Alfredo Vasconcelos has died at 58. The businessman had been ill for some years, but was still “very active” in last year's edition, which brought together 39,000 people from 178 countries and 1128 artists (More).

Aveiro has become the Portuguese Capital of Culture 2024. Highlights include “Glimmer”, by Rui Horta and Micro Audio Waves, which combines dance and music, and “”, by the Circus Baobab company (More).



On January 1, the 2024 State Budget came into force, introducing several changes to everyday life in Portugal. Find out here how it might affect your life:

  1. Taxes: The NHR regime will end, except for people working on higher education, scientific research or innovation. Others will still be able to benefit from NHR tax breaks if they have proved that they have prepared their move to Portugal during 2023 by presenting an employment contract, rental contract or even the purchase and sale of a property.

  2. Rents: Landowners will be able to increase rents by 6.94%, in line with inflation for the last 12 months until August. To mitigate this rise, the State will provide a rent support to the most vulnerable families.

  3. Electricity: The price of electricity will increase by 2.9%, in the regulated market, compared to December 2023. In practice, the average monthly bill for a couple without children will rise by €1.05, to a total of €37.67.

  4. Transports: Students under 23 will benefit from a free pass for the first time. Train, metro and bus passes remain the same, but there will be a 6.25% average increase in Alfa Pendular train tickets, and a 6.43% average increase in Fertagus train tickets. Single tickets in the Lisbon Metro will increase between 14 and 20 cents; Carris bus and tram tickets will rise by ten cents; and Transtejo boats, connecting the two sides of Tagus river, will rise by 10 cents to 1.50 euros.

  5. Tolls: Tolls will increase by more than 2% in 2024, in line with October’s consumer price index. However, there will be a 30% reduction in toll prices in six highways in the countryside and the Algarve.

  6. Tobacco and alcohol: A packet of cigarettes could cost at least 30 cents more in 2024; and the tax on alcoholic beverages will increase by an average 10%. However, the will increase will be lower for low-alcohol drinks, up to 3.5% alcohol.

  7. Telecommunications: The three main operators will increase monthly charges in line with inflation, with estimated increases of up to 4.6%. The increases will take place in January for some services, but most tariffs will only be updated on February 1.

In addition to the end of the Government’s zero tax policy on basic food mentioned last week, the minimum wage will increase, personal income taxes will decrease, pensions, unemployment benefits and social subsidies will rise, among other changes.


In collaboration with Unique Portugal


Júlio Pomar Museum’s 10th anniversary

On its 10th anniversary, the Atelier-Museu Júlio Pomar, designed by Pritzker prize winner architect Álvaro Siza Vieira, showcases the highlights of its collection. Often considered the greatest Portuguese painter of his generation, Pomar’s work features on several murals across the country as well as on Portuguese passports. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 10h00-13h00/ 14h00-18h00, until January 14. Tickets (€2) can be purchased at the museum or online.


Dia de Reis’ Concert at Casa da Música

For its traditional Dia de Reis’ Concert at Casa da Música, on Saturday 6, at 12h00, the Costa Cabral Music Academy has prepared a festive programme with more than 200 students, instrumentalists and chorists, on stage. Tickets between €12,00 ‐ €15,00.

Wild Lights at Santo Inácio Zoo

Once again, the largest zoological park in northern Portugal lights up with life-sized illuminated sculptures. This year’s route will feature more than 550 animal figures, sounds and interactive games. The Wild Lights switch on at 5pm until 8.30pm, Friday to Sunday, until February 25. Tickets will also include a visit to the house of nocturnal animals, where more than 40 species live. Tickets are €3 ‐ €30 (2 adults + 2 kids).


Journey to the Sun at movie theatres

The new documentary by Ansgar Schaefer and Susana de Sousa Dias, Journey to the Sun, tells the story of the 5,500 Austrian children sent to Portugal after WWII. Using only archival images, the film reflects on children in situations of conflict and post-conflict. Critic Jorge Mourinha gave it 4 out 5 stars in Público. Tickets between €6,55 ‐ €10,50 (2 pax).

Montado: Forest of the Iberian Lynx at RTP Play

Billed as the most expensive nature film ever made in Portugal, Montado: Forest of the Iberian Lynx is a guided tour of the lifeforms that hide in cork oak forests: from the flowers that sprout to the kingfishers that dive for fish or the Iberian lynxes that play with their siblings. “The montado is possibly the most biodiverse place in Europe and it's exclusive to the Iberian Peninsula,” says director Joaquín Gutiérrez Acha. Available for free at RTP Play for a limited period.


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