Dating may seem hard in Portugal but, if it’s any conciliation, dating is hard everywhere. Thankfully, there are a wide selection of apps available that make it easy to connect with people based on similar interests, whether you’ve crossed paths, or just if they like you back.
Love it or hate it, Tinder is probably the most popular dating app in Portugal. Unlike other dating apps where you search based on a number of specific filters (e.g. does the person want a relationship, do they have kids, how tall are they, etc), Tinder leaves the hard work up to you. All it does it show you one profile after another which you can swipe left or right on.
But, even though, ironically for a dating app, Tinder isn’t very good at helping you find the right person, it is the most popular app which is why everyone continues to use it.
Happn uses GPS to connect you with people you’ve crossed paths with. It’s a strange way to connect two people, although it could be an interesting way of meeting the people you frequently cross paths with. It’s also great if you’re really lazy and only want to meet people who live in the same neighbourhood as you.
Happn is only really worth using in big cities like Lisbon and Porto, though. If you’re based somewhere much smaller, you may not actually cross paths with very many people. Of course, if you do cross paths with someone, and you’re the only local users on the app, you’re probably more likely to strike up a conversation.
Meetic is generally considered to be for people who are serious about meeting the one. It’s also a paid-membership dating site, unlike sites apps like Tinder, Happn, and OkCupid which are essentially free (but have a premium upgrade).
You can create a profile for free on Meetic, which allows you to view other people’s profiles, but you’ll have to upgrade if you want to get in touch with them.
With Bumble, if you match with someone, it’s up to the woman to start the conversation. And, they have to do it within a 24-hour window as well.
It isn’t that different to Tinder in reality. Bumble does ask a few more questions like do you prefer Netflix or Nightclubs, but it doesn’t really encourage people to fill out their profiles in any more depth than Tinder does.
Hinge is a dating app that’s focused on getting people to connect, and actually described itself as “The dating app designed to be deleted”. Rather than simply swiping yes to someone, you have to comment on an aspect of their profile e.g. a picture or something they’ve said about themselves.
Of course, despite all its good intentions, Hinge is still in the business of making money. While it is making a big effort to encourage people to connect rather than just to swipe, you do have to pay for premium features like the ability to filter people by their height, family plans, whether they have children, and anything else that might be important to you. Still, it goes a long way to encouraging people to connect.
OKCupid is nowhere near as popular as other apps like Badoo or Tinder, but is still attracts a loyal crowd. Users fill out their profile and answer quiz-style questions about themselves to see how well they match with other OKCupid users.
While there are plenty of empty profiles on OkCupid, people do tend to write more here and you can get a good idea of whether you match with someone based on how they’ve answered the quiz questions.
But despite its pros, OkCupid does try to push its paid membership and its hard to match with people who’ve liked you if you don’t have this.
Badoo is an app that many visitors to Portugal probably won’t have heard of, but one that’s very popular in countries like Spain and Portugal. This does mean you’ll definitely need to speak Portuguese, or at least have Google Translate open, if you want to chat with the people on there.
Plenty of Fish (POF)
POF is one of the largest free dating websites in the world, and very popular because it’s free. It attracts people of all ages, particularly a slightly older age group.
The profiles on POF tend to vary in quality. Not a lot of people put effort into their profiles and, unlike sites like OkCupid, they aren’t really encouraged to do so. This means that you don’t really get to know a lot about people before you message them, and so most of your decisions will be based on looks.
Coffee Meets Bagel
Apps like Tinder and Badoo potentially allow you to match with lots of people. Coffee Meets Bagel, on the other hand, limits the number. It’s a focus on quality rather than quantity: instead of getting to say yes to everyone, you have to choose wisely.
You are also only given 8 days to chat to each match, which is designed to encourage you to move onto the next stage: either exchanging phone numbers or meeting up.
Overall, Coffee Meets Bagel seems to be very focused on building a dating app that solves a lot of the issues that other apps have. Unfortunately, it’s not that popular in Portugal and it’s “bean-based” currency system means the free version of the app is much more limited than other dating apps.