This data is the result of a survey on the cultural practices of the Portuguese, carried out during the last months of 2020 by the Institute of Social Sciences (ICS) of the University of Lisbon, funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (FCG).

The survey collected information on cultural consumption through theatre, as well as reading practices and attendance at museums, historical monuments, archaeological sites and art galleries, cinema, gigs and shows, including local festivals and parties.


According to the results of the survey, people aged between 35 and 44 years old are the ones who go more to these shows with 15 percent saying they go to shows once or twice a year. Also, between the ages of 55 and 64, four percent of respondents went to the theatre at least three times a year, while six percent went once or twice.

On the opposite side, the older generations, aged 65 and over, don't seem attracted to this kind of show, with only seven percent having attended theatre once or twice a year.

With regard to the respondents' professions, businessmen, liberal professionals and managers are the ones who go most to theatres. In addition, the income of the respondents seems to be another important factor, as generally people with higher incomes tend to go to the theatre more.

Art Galleries and Heritage Monuments

Regarding museums, castles, art galleries, etc., in the 12 months before the start of the pandemic, 31 percent of respondents said they had visited historical monuments, 28 percent had visited museums, 13 percent went to see archaeological sites and 11 percent had visited art galleries. In this sense, lack of time (39 percent) and lack of interest (38 percent) were the main reasons given for not visiting historical museums, archaeological sites and art galleries more frequently.

More than half do not read books

On the reading side, the survey revealed that, in the last 12 months prior to the survey, 61 percent of Portuguese people had not read a single book, and of the 39 percent who claimed to have read, most do not read much. When asked about reading digital books, the percentage drops even more.

In fact, the percentage of people who, in the last year, did not read any printed book is higher than that registered in Spain a year ago (38 percent), according to the study.

Festivals, local parties and cinema

On the other hand, the most popular cultural practices of the Portuguese population are participation in local festivals and parties. The most attended festivals are the traditional and popular festivals (49 percent), then religious festivals (40 percent) and gastronomic festivals (11 percent).

According to the survey, 84 percent reported having participated in music festivals and 16 percent reported having attended other festivals (3 percent in film festivals; 12 percent in theatre, dance, and street arts festivals). In addition, going to local festivals and parties was done mostly with family members (63 percent) and partners or friends (33 percent).

In addition, the survey shows that cinema is another cultural activity with a high participation rate. In the 12 months prior to the start of the pandemic, 41 percent of the respondents went to the cinema.

The sample has 2,000 respondents and the fieldwork was carried out between 12 September and 28 December, 2020 in Portugal. The information was collected through direct interviews in the respondents' homes, through the CAPI system (Computer Assisted Personal Interview).


Paula Martins is a fully qualified journalist, who finds writing a means of self-expression. She studied Journalism and Communication at University of Coimbra and recently Law in the Algarve. Press card: 8252

Paula Martins