31 Famous People From Portugal That You Need To Know About


You’re in the right place. This is the ultimate list of famous people from Portugal you must Google and learn more about.

🇵🇹 As someone who’s been living in Portugal since 2020, I’ve seen firsthand the country’s profound cultural richness, history, and diversity, and I want to share it with you — hence this list!

It celebrates the artists, leaders, and entertainers who have shaped Portugal’s identity and made significant marks on the world stage. They are all here, from famous Portuguese explorers to celebrities to world leaders. 

Ready to dive into the stories of Portuguese famous people? Ready to discover the impact of each Portuguese person, and the global influence of famous people in Portugal? 🇵🇹 ¡Vamos! (or, Let’s get to it already!)

31 Famous People From Portugal

1. Vasco da Gama, Portuguese Explorer

Unknown Portuguese, portrait of a knight of the order of Christ, ca. 1525-50
Vasco da Gama is one of the most important Portuguese people. (By Sailko – Own work, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Vasco da Gama, born around 1460 in Sines, Portugal, is a key figure in the Age of Discovery. In 1497, tasked by King Manuel I to find a maritime route to India, da Gama set sail from Lisbon with four ships: the São Gabriel, São Rafael, Berrio, and a supply ship.

His mission aimed to establish a direct trade route to the spices and riches of the East, bypassing the land routes controlled by the Ottomans. Navigating uncharted waters, da Gama’s fleet rounded the Cape of Good Hope (in South Africa) and, in May 1498, reached Calicut on the Malabar Coast of India.

This was the first time a European fleet had sailed directly to the subcontinent.

This historic voyage opened up the lucrative spice trade to Europe via the sea, significantly enhancing Portuguese wealth and power. Da Gama’s pioneering journey reshaped global trade, establishing Portugal as a dominant maritime power and forever linking Europe and Asia by sea.


The Vasco da Gama Bridge, named after the famed Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, was constructed to commemorate the 500th anniversary of da Gama’s discovery of the sea route from Europe to India in 1498.

Opened to the public in 1998, the Vasco da Gama Bridge spans the Tagus River in Lisbon, Portugal. It is the longest bridge in Europe, with a total length of over 17 kilometers (approximately 10.5 miles), including viaducts and access roads. One notable feature of the bridge is its elegant cable-stayed design, characterized by a central span supported by cables anchored to towering pylons.

Famous People from Portugal

2. Fernando Pessoa, Portuguese Poet & Writer

Pessoa's statue outside Lisbon's famous coffeehouse A Brasileira
Pessoa’s statue outside Lisbon’s famous coffeehouse A Brasileira. (By Nol Aders – Own work, CC BY 2.5, Wikimedia Commons)

Fernando Pessoa, born on June 13, 1888, in Lisbon, Portugal, is one of the most important literary figures of the 20th century and one of the greatest poets in the Portuguese language. Pessoas was a philosopher, publisher, translator, literary critic, writer, and poet.

He is famous for writing under more than seventy different names, each with a unique style and personality, three of which stand out: Alberto Caeiro, Ricardo Reis, and Álvaro de Campos. This unique approach allowed him to explore various ideas and emotions in his work.

Pessoa’s writing includes poetry, essays, and philosophical pieces that explore themes of identity, existence, and the nature of reality. His most famous work, The Book of Disquiet, is a collection of reflective, thoughtful writings that explore the depths of the human soul.

Despite his significant impact, Pessoa remained relatively unknown outside Portugal during his lifetime. Today, however, his work is celebrated worldwide for its depth, complexity, and innovative way.

Famous People from Portugal

3. Cristiano Ronaldo, Portuguese Football Player

Statue of Cristiano Ronaldo in Funchal, Madeira
Cristiano Ronaldo is hands-down one of the most famous people of Portugal.

Cristiano Ronaldo, born on February 5, 1985, in Madeira, Portugal, is one of the world’s most famous and celebrated footballers. Starting his career at Sporting Lisbon, Ronaldo quickly made a name for himself with his remarkable speed, skill, and scoring ability.

His talent caught the eye of Manchester United, where he developed into one of the best players in the world, winning numerous titles, including three Premier League titles and a UEFA Champions League.

Ronaldo’s success continued after moving to Real Madrid, where he became the club’s all-time leading scorer and won four Champions League titles. Known for his incredible work ethic, athleticism, and leadership on the field, Ronaldo has won five Ballon d’Or awards, recognizing him as the world’s best player.

Off the field, he’s known for his philanthropy, including substantial donations to children’s hospitals and disaster relief efforts. Ronaldo’s legacy extends beyond football, influencing sportsmanship and dedication across the globe.

Famous People from Portugal

4. Shawn Mendes, Canadian-Portuguese Singer

Shawn Mendes live in concert
Mendes became a worldwide hit at an early age (By Josiah VanDien – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Shawn Mendes, born on August 8, 1998, in Pickering, Canada, to a Portuguese father and English mother, is a global pop sensation. He first gained attention on social media by posting song covers on the now-defunct social media platform Vine. He quickly captured hearts worldwide with his soulful voice and charming persona.

Mendes released his debut single, Life of the Party, in 2014, making him one of the youngest artists to debut in the top 25 of the Billboard Hot 100. His fourth studio album, Wonder (2020), made him the youngest male artist to top the Billboard 200 with four studio albums.

With hits like Stitches, Treat You Better, and Señorita, Mendes has solidified his status as a major figure in contemporary pop music. His albums have received critical acclaim and commercial success, earning him numerous awards, including Juno and MTV Europe Music Awards.

Famous People from Portugal

5. Luís de Camões, Portuguese Poet

Tomb of the Luís de Camões at the Jerónimos Monastery
Tomb of the poet at the Jerónimos Monastery (By Sailko – Own work, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Considered Portugal’s greatest poet, Luís de Camões is best known for his epic work, Os Lusíadas, which celebrates the Portuguese explorations of the 16th century.

Born in the 1520s in Lisbon, his life was marked by a series of adventures and misfortunes that would rival the stories of the characters in his epic poems. He served as a soldier in North Africa, where he lost an eye in combat, highlighting his direct involvement in the military expeditions of his era, much like the heroes of Os Lusíadas.

Camões’s adventures continued upon his return to Portugal and subsequent travels to the East, including India and China. Camões faced considerable adversity, enduring shipwrecks, imprisonment, and years of exile, which tested his resilience and provided a wealth of experiences he would later weave into his poetry.

His return to Portugal was marked by poverty and obscurity, yet he completed Os Lusíadas, which secured his legacy posthumously.

These experiences, steeped in the drama of the Age of Discovery, not only inspired his writing but also made his life a testament to the themes of adventure, perseverance, and the human spirit that define his work.

Famous People from Portugal

6. José Mourinho, Portuguese Football Manager

José Mourinho looking at the camera, one of the most famous people from Portugal.
Jose Mourinho is a controversial yet loved Portuguese celebrity. (By Werner100359 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

José Mourinho, born on January 26, 1963, in Setúbal, Portugal, is one of football’s most distinguished and controversial managers. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Mourinho did not have a prominent playing career, which makes his rise in the coaching world even more remarkable. He first captured international attention as a translator and assistant coach at Barcelona.

However, his tenure at Porto catapulted him to fame. He consecutively led the team to win the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Champions League. Mourinho’s success is measured by his tactical genius, psychological mastery, and media savvy, earning him the nickname The Special One.

His career includes stints at Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, and Roma, where he collected numerous domestic league titles and two Champions League trophies.

Famous People from Portugal

7. António de Oliveira Salazar, Portuguese Prime Minister

Antonio de Olivera Salazar sitting at his desk
Salazar was a controversial Prime Minister of Portugal (Por Bernard Hoffman – 1wEVz26e74Zcpw — Google Arts & Culture, Domínio público, Wikimedia Commons)

António de Oliveira Salazar, a figure who cast a long shadow over Portugal’s 20th-century history, wasn’t just any politician. Taking the helm as Prime Minister in 1932, he established the Estado Novo (New State), a regime that reshaped Portuguese society and governance with its conservative and authoritarian principles until 1968.

Born in Vimieiro in 1889, Salazar’s ascent from a humble background to Portugal’s most powerful position was driven by his sharp intellect and academic prowess in economics.

Salazar’s rule was marked by a desire to preserve Portugal’s colonial empire and a focus on financial stability, which he achieved through strict fiscal policies. His governance was characterized by censorship, suppression of dissent, and a secret police force that kept tight control over the population.

Despite this, he maintained a level of popular support by emphasizing national identity and stability. His long tenure ended following a severe fall in 1968, after which he was incapacitated until his death in 1970, signaling the fall of the Salazar regime.

Salazar’s legacy is complex. While some admire his economic policies and efforts to keep Portugal neutral during World War II, others criticize his regime for its repression and lack of democratic freedoms.

Famous People from Portugal

8. Eusébio, Portuguese-Mozambican Football Player

Statue of Eusébio outside Estádio da Luz
Statue of Eusébio outside Estádio da Luz. (By jad99 from Graz, Austria – Eusébio (Estádio da Luz), CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons, most famous person in Portugal).

Eusébio da Silva Ferreira, simply known as Eusébio, was born on January 25, 1942, in Mozambique and became one of football’s greatest legends. ⚽️ He shone brightly as the star of Benfica and the Portuguese national team.

Known as the Black Panther, Eusébio’s speed, technique, and powerful shot led Portugal to a third-place finish in the 1966 World Cup, where he was the tournament’s top scorer.

Playing for Benfica, he scored an astonishing 473 goals in 440 matches, helping them to 11 Portuguese league titles and a European Cup. Eusébio’s legacy is not just in the records he set but in how he played the game, with a joy and passion that endeared him to fans worldwide.

Even after passing in 2014, Eusébio remains a symbol of excellence in Portuguese football, celebrated for his humility and sportsmanship both on and off the pitch.

Famous People from Portugal

9. Fernão de Magalhães (Ferdinand Magellan), Portuguese Explorer

Although he was Portuguese, Magellan led the Spanish expedition to the East Indies. He was one of the most prominent figures during the Age of Discoveries.

Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer, became famous for orchestrating the first expedition to circumnavigate the globe. Born around 1480 in northern Portugal, Magellan’s maritime career began in the service of the Portuguese crown.

But it was under the Spanish flag he embarked on his most famous voyage in 1519. With a fleet of five ships, Magellan sought a western sea route to the Spice Islands, now part of Indonesia. His expedition discovered the strait at the southern tip of South America that now bears his name, the Magellan Strait, navigating through to the Pacific Ocean.

Despite facing immense challenges, including treacherous waters, mutinies, and the death of Magellan himself in the Philippines in 1521, the expedition, under the command of Juan Sebastián Elcano, completed the first circumnavigation of the Earth in 1522.

Magellan’s voyage dramatically expanded our understanding of the world. It proved that the globe could be circled by sea and provided invaluable data regarding global geography, navigation, and the need for international date-line adjustments.

Famous People from Portugal

10. Daniela Ruah, Portuguese Actress

Daniela Ruah, an American-born actress
Ruah is a Portuguese American actress who was born in the small country of Portugal (By Surly – source, Public Domain, GoodFon.Ru)

Daniela Ruah, born on December 2, 1983, in Boston, USA, to Portuguese parents, is a celebrated actress best known for her role as Special Agent Kensi Blye in the hit TV series NCIS: Los Angeles.

Growing up in Portugal, Ruah returned to the US to pursue her acting career after fame in Portuguese soap operas and winning the celebrity dance competition Dança Comigo, the Portuguese version of Dancing with the Stars.

Ruah’s dynamic performances and bilingual ability have made her a standout in Hollywood, bridging her Portuguese roots with her American upbringing.

Famous People from Portugal

11. Carmen Miranda, Portuguese-Brazilian Singer & Actress

Carmen Miranda, a Portuguese-Brazilian singer and actress looking at the camera
Many people don’t know that Miranda is one of the women famous people from Portugal. (By unknown (20th Century Fox) – source, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons)

Did you know that the famous Brazilian Bombshell Carmen Miranda was born in Portugal? Born on February 9, 1909, in Marco de Canaveses, Portugal, Carmen moved to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil as a child, blossoming into an international song and screen icon. She became synonymous with colorful fruit hats and over-the-top performances that captivated audiences worldwide.

Her career took off in Brazil in the 1920s and ’30s, with her music and charisma leading her to Hollywood in the 1940s. There, she starred in films like The Gang’s All Here, becoming one of the highest-paid actresses in the United States.

Despite criticisms of stereotyping Latin American culture, Miranda’s legacy as a pioneering entertainer who broke cultural barriers endures, making her an enduring symbol of the vibrant blend of Portuguese and Brazilian identities.

Famous People from Portugal

12. Mariza, Portuguese Fado Singer

Mariza, a FADO singer, singing into a microphone
Mariza is one of the most famous people from Portugal female Fado singers. (By José Goulão from Lisbon, Portugal – Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Mariza, born Marisa dos Reis Nunes on December 16, 1973, in Lourenço Marques (now Maputo), Mozambique, is a celebrated Portuguese fado singer. After moving to Portugal at a young age, she grew up in Lisbon’s historic Mouraria neighborhood, an area deeply embedded with the fado tradition.

Mariza’s music beautifully bridges traditional fado with contemporary sounds, introducing the genre to a global audience while staying true to its roots. Known for her distinctive voice and dramatic stage presence, Mariza has released several successful albums, earning her numerous awards, including Latin Grammy nominations.

Beyond her music, Mariza is an ambassador of Portuguese culture, bringing Fado’s emotional depth and soul to the world stage. Her contribution to fado has preserved its heritage and ensured its vitality for future generations, making her one of the most influential figures in contemporary Portuguese music.

Famous People from Portugal

13. Henry the Navigator, Portuguese Explorer

A painting of Prince
(By Nuno Gonçalves – From the Polytriptych of St. Vincent in the National Museum of Ancient Art, Lisbon., Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons)

Dom Henrique of Portugal, Duke of Viseu, also known as Prince Henry the Navigator, was born on March 4, 1394, in Porto, Portugal. He significantly influenced the early phases of Portuguese exploration. Unlike his moniker suggests, Henry did not personally navigate the seas. Instead, he patronized explorers, sponsoring numerous expeditions along the West African coast.

Operating from his base in Sagres, Henry facilitated the development of new navigational tools and techniques, including advancing the caravel, a ship designed for long voyages.

His initiatives helped uncover the Azores and further the understanding of the African coastline, crucial steps that laid the groundwork for Portugal’s spice trade with Asia. Henry’s efforts in promoting exploration were instrumental in opening the maritime routes leading to the Age of Discovery.

This set the stage for Portugal’s colonial expansion and the eventual European exploration of the Americas.

Famous People from Portugal

14. Amália Rodrigues, Portuguese Fado Singer

Amália Rodrigues, queen of Fado and one of the most famous peopel from Portugal.
Amalia Rodrigues is at the top of the list of one of the most recognizable names in FADO

Amália Rodrigues often hailed as the queen of Fado (Rainha do Fado) was born in Lisbon, Portugal, on July 23, 1920. She is the best-selling Portuguese artist in history.

With her extraordinary voice and profound emotional intensity, Rodrigues became a national icon, embodying the soul of fado, Portugal’s deeply melancholic and expressive music genre.

Her career, which spanned several decades from the 1930s until she died in 1999, played an important role in popularizing fado worldwide. Rodrigues’s repertoire included traditional fado tunes and her compositions, which often explored love, longing, and nostalgia themes.

Beyond her music, Amália’s distinctive style and charismatic performances helped forge a global identity for Portuguese culture. Her legacy lives on not only in her extensive discography but also in her influence on fado musicians across generations.

Famous People from Portugal

15. Nelly Furtado, Canadian-Born Portuguese Singer

Nelly Furtado, one of the most famous people from Portugal.
Although not born in Portugal, Nelly is one of the most famous celebrities in Portugal, loved for her music. (By Martin Philbey, CC BY 2.5, Wikimedia Commons)

Nelly Furtado, born on December 2, 1978, in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, catapulted to fame with her 2000 debut album Whoa, Nelly! She is recognized for her unique fusion of pop, folk, and world music and has sold over 45 million records, including 35 million in album sales worldwide.

Furtado’s Portuguese heritage stems from her immigrant parents, António José Furtado and Maria Manuela Furtado, who were born on São Miguel Island in the Azores. She began singing and performing in Portuguese at the young age of four.

Her heritage influences her music and identity. She seamlessly integrates Portuguese elements, such as guitar sounds and lyrics, into her songs, reflecting her cultural roots.

She has also won numerous awards, including Juno Awards, three Much Music Video Awards, and a Latin Grammy Award—she is the only Canadian-Portuguese singer to have won this award. On February 28, 2014, she was granted the Commander of the Order of Prince Henry, a Portuguese order of knighthood.

Famous People from Portugal

16. António Guterres, Portuguese Politician

António Guterres 2012
(By U.S. Mission Photo by Eric Bridiers – Flickr, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons).

António Guterres, born on April 30, 1949, in Lisbon, Portugal, has had a distinguished career in Portuguese politics and international diplomacy. Before stepping onto the global stage, Guterres served as Portugal’s Prime Minister from 1995 to 2002. Under his leadership, the country made significant social and economic development strides.

His political sense was further recognized when he became the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 2005, a position he held with distinction until 2015.

In 2016, Guterres was appointed Secretary-General of the United Nations. This role has placed him at the forefront of global efforts to tackle pressing issues such as climate change, conflict resolution, and sustainable development.

He is known for his commitment to multilateralism, peace, and equality, making him a respected figure in international relations.

Famous People from Portugal

17. Almeida Garrett, Portuguese Writer

A portrait of João Baptista da Silva Leitão de Almeida Garrett
(By Pedro Augusto Guglielmi (fl. ca 1837-1852) – Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal (BNP catalog entry) Cota local: E. 4472 P., Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons)

João Baptista da Silva Leitão de Almeida Garrett, better known as Almeida Garrett, was a towering figure in Portuguese literature and politics. Born on February 4, 1799, in Porto, Portugal, Garrett was instrumental in introducing Romanticism to Portugal.

Garrett’s works often explored themes of freedom, love, and Portuguese identity, making him a pioneer in expressing the nation’s soul through literature. His notable works include the historical play Frei Luís de Sousa and the epic poem Camões. Both were loved for their emotional depth and patriotic undertones.

Garrett was not just a writer; he played a significant role in Portugal’s political reforms in the 19th century. He was a staunch supporter of liberalism, advocating for a constitutional monarchy and freedom of expression.

Garrett’s efforts extended to the arts beyond literature. He was instrumental in founding the Portuguese National Conservatory, a testament to his dedication to nurturing Portugal’s cultural heritage.

Famous People from Portugal

18. Aníbal Cavaco Silva, Portuguese President

President Cavaco Silva with the president of Brazil, Lula da Silva, in 2007
President Cavaco Silva with the president of Brazil, Lula da Silva, in 2007. (By Wilson Dias/ABr – Agência Brasil [1], CC BY 3.0 br, Wikimedia Commons)

Aníbal Cavaco Silva, born on July 15, 1939, in Boliqueime, Portugal, is a distinguished figure in modern Portuguese politics, serving as Prime Minister and President.

His tenure as Prime Minister from 1985 to 1995 was marked by significant economic reforms that aimed at modernizing Portugal’s economy, making it more competitive and integrated within the European framework.

Under his leadership, Portugal joined the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1986, a landmark move that facilitated economic growth and closer ties with Europe. Cavaco Silva’s policies were characterized by fiscal discipline, investment in public infrastructure, and incentives for private sector development.

As President from 2006 to 2016, he focused on national unity and stability, guiding the country through challenging times, including the global financial crisis.

Famous People from Portugal

19. Ricardo Quaresma, Portuguese Footballer

Quaresma (left) challenging Marcos Rojo of Argentina
Quaresma (left) challenging Marcos Rojo of Argentina (By Fanny Schertzer – Own work, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Renowned for his flair on the football field, Ricardo Quaresma was born on September 26, 1983, in Lisbon, Portugal. Quaresma is celebrated for his exceptional skill, particularly his trademark trivela technique, a method of striking the ball with the outside of his foot, leading to unpredictable and spectacular goals.

His career has spanned several top European clubs, including Sporting Lisbon, Barcelona, Inter Milan, and Besiktas, showcasing his versatility and creativity as a winger.

Quaresma’s contributions to the Portuguese national team include playing a key role in Portugal’s victorious 2016 UEFA European Championship campaign.

Off the field, Quaresma is recognized for his work supporting underprivileged communities. He uses his platform to advocate for minority rights, particularly within the Romani community to which he has close ties.

Famous People from Portugal

20. José Saramago, Portuguese Nobel Laureate

A close up of Jose Saramago, nobel laureate.
Jose Saramago is one of the most famous Portuguese people on this list, earning a Nobel Laureate for literature. (Fundação José Saramago, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 DEED, Flickr)

Nobel laureate José Saramago, born on November 16, 1922, in Azinhaga, Portugal, is one of the most influential Portuguese writers of the 20th century.

José Saramago’s narrative style is distinctive and captivating. He is known for his long sentences and unconventional approach to punctuation. His novel Blindness, which explores the disintegration of society following a mass epidemic of blindness, is acclaimed for its powerful commentary on humanity.

Saramago’s works frequently examine themes such as identity, power, and the human condition. Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1998, Saramago was recognized for his ability to “reimagine fact and create alternative worlds.”

Beyond literature, he was known for his outspoken political and social views, advocating for democracy, human rights, and socialism. José Saramago passed away on June 18, 2010.

Famous People from Portugal

21. Luís Figo, Portuguese Footballer

Luis Figo at Web Summit 2016 - SportsTrade
Luis Figo is one of the most famous sport-focused Portuguese celebrities who participated in a FIFA World Cup championship. (By Web Summit – ws (8 of 26), CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Luís Figo, born November 4, 1972, in Lisbon, is one of Portugal’s most celebrated footballers. His career highlights include winning the Ballon d’Or in 2000.

Figo played for leading clubs such as Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Inter Milan. He is known for his remarkable dribbling ability and precision passes.

Figo significantly contributed to the Portuguese national team, participating in several European Championships and World Cups. Since retiring, he has been involved in various football-related activities and charity work. Figo is remembered not just for his skill on the pitch but also for his sportsmanship.

Famous People from Portugal

22. Bartolomeu Dias, Portuguese Mariner and Explorer

a bust of Bartolomeu Dias
One of the most famous Portuguese historical figures, Bartolomeu, shaped world history by sailing through the Indian Ocean and connecting Europe and Asia by sea. (By GualdimG – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Bartolomeu Dias, born around 1451 in Portugal, made a groundbreaking voyage in 1488.

He was the first European to sail around the southern tip of Africa, known as the Cape of Good Hope. This discovery was crucial because it showed that Europe and Asia could be connected by sea.

This route helped Portugal become a leading naval and trading power. Before this, the sea route to Asia was unknown, making Dias’s journey a key moment in the Age of Exploration. He also set up stone crosses on the shores of Africa to mark his journey.

Dias later helped prepare Vasco da Gama’s trip to India. Unfortunately, Dias died in a storm near the Cape of Good Hope in 1500 while on another expedition. His work had a lasting impact on trade and exploration.

Famous People from Portugal

23. Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, Portuguese Poet & Writer

Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen leaning out of a window
Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen leaning out of a window (CC Baobad Books)

Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, born November 6, 1919, in Porto, Portugal, is a celebrated poet and writer. Her work is known for its clarity, lyrical beauty, and themes of nature and Greek mythology.

Andresen’s poetry and children’s books have earned her numerous awards, including the Camões Prize in 1999, the most prestigious Portuguese-language award.

Her commitment to social and political causes, particularly after the 1974 Carnation Revolution, added depth to her literary contributions. Andresen passed away on July 2, 2004. Her house in Porto was transformed into a cultural space, honoring her life and work.

Famous People from Portugal

24. Pepe, Brazilian Football Player

Pepe on the playing field
Although not Portuguese by birth, Pepe was (and still is) one of the most important people in Portugal football-wise. (By Ruben Ortega – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Képler Laveran Lima Ferreira, widely known as Pepe, was born on February 26, 1983, in Maceió, Brazil. He chose to represent Portugal internationally, debuting for the national team in 2007.

Pepe is celebrated for his tenacity, defensive skills, and leadership on the field. He has played for major clubs like FC Porto, Real Madrid, and Besiktas, winning numerous titles, including three UEFA Champions League trophies with Real Madrid.

Despite his aggressive style of play, Pepe is respected for his dedication and contribution to his team’s successes. He played a key role in Portugal’s victory at the UEFA Euro 2016 and the 2019 UEFA Nations League.

Pepe continues to be an influential figure in football. Fans admire his commitment, while opponents fear his uncompromising defense.

Famous People from Portugal

25. Paula Rego, Portuguese Artist

Paula Rego at a London exhibition
Paula Rego was a well-known painter, picture here at a London exhibition (CC Portugal News)

Paula Rego is a key figure in contemporary art, known for her compelling and often unsettling work that weaves together narratives of feminism, folklore, and personal memories.

Born in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1935, she became celebrated for her bold approach to storytelling, using painting and printmaking to explore complex themes. Her art, filled with symbolism and intrigue, has been exhibited in some of the world’s most famous galleries.

In her art, Paula Rego often tackled topics and stories that society usually doesn’t discuss openly, especially issues affecting women. For example, she created images that showed the complexities of family life, women’s struggles, and the roles they are expected to play.

By doing this, she gave attention and a voice to subjects and people often ignored or kept quiet. Her work invites viewers to think more deeply about these topics and encourages discussions that can lead to change.

Rego spent much of her career in the United Kingdom. She passed away on June 8, 2022, leaving behind a profound impact on the art world.

Famous People from Portugal

26. Antero De Quental, Portuguese Poet

portrait of Antero De Quental
(By Unknown author – Biblioteca Nacional, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons, famous people from Portugal)

Antero de Quental, born in Ponta Delgada, Azores, Portugal, on April 18, 1842, was a prominent figure in Portuguese literature and thought.

A poet and philosopher, he played a crucial role in the cultural and intellectual debates of his time, especially as a leader of the Generation of 70. This group of intellectuals was dedicated to social and political reform in Portugal, advocating for democracy, education, and the improvement of workers’ rights.

Quental’s poetry is known for its introspective depth and addresses themes of social injustice, spiritual unrest, and the search for meaning in a rapidly changing world. Despite his aristocratic background, he was deeply committed to socialist ideals, which influenced much of his work and public life.

Quental also struggled with personal issues, including depression, which led to his tragic suicide on September 11, 1891. Today, he is remembered for his literary genius and profound impact on Portugal’s social and political landscape.

Famous People from Portugal

27. Salvador Sobral, Portuguese Singer

Salvador Sobral RedCarpet Kyiv 2017
(By Mykola Swarnyk – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons, famous people from Portugal)

Salvador Sobral, born in 1989 in Lisbon, Portugal, is a singer who captured international attention by winning the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest with the song Amar Pelos Dois.

This victory was notable not only for Portugal’s first win at Eurovision but also for Sobral’s heartfelt performance and the song’s focus on emotional depth over spectacle. Sobral’s music, characterized by its blend of jazz, pop, and soulful elements, reflects his unique artistic vision.

Beyond Eurovision, he has continued to build a successful career, known for his distinctive voice and emotive delivery. Sobral’s approach to music and performance emphasizes authenticity and connection, making him a beloved figure in contemporary music. His work is a testament to the power of storytelling through song.

Famous People from Portugal

28. St. Anthony Of Padua, Portuguese Saint

Saint Anthony Preaching to the Fishes, c. 1630
Saint Anthony Preaching to the Fishes, c. 1630 (By attributed to Francisco de Herrera the Elder – Detroit Institute of Arts, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons)

St. Anthony of Padua, born Fernando Martins de Bulhões in 1195 in Lisbon, Portugal, is a revered saint in the Catholic Church. Initially an Augustinian monk, his quest for missionary work led him to the Franciscan Order. Known for his scriptural knowledge and captivating preaching, St. Anthony worked primarily in Italy.

His humility and dedication to the poor marked his life, but he is perhaps best known for miraculous deeds that underscore his sanctity.

One interesting miracle is his preaching to the fish. Facing rejection from a town’s people, St. Anthony turned to a river and began to preach. Astonishingly, the fish gathered and seemed to listen, demonstrating that God’s creation could recognize the word of Jesus Christ even when humans were stubborn. This act showcased St. Anthony’s holiness and was a powerful reminder of the importance of faith and openness to divine messages.

Pope Gregory IX canonized St. Anthony in 1232, just a year after his death, making him the patron saint of lost items. His legacy continues, especially in finding lost objects and offering guidance and comfort to the faithful.

St. Anthony passed away on June 13, 1231, in Padua, Italy, leaving behind a lasting impact as one of the most beloved figures of the Catholic Church.

Famous People from Portugal

29. Sara Sampaio, Portuguese Model

Sara Sampaio at WebSummit
Sara is one of the most popular Portuguese celebs, she was the first Portuguese model to be in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. (By Web Summit – SAM_7762, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons, famous people from Portugal)

Sara Sampaio is a Portuguese model widely recognized for her work with Victoria’s Secret and numerous high-profile fashion brands.

Born on July 21, 1991, in Porto, Portugal, Sampaio was discovered at the age of 15 and soon embarked on a successful modeling career. Her breakthrough came in 2013 when she became the first Portuguese model to appear in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, quickly gaining international acclaim.

Sara’s striking features, captivating presence, and versatility have led to collaborations with renowned fashion houses such as Victoria’s Secret, where she became an official Angel in 2015.

She has graced the covers of numerous fashion magazines, including Vogue, Elle, and Harper’s Bazaar, showcasing her skill as a top model.

Famous People from Portugal

30. Manoel Cândido Pinto de Oliveira, Portuguese Director

Manoel de Oliveira talking into a microphone
Manoel is one of the most prolific directors of this time. (By Roman Bonnefoy (Romanceor) – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons, famous people from Portugal)

Manoel de Oliveira, born December 11, 1908, in Porto, Portugal, is a monumental figure in cinema. Starting in 1927, his career spanned almost a century, making him one of the longest-active directors globally. He made an average of one film per year past the age of 100.

Oliveira’s works, like Aniki-Bóbó (1942) and The Satin Slipper (1929), are celebrated for their profound exploration of Portuguese identity, history, and literature. He also worked with international actors in several of his films. For instance, in The Convent (1995), he directed Catherine Deneuve and John Malkovich.

He was awarded several awards, including an Honorary Golden Palm at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival and the Career Golden Lion from the 61st Venice International Film Festival.

His films often explored themes of history, literature, and religion. Oliveira passed away in Porto on April 2, 2015, leaving a legacy of profound storytelling and innovation.

FamoUs People from Portugal

31. Pedro Álvares Cabral, Portuguese Explorer Who Discovered Brazil

Pedro Alvares Cabral portrait
(By Francisco Aurélio de Figueiredo e Melo (1854–1916) – História do Brasil (v.1), Rio de Janeiro: Bloch, 1980., Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons, famous people from Portugal)

Pedro Álvares Cabral was a Portuguese nobleman, explorer, and navigator credited as the first European to discover Brazil in 1500. He was also the first recorded human in history to ever be on four continents.

Born around 1467 in Belmonte, Portugal, Pedro came from a noble family with strong connections to the Portuguese court. In 1500, he was chosen by King Manuel I to lead a fleet of ships to India following Vasco da Gama’s successful voyage.

However, Cabral’s expedition took an unexpected turn when strong winds pushed his fleet far westward into the Atlantic Ocean. On April 22, 1500, Cabral and his crew sighted the coast of what is now Brazil, claiming it for the Portuguese empire. This accidental discovery marked the beginning of Portuguese colonization in the region.

Other explorers like Christopher Columbus and Vasco da Gama often overshadow Cabral’s role. Nevertheless, his voyage laid the foundation for Portugal’s vast colonial empire in South America and cemented his place in history as a key figure of the Age of Discovery.

The Most Famous People From Portugal: Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the most famous person from Portugal?

The most famous person from Portugal is undoubtedly Cristiano Ronaldo, renowned globally for his unparalleled success in football. His name is synonymous with excellence and has garnered immense admiration worldwide.

Vasco de Gama bridge
The Vasco de Gama bridge is one of the longest bridges in Europe.

Alongside Ronaldo, Fernando Pessoa, the esteemed poet and writer, is prominent in Portuguese culture. He is celebrated for his profound literary contributions and philosophical insights.

We can’t forget Vasco da Gama, who established maritime routes to India during the Age of Discovery and shaped Portugal’s rich history of exploration and trade.


Who is the most famous Portuguese actor?

The most famous Portuguese actor is Joaquim de Almeida, widely recognized for his versatile performances in Portuguese and international cinema.

picture of Joaquim de Almeida
Almdeira is one of the the most actor famous people from Portugal. (By Ricardo Silva (ricardo@silva.lu) – Own work, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

With a career spanning several decades, Almeida has showcased his talent across genres, captivating audiences with his charisma and skill. His notable roles in Hollywood films such as Clear and Present Danger and Desperado have solidified his status as a figure in the global film industry.


Who is the richest person in Portugal?

The richest person in Portugal is Américo Amorim, who amassed his wealth primarily through his involvement in the cork industry. At the time of his passing in 2017, Amorim was estimated to be worth around $4.4 billion, making him the wealthiest individual in Portugal and one of the richest in the world.

piles of cork
Harvested cork piled on top of each other.

Amorim’s fortune was built upon his family’s cork business, Corticeira Amorim, which he inherited and expanded into a global leader in the cork industry.

With a keen business knowledge and strategic investments, Amorim diversified his interests beyond cork, venturing into areas such as energy, real estate, and finance. His entrepreneurial vision and leadership played a pivotal role in solidifying Portugal’s position as a key player in the global cork market.


Who is the most famous Portuguese singer?

The most famous Portuguese singer is Amália Rodrigues, often hailed as the “Queen of Fado.” Amália’s captivating voice and emotive performances elevated fado music to international acclaim.

Best Fado in Lisbon, FADO guitar
A fado guitar often played alongside some of the singers famous people from Portugal.

Throughout her career, which spanned several decades until her passing in 1999, Amália Rodrigues became synonymous with the soulful and melancholic genre of fado, captivating audiences with her powerful interpretations of traditional Portuguese songs.

Her influence transcended borders, and her music resonates with listeners globally, solidifying her legacy as one of the greatest singers in Portuguese history.


Is Katy Perry part Portuguese?

Yes — Katy Perry has Portuguese ancestry through her mother, Mary Christine Hudson (née Perry). Mary Christine’s parents, Ann and Keith Hudson, have Portuguese roots, which makes Katy Perry of partial Portuguese descent.

But Katy Perry isn’t the only celebrity with Portuguese ancestry. Other famous Portuguese actors and actresses include Thomas Jeffrey Hanks, James Franco, Sean Paul, and Vanessa Sally Ortiz (also known as Vanessa Marcil).

Fun fact, celebrities like Monica Bellucci, Scarlett Johansson, Michael Fassbender, and George Clooney might not be Portuguese but have called Portugal home at one point or another. They have all bought houses on the real estate market.


Was Christopher Columbus Portuguese?

Maybe — there have been longstanding debates and alternative theories surrounding Christopher Columbus’s origins. Some historians argue that his ties to Portugal suggest he may have been born there rather than in Genoa, Italy.

This theory states that Columbus was possibly born as Pedro Ataíde, a presumed illegitimate child of a Portuguese lord. He adopted a new identity to evade potential persecution and changed his name to Columbus.

Despite these hypotheses, many historians still agree that Columbus was of Italian descent. However, in 2018, researchers began comparing DNA from Christopher Columbus’s son with that of a possible Portuguese relative to explore his origins further. Results are pending further analysis.

Final Thoughts: Most Famous People From Portugal

The article highlights Portugal’s luminaries, showcasing individuals who have excelled to first class ranks in their respective domains. From the arts to sports and beyond, these figures embody Portugal’s spirit and heritage, making significant domestic and global impacts.

Each name mentioned represents a unique journey of excellence and cultural contribution, reflecting the rich tapestry of Portuguese identity. Their stories, as diverse as their achievements, continue to inspire and resonate, carrying the essence of their first name and legacy forward.

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