Portugal is located in the extreme southwest of Europe, which also includes the archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores and is one of the European countries with the oldest borders. Here you can find a great diversity of landscapes within a short distance, where tradition and the contemporary come together in harmony.
Its long history is present everywhere, through its heritage and culture.
The cuisine, good wines and the sympathy of the Portuguese complement this unique tourist destination, whether for a weekend or for a longer holiday.
The climate is mild, with over 300 days of sunshine per year and the coast has 850 km of splendid beaches bathed by the Atlantic Ocean.
Portuguese is spoken by about 250 million people on every continent and is the fifth most spoken language in the world. In Portugal a large number of citizens have ease of communication in English, French and Spanish.
All this makes Portugal a perfect destination for all seasons, a few hours drive from any European capital.
Facts about Portugal
1 – Portugal is the oldest nation-state in Europe – Having the same defined borders since 1139, almost 900 years ago. The name Portugal first appears in 868, during the Reconquista over the Muslims.
2 -Lisbon is older than Rome – Around four centuries older to be precise. It is in fact the second oldest European capital after Athens. Many historians believe that it was settled by the Phoenicians around 1200 BC, who used the excellent transport possibilities offered by the River Tagus.
3 – The Anglo-Portuguese Treaty of 1373 was signed between King Edward III of England and King Ferdinand and Queen Eleanor of Portugal. It established a treaty of “perpetual friendships, unions [and] alliances” between the two seafaring nations. It is the oldest active treaty in the world.
4 – Half of the “New World” once belonged to Portugal – In 1494, the Treaty of Tordesillas was signed which essentially gave Portugal the eastern half of the “New World”, including Brazil, Africa, and Asia. The Portuguese Empire was actually the first global empire in history and one of the longest-lived colonial powers, lasting for almost six centuries from when Ceuta was captured in 1415, until Macau (now China) was handed-over in 1999.
5 – Portuguese Catherine of Braganza Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland wife of King Charles I, is credited with the introduction of tea drinking to the British court.
6 – While one of the most responsible for it, Portugal was the first colonial power to abolish slavery, 1761 – half a century before Britain, France, Spain, or the USA.
7 – Lisbon was struck by one of the most powerful earthquakes in history, which led to the birth of seismology. On the 1st of November in 1755, Lisbon was struck by about a 9.0 magnitude earthquake. 275,000 residents were killed and 85% of the buildings were destroyed, including famous palaces and churches.
8 – The Bertrand Bookstore, Is the Oldest in the World, The store opened its doors in 1732, and became a center for the city’s intellectual and artistic scene. The original building was leveled in the devastating 1755 earthquake, but the owners found new premises and business continued to thrive.
9 – Portugal does not have an official religion, though some 84% of the population are Catholic.
10 – Portugal has the largest Casino one in Europe – Casino do Estoril.
11 – The Portuguese eat more fish and shellfish per head of population than any other country.
12 – Portugal is a world leader in renewable energy. More than half its energy comes from wind, solar and hydro power.
13 – Portugal is the world’s top producer of cork and has the largest cork forest in the world.
14 – Portugal is one of the world’s top surf spots. In October 2011, Hawaiian surfer Garrett McNamara caught the biggest wave (30 m / 90 ft) ever surfed to date, at Praia do Norte, near the town of Nazaré, in central Portugal.
15 – Portugal is one of the world’s Best Golf Destination.
16 – Almost 95% of the country is ocean. Portugal has a land area of about 92.212 Km2, which corresponds to the 110th place in the ranking of countries in terms of size. However, according to the Portuguese navy, it has jurisdiction over an extensive maritime area of around 1.720.560 Km2.