This lovely, sunny, and very visited and cultural country occupies the western part of the Iberian Peninsula. But its territory extends to the Atlantic Ocean through the archipelago of Madeira and the Azores too.
Portugal offers the perfect conditions for a holiday with a lot of physical and mental rest. Beaches caressed by the ocean, cities full of culture, history and interesting sites. If you decide to visit, you will definitely return through its appeal, beauty and its excellent tourist facilities.
Portuguese is the official language and you can practise, listen and learn it in Portugal. It only takes a short while to absorb the atmosphere and soon you will see how it is not so difficult to learn the basics of the country and understand its inhabitants. Moreover, they will be always grateful if they see a foreigner trying to learn even a little of their language, thereby getting closer to the Portuguese culture.
The Capital and Other Cities of Interest
The capital of Portugal is Lisbon. It is also the country's largest city. In the city you can find great opportunities for culture, leisure and education, among others.
You will surely be interested in visiting the Tower of Belém, Rossio Square, Lisbon Cathedral or the Oceanarium. If you want to feel like you’re in San Francisco, drive your car over the 25th of April Bridge, which spans the River Tagus and is the longest suspension bridge in Europe. Or take a sail underneath it. It’s similar in style and colour to the famous Golden Gate Bridge.
Portugal also offers other major cities and you can find plenty to see and enjoy in them. Visit Porto, Aveiro, Braga, Coimbra and Amadora and see for yourself.
EU Member State
Portugal joined the European Union on 1 January 1986 and its currency since 1999 is the euro. As in many European countries, here also you can pay for everything in euros, and so if you come from a country in the euro area you have it easier.
Climate and Weather
Those who like the Mediterranean climate will find their ideal time in Portugal. For sightseeing in Portugal, the best season is spring and summer when the sun is shining and temperatures vary between 20ºC and 30ºC. Be aware that summer is not so pleasant throughout the whole of the country. In some places, especially inland, the temperature in the summer months can soar to 40°C and beyond.
In autumn and winter it rains a lot and strong winds occur. In the southern areas the temperature does not drop much and you can spend a very pleasant winter from 0-5ºC. In the mountains we can find snow and low temperatures of about -10ºC.
Religion in Portugal
According to research, over 80% of the population profess the Catholic faith. But apparently that's just theory, because in reality less than 20% thereof truly practise this faith.
Among other religions in the country are Protestant, Jehovah's Witness and Judaism.
The Rich Portuguese Culture
If you want a culture that you can learn and fully enjoy, go to Portugal. It has much to offer to all who are interested.
In the world of literature we can highlight Luís de Camões, José Saramago and António José da Silva. Thanks to these and other writers, poems, novels and other literary works are preserved.
Traditional music is performed with traditional instruments in many environments, and presented in original ways.
The architecture of Portugal has much to say as well. Thanks to it we can admire, for example, the Jeronimos Monastery, the great work of the architect Juan de Castillo. But there's more. There are many painters, sculptors and photographers who until now have their works on the best sites of the many museums and galleries.
Portuguese football dominates the sport and shows the many fans who come to watch games where to support their favourite club.
There are several courses that illustrate the country. They are prepared using many different ingredients and meats − often accompanied by a rich Portuguese wine that comes from several areas. Golden cod may be one of the choices among the main courses. It consists of cod, eggs and potatoes.
• Smoking is prohibited in public places.
• Lunch is usually between 12:00 and 14:30 and dinner from 19:30.
• To enter Portugal with pets, tourists from countries of the European Union must present a pet passport which confirms that the animal is identified by microchip.
• Shopping centres are open daily from 10:00 to 23:00
Editing by: Catherine Parker