Portugal Travel Facts

By | May 24, 2022

Portugal is the westernmost country in Europe and has only one neighboring country – Spain. The island of Madeira and the Azores in the Atlantic also belong to Portugal. Magnificent landscapes, exciting, colorful cities and the wild Atlantic make the country a really great and varied travel destination.

Capital City Lisbon
Size 92.212 km²
Resident 10.341.330
Official Language Portuguese
Currency Euro
Time Zone UTC-1/+0
Telephone Area Code +351

Source: Destination Explorer

Fast facts to know

  • Almost all motorways are subject to tolls, billing is done via electronic payment systems.
  • Portuguese are very hospitable and polite.
  • Smaller shops often close between 1pm and 3pm.
  • At the cheese, meat, bread counters and post office, a number must be taken before queuing.
  • 93% of Portuguese are Catholics.
  • Porto is the second largest city, has been extensively restored and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Portugal has an 830 km long Atlantic coast.
  • Portugal has beautiful and varied landscapes.
  • Portugal was once one of the greatest seafaring nations in the world.
  • Because tap water contains a lot of chlorine, tap water should not be drunk.
  • Travelers should protect themselves against ticks and sandflies in summer.

Exciting cities in Portugal

  • Lisbon
  • Fatima
  • Porto
  • Braga
  • Coimbra
  • Evora
  • Faro
  • Guimaraes
  • Lagos
  • tavira
  • Drink
  • Castelo de Vide

History of Portugal

  • First settlement about 500,000 years ago.
  • 800 BC Phoenicians found trading bases in the Algarve.
  • 6th to 3rd century BC BC Immigration of the Celts who mixed with the Iberians.
  • 206 BC Strong Romanization after the Second Punic War.
  • 8th century Moorish rule.
  • 15th century Portugal rises to become the leading European trading and maritime power, becomes a colonial power in the 16th century.
  • 1580 Portugal falls to the Spanish Habsburgs for dynastic reasons.
  • In 1755 an earthquake destroyed large parts of the capital Lisbon.
  • 1761 Attack by Spain and France on the country, which is repelled.
  • 1821 Liberal Revolution: Portugal obtains a constitution for the first time in its history.
  • 1910 End of the monarchy by proclamation of the republic, King Manuel II flees into English exile.
  • 1926 military coup ends the first republic.
  • During World War II, Portugal remained neutral.
  • Portugal is a founding member of NATO, created in 1949.
  • From 1960 colonial war in Africa.
  • 1974 renewed military coup with subsequent dictatorship
  • The onset of the economic crisis leads to a general uprising, the Carnation Revolution.
  • The 1976 constitution briefly defines the transition to socialism as a state goal.
  • The constitutional amendment that came into force in 1982 replaced the Revolutionary Council, which had been important until then, with a constitutional court modeled on other democratic states.

Climate & travel weather in Portugal

  • Temperate maritime climate with warm summers and mild winters.
  • A little cooler in the north.
  • In the south: Mediterranean climate.
  • Mild, humid and changeable in the Azores.
  • Recommended travel time:
    • Generally recommended all year round.
    • Sightseeing, city trips: spring & autumn.
    • Beach holiday on the north coast: July and August.
    • Madeira, Azores, Algarve: also recommended in winter.

Ideas for trips in Portugal

  • Vasco da Gama, the longest bridge in Europe.
  • Climb to the top of Pico Ruivo in Madeira.
  • Old town of Guimaraes.
  • Excursion to Sintra.
  • Surfing on the Atlantic coast.
  • Sanctuary on the Monta Santa Luzia.
  • Ride the Tram 28 through Lisbon.
  • Mythical rock formations in Evora.
  • Reach the westernmost point of Europe.
  • Fort „Fortress of Sagres“.
  • Boat tour on the Douro through Porto.
  • Explore the Oceanário in Lisbon.
  • Kloster Jeronimos Monastery.

Eating & drinking in Portugal

  • Fresh fish is very popular, but various meats are also often served (pork, beef, chicken).
  • Favorite vegetables: broccoli, peas, turnips.
  • Usually rice and potatoes as side dishes.
  • Spartan breakfast, extensive lunch (12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.) and dinner (7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.).
  • Portugal is one of the top ten wine producers in the world.
  • Portuguese love coffee (usually black), milk coffee often served in a glass.
  • Egg desserts are widespread in Portugal, with over 200 different types of pastries and cakes.
  • Typical dishes:
    • Pastéis de bacalhau (cod chopped and made into fine fishcakes)
    • Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato (Mussel Meat – dip your bread in the fantastic olive oil, coriander, garlic and white wine sauce)
    • Caldo verde (potato, onion, kale and pork sausage (chouriço) slices soup. )
    • Sardinhas assadas (charcoal grilled sardines)
    • Arroz de Pato (Crispy duck risotto with pork chouriço slices.)
    • Cataplana (seafood, meat, onions, peppers and potatoes)
    • Cozido à portuguesa (meat stew with beef, pork, chicken, sausages, potatoes, carrots, green and white cabbage)
    • Bacalhau à brás (chopped cod with onions and potatoes lightly, add olives and parsley)
    • Frango na púcara (Chicken casserole)
    • Torta de Azeitão (soft, fluffy cake brushed with egg yolk and rolled up to perfection)
    • Ovos moles de Aveiro (Paper-thin shell-shaped waffles with sweet egg yolk paste. )
    • Polvo à lagareiro (squid, mostly cold, along with onions, olive oil and parsley)
    • Arroz de marisco (rice with seafood)
    • Cabrito assado (roast kid)
    • Alheira de Mirandela (smoked sausages and chouriços)
    • Caldeirada de peixe (fish stew made with various types of fish and seafood, tomatoes and herbs)
    • Carne de porco à Alentaja (Marinated pork with clams)
    • Carne de porco estufada com castanhas (pork stewed in onions, garlic and herbs with boiled chestnuts)
    • Leitão assado (suckling pig stuffed with liver, cured ham and olives)
    • Sopa da pedra (stew with beans, vegetables, sausage and meat)

Particularly scenic

  • 65 kilometers of beach between Troia and Sines, Don Anna Beach, the most picturesque in all of Portugal.
  • Nationalpalast Pena.
  • The rust-red cliffs of Praia da Falésia.
  • Wasserfälle Waterfalls of Ribeira Grande.
  • Blumeninsel Madeira.
  • Feuersee Lagoon of Fire.
  • Madeira Laurel Forest.
  • Furnas hot springs in the Azores.
  • Santiago Lagoon.
  • National Parks:
    • Peneda-Gerês National Park.
    • Alvao Natural Park.
    • Southwest Alentejo National Park.
    • Ria Formosa Natural Park.

Portugal Travel Facts