Portugal is a southern European country on the Iberian Peninsula, bordering Spain. Its location on the Atlantic Ocean has influenced many aspects of its culture: salt cod and grilled sardines are national dishes, the Algarve’s beaches are a major destination and much of the nation’s architecture dates to the 1500s–1800s, when Portugal had a powerful maritime empire.
The culture of Portugal is the result of a complex flow of different civilizations during the past millennia. From prehistoric cultures, to its Pre-Roman civilizations (such as the Lusitanians, the Gallaeci, the Celtici, and the Cynetes, amongst others), passing through its contacts with the Phoenician-Carthaginian world Roman period (see Hispania, Lusitania and Gallaecia), the Germanic invasions and consequent settlement of the Suebi and Buri (see Kingdom of the Suebi) the Visigoth (see Visigothic Kingdom), Sephardic Jewish, and finally, the Moorish Umayyad invasion of Hispania and the subsequent expulsion, during the Reconquista, all have made an imprint on the country’s culture and history.
The name of Portugal itself reveals much of the country’s early history, stemming from the Roman name Portus Cale, a Latin name meaning “Port of Cale” (some argue that Cale is a word of Celtic origin – Cailleach-Bheur her other name; the Mother goddess of the Celtic people as in Calais, Caledonia, Beira. She was the one who, with a hammer created mountains and valleys; the one who hid in stones and trees – Mother nature), later transformed into Portucale, and finally into Portugal, which emerged as a county of the Kingdom of León see County of Portugal) and became an independent kingdom in 1139. During the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal was a major economic, political, and cultural power, its global empire stretching from Brazil to the Indies, as well as Macau and Japan.
Portugal, as a country with a long history, is home to several ancient architectural structures, as well as typical art, furniture and literary collections mirroring and chronicling the events that shaped the country and its peoples. It has a large number of cultural landmarks ranging from museums to ancient church buildings to medieval castles, which testify its rich national cultural heritage. Portugal is home to fifteen UNESCO World Heritage Sites, ranking it 8th in Europe and 17th in the world.
Portugal may be only a small country, but the variety of its landscapes and species is such that any trip, however short, is a pleasure of discovery.
From the towering mountains to the vast plains, from the wide sandy beaches with their gently rolling waves to the jagged coastline battered by rough seas, the country has a little of everything.
And there are also the islands of Madeira and Azores, oases of calm and tranquillity in the middle of the Atlantic, with lush vegetation, extinct volcanoes and caves full of natural carvings.
Wherever you are, the sun shines all year round, offering a mild climate that is ideal for enjoying nature and the outdoors.
Some of these places are true sanctuaries that have been preserved intact since the beginning of time. And many are the habitat of rare species of flora and fauna that enjoy here the ideal conditions to develop.
You can discover them on a walk for observation and contemplation, or in more adrenaline-filled sports and radical activities. They are unforgettable moments, and you will go away with the best holiday memories.
Portugal is classified as Csb climate; a warm temperate moist forest climate, with wet winters, dry summers and the warmest month above 22°C on average.
Time & Date: GMT +1
Portugal is part of the European Union, so we use the EURO. Although USD would be accepted in some shops and tourist places, we advise to use only our currency
Credit cards are widely accepted anywhere, but some small merchants like kiosks, taxis or some bars would not take cards, specially for minor payments of below 20 EUR. ATMs are present everywhere, but our recommendation is still to have always some cash at hand for any purpose.
Portuguese (português or, in full, língua portuguesa) is a western Romance language and the sole official language of Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Angola, and São Tomé and Príncipe. It also has co-official language status in East Timor, Equatorial Guinea and Macau in China. As the result of expansion during colonial times, a cultural presence of Portuguese and Portuguese creole speakers are also found in Goa, Daman and Diu in India; in Batticaloa on the east coast of Sri Lanka; in the Indonesian island of Flores; in the Malacca region of Malaysia; and the ABC islands in the Caribbean where Papiamento is spoken, while Cape Verdean Creole is the most widely spoken Portuguese-based Creole. A Portuguese-speaking person or nation may be referred to as “Lusophone” in both English and Portuguese.
Portuguese is part of the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several dialects of Vulgar Latin in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, and has kept some Celtic phonology and lexicon. With approximately 215 to 220 million native speakers and 260 million total speakers, Portuguese is usually listed as the sixth most natively spoken language in the world, the third-most spoken European language in the world in terms of native speakers, and a major language of the Southern Hemisphere. It is also the most spoken language in South America and the second-most spoken in Latin America after Spanish, and is an official language of the European Union, Mercosul, OAS, ECOWAS and the African Union.
When buying your travel insurance, always check the small print – some policies specifically exclude ‘dangerous activities’, which could be anything from scuba diving to horse riding. You should check whether the medical coverage is on a pay first, claim later basis and, more importantly, ensure that your medical coverage includes the cost of medical evacuation.
Depending on the purpose of your travel to Portugal, there are different types of visas that will apply to the occasion. Whether you are planning to go on a visit, study or work and reside there permanently, you will have to apply for a different Portuguese Schengen Visa, accordingly.
You can apply for the Portuguese Schengen Visa since 1995 when Portugal as an EU Country State also became a member state of the Schengen Area.
Portugal has three international airports, Lisbon, Faro and Porto.
Official languages: Portuguese, Mirando do Douro