Portugal is one of the oldest nations in Europe and it is well known for delicious port wine, beautiful beaches, the charming city of Lisbon, cork trees and much more. Besides, there is an obsession for football in the country and they have stayed together with the national team throughout their matches. It is one of the safest countries in the world and it is also known as the “Country of Tiles” because these blue glazed tiles protect the houses in Portugal from low temperatures during the winter season.
Location and Population: – Portugal is located in the South Western part of Europe in the Iberian Peninsula. It shares land borders with Spain and it shares marine borders with Morocco. Besides, Portugal also contains small islands of Madeira and Azores in the Atlantic ocean. The geographical area of Portugal is 92,090 km2.
According to the Census conducted in the year 2021, the population of Portugal is 10,325,147.
Portugal’s History: – The history of Portugal goes back to the time when there were various tribals ruling over the country. After a few years Portugal was being ruled by foreign invaders like Germany, Moors, etc. which was later taken over by Christian rulers. Later during the 13th century Portugal and England signed a treaty of friendship both supporting each other during tough times. The 14th century was the time when Portugal expanded its trade in the Asian continent which was later taken over by the Netherlands due to which they became enemies. Portugal became independent with the help of England. During the second world war Portugal was neutral but they allowed England to use their facilities in the Azores.
Facts you should know about Portugal: – There are various facts that the tourists should know about Portugal before they visit it. They are as follows: –
- The tourists can visit the Bertrand bookstore which is the world’s oldest bookstore that is still running in the business in Portugal.
- Portugal is the largest producer of Cork in the world. The tourists can find various cork products in Portugal.
- Portugal has the longest bridge in Europe which is the Vasco De Gama bridge that crosses the Tagus river in the northern part of Lisbon.
- Portuguese is the official language of 9 countries which are Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Angola, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Principe, Sao Tome and Equatorial Guinea.
- The colour of the Portugal flag contains messages for the world. The green colour is the symbol of hope, red colour stands for the bloodshed that happened during the battles fought by the country and the shield in the centre of the flag contains the victory of the Moors battle.
- Did you know that the Rooster is an important symbol of Portugal as it helped save the life of an innocent person from a crime?
Culture and Food: – The people in Portugal are very friendly and caring. They love to spend more time with their family. They have a different lifestyle, food and much more. They love to have more coffee instead of tea and the foreigners would need patience to adapt to a Portuguese life.
There is no official religion of Portugal but the religion over there is of Christianity.
The Portuguese cuisine is a cuisine that is similar to the cuisine of other European countries. They use more of meat, seafood, vegetables, olive oil, etc. Some of the popular dishes from the Portuguese cuisine are Caldo Verde, Bifanas, Piri Piri Chicken, Pastel De Nata, Bolinhos de Bacalhau, etc.
Things to explore in Portugal: – There are various things for the tourists to explore in Portugal in terms of festivals and adventure activities which are as follows: –
- North music festival: – It is one of the popular music festivals that is held during the month of May in Porto at the Alfândega do Porto. It is known for popular artists like Robbie Williams, Ivete Sangalo, The Black Mamba, Shaka lion, etc.
- Easter Festival: – The Easter festival in Portugal is the second most popular festival celebrated in the country. The celebrations begin one week before the festival which is the holy week that is known as Semana Santa over there and there are processions that happen in the country out of which the procession in Braga is most visited one by the people as during the procession on Thursday the people walk barefoot with torch in their hands and farricos that is people wearing black hoods walk through the streets along with the procession.
- Surfing: – The tourists can do surfing at some of the best places in Portugal that have high waves to enjoy the surf such as the beaches in Nazare as the waves reach the height of 100 feet, Costa Da Caparica, Peniche, etc.
- Paragliding: – The tourists can have a good view of Portugal from the sky through paragliding. There are various places in Portugal to go paragliding such as the Azores, Algarves, Setúbal, etc.
- Trekking: – The tourists can go trekking to various places in Portugal and fall in love with the nature that the tourists would witness during their trekking. Some of the places are 25 Fontes, The Seven Hanging Valleys trail, Rota Vicentina, Serra De Lousa, etc.
Things to buy in Portugal: – There are various things for the tourists to buy in Portugal in order to complete their shopping list. Some of them are Portuguese wine, Cheese, Rooster, Azulejos, Pottery, Shoes, Decorative candles, Soaps, products from the Cork tree such as handbags, wallets, hats, etc. Besides the tourists can also shop a few more things in Portugal such as Port wine, Ginjinha, jewellery, Jams, Honeys, Sports jerseys, etc.
Best time to visit: – The best time to visit Portugal is during the spring season that is between March to May as the climate would be pleasant, temperatures would be bearable by the tourists so that they can smoothly explore the country as compared to the other seasons of Portugal. Besides, there would be very little rain during the spring season.
Places to visit in Portugal
- Lisbon: – It is the largest city and the capital of Portugal.The tourists can visit the Belém tower which was built during the 15th century as an addition to the defence of the city. The tower is built using limestone and it is known for its architecture. Besides, it is also known as St Vincent tower and the tower contains a Bastain which was used for keeping around 17 cannons to fire long range cannon attacks against the enemy. It is a five storey tower which is built on the northern bank of the Tagus river. The tourists can explore the Lisbon oceanarium which is located in the northeastern part of the city in the Parque das Nações and it is the largest indoor aquarium in Europe. There are various water animals in the oceanarium that the tourists might have never seen before in their lives. Some of the water animals in the oceanarium are rays, chimaeras, sharks, cuttlefish, sea snails, etc. Besides, tourists can take a tour of one of the most popular football stadiums in Portugal that is the Estádio da Luz which is also known as Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica. It is the home ground of S.L. Benfica football club in the Liga Portugal. The total seating capacity of the stadium is around 64,642 people.
- Porto: – The city which is known for Port wine and it is the second largest city in Portugal is Porto. The Casa Da Musica is a concert hall that is designed by Rem Koolhas, a Dutch artefact and the building is known for its unique architecture. It is a good place for music lovers to attend a music concert that ranges from orchestras to solo artists setting the stage on fire with their music. The Cálem caves, which is one of the most popular vineyards in Porto. The tourists will get to see the museum and the entire production process of the Port wine before they get to taste some delicious Port wine. The tourists will get to see a fade show. Some of the popular Port wines of Cálem are Quinta Santa Eufemia 10 Years Old Tawny Port Wine, Vista Alegre 20 Years Old Port Wine, etc. Besides, the tourists can also visit the Dom Luis bridge that is across the Douro river and the upper deck of the bridge is accessible for the tourists as it is a walking path. Besides, the tourists can also take a boat ride in Porto that will take them around the Douro river and they will pass through various bridges in Porto including the Dom Luis bridge.
- Braga: – The city which is located in the northern part of Portugal and it is the religious centre of Portugal is Braga. The Braga Cathedral which is also known as the Sé de Braga is a Catholic church and it is the oldest church in Portugal. The Church is known for its architecture and there are three aisles and five chapels in the Cathedral. The tourists can visit the chapel houses which contain the tomb of the son of João I, the first born son who was an infant. There is a garden namely the Santa Barbara garden which is the place for all nature lovers to visit and be surrounded by the greenery. It was built during the 18th century and there are various flowers and trees in the garden such as the Eucalyptus trees, oaks, etc. Besides there is a lake in the garden and animals like ducks and swans in the park. The tourists can also explore the Bom Jesus Do Monte which means Good Jesus of the mount. It is a sanctuary that is known for its zig-zag stairways that take the tourists to the church and give them a good view of the city of Braga. Besides, they can also view the garden and fountain in the Sanctuary.
- Sintra: – The town which is located at the base of the Sintra mountain in the central part of Portugal is Sintra. Sintra contains many things for the tourists to see, namely the National Palace of Sintra which is also known as Town Palace. It is known for its architecture and it used to be the royal residence of various rulers. There is an Air museum which is located at the Sintra Air base. The museum was opened during the 19th century and there are various aircraft model exhibits available for the tourists to view in the museum such as North American F-86F Sabre (s/n 5361), Lockheed T-33A Silver Star (s/n 1926), Caudron.G III, etc. Besides, tourists can visit the Castle of the Moors which was built during the Muslim period in Portugal during the 8th or 9th century but later on it was taken away by the Christian forces. It is located on the top of the hill above the Sintra town. The tourists can see various modifications done in the castle over a period of time and they can get to see a good view of the Sintra town from the castle.
How to reach Portugal from India: – The tourists can reach Portugal from India through flights but there are no direct flights to Portugal from India and there are 1 or 2 stops during the journey depending on the airline chosen by the tourists. Some of the airlines that fly to Portugal are Emirates, Air India, Lufthansa, British Airways, Etihad Airways, Swiss Airlines, etc. Besides, the tourists cannot travel to Portugal by road unless they do a road trip from Spain.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the currency of Portugal ?
Ans: The currency of Portugal is Euros.
- What is the language spoken in Portugal ?
Ans: The language spoken in Portugal is Portuguese but most of the population can speak in English.
- What are the eateries that serve Indian food in Portugal ?
Ans: A portion of eateries that serve Indian food in Portugal are Restaurant Odaan, Royal Spice, Mendi, Thali, etc.
- What is the national sport of Portugal ?
Ans: The national sport of Portugal is Football.
- Which places are popular for shopping in Portugal ?
Ans: There are various places to shop in Portugal that are Rua Augusta, Rua de Santa Catarina, Freeport Lisboa Fashion Outlet, Colombo mall, etc.