The Age of Discovery, when the Portuguese discovered India and America, ended in the middle of the 17th century. Perhaps now, in the 21st century, the time has come for tourists to discover Portugal itself. Indeed, in Portugal there is not only football, but also ancient architectural monuments, medieval fortresses and palaces, excellent wines, beautiful nature and beach resorts, many of which are popular with European aristocratic families.
Geography of Portugal
Portugal is located on the famous Iberian Peninsula, in the south-west of Europe. In the north and east, Portugal borders on Spain, and in the west and south it is washed by the Atlantic Ocean. Portugal includes the Azores and the Madeira archipelago. The total area of this country is 301,338 sq. km.
The northern part of Portugal is occupied by mountains, and the southern part by plains and lowlands. The highest peak is Mount Estrela, whose height reaches 1,993 meters.
Several rivers flow through the territory of Portugal, the largest of them are Tajo and Duero.
Capital of Portugal
According to itypejob.com, the capital of Portugal is Lisbon, which is now home to more than 550 thousand people. Archaeologists claim that a human settlement on the site of modern Lisbon existed as early as 1200 BC.
The official language in Portugal is Portuguese, which belongs to the Romance group of the Indo-European language family. The second official language in Portugal is Mirandese, which also belongs to the Romance group of languages. This language is spoken in the northeast of the country.
More than 91% of the population of Portugal are Catholics belonging to the Roman Catholic Church. Another 3.2% of Portuguese consider themselves Protestants or Orthodox Christians.
According to computerminus.com, Portugal is a parliamentary constitutional republic. The President is elected for 5 years. The country’s parliament is the Assembleia da República, consisting of 230 deputies elected for a 4-year term.
The main political parties in Portugal are the Socialist Party, the Social Democratic Party, and the coalition of the Portuguese Communist Party and the Greens.
Climate and weather
The climate in mainland Portugal varies considerably from region to region, depending on the topography and proximity to the sea. Winters are cold, especially in the hinterland of Portugal, while summers are hot and dry. In the coastal regions of the country, the air temperature is slightly lower, due to the influence of the Atlantic Ocean.
The climate of the Azores is strongly influenced by the current of the Gulf Stream, and is characterized by hot summers and warm winters. In Madeira, the climate is subtropical, the average temperature in summer is + 24C, and in winter – + 19C.
Ocean off Portugal
Portugal is washed by the Atlantic Ocean. Portugal includes the Azores and the Madeira archipelago (they are located in the Atlantic Ocean). The coast of continental Portugal is 943 km.
The average temperature of the Atlantic Ocean in the south of Portugal in the Algarve:
- January – +14C
- February – +14C
- March – +16C
- April – +16C
- May – +17С
- June – +19С
- July – +20С
- August – +21С
- september – +21C
- october – +19C
- November – +17С
- December – +15С
Rivers and lakes of Portugal
Most of the rivers in Portugal originate in the Mesete mountains. The largest of them are Tajo, Duero, Minho and Guadiana. Another large Portuguese river originates in the Serra da Estrela mountains.
There are no large natural lakes in continental Portugal (there are only artificial reservoirs). However, there are several large lagoons here.
The history of Portugal dates back to the Celtic tribes who settled the Iberian Peninsula around 700 BC. Later, the territory of modern Portugal was conquered by the Romans, and then the Moors (Arabs). Portugal (together with Spain) remained under Moorish rule for over 400 years.
Only in 1143 did Portugal become an independent state, led by King Alfonso Enrique. In the 15th century, the expansion of Portugal abroad began, and the Portuguese built a huge colonial empire, which included Africa, South America, India and the Far East. However, Spain conquered Portugal in the 16th century.
During the era of the Napoleonic Wars, Portugal was captured by the French armies of Napoleon Bonaparte, but the rule of the French was short-lived. England intervened in the war and, in the end, the Napoleonic soldiers left Portugal.
Throughout the 19th century, the decline of Portugal continues, and, in the end, at the beginning of the 20th century, a revolution took place in this country. The monarchy was dissolved in 1910, King Manuel II went into exile, and Portugal was proclaimed a democratic republic.
In 1928, a military coup took place in Portugal, and António de Oliveira Salazar came to power for many years. His reign lasted until 1968.
During World War II, Portugal declared its neutrality. After a military coup in 1974, Portugal recognized the independence of its African colonies.
In 1949, Portugal joined the NATO military bloc, and in 1986, it was admitted to the European Union. In 1999, Portugal handed over its Chinese colony of Macau to communist China.
Culture of Portugal
Portuguese culture takes its traditions from the era of the Celts, who had a great influence on local folklore. In turn, the Portuguese culture during the Great geographical discoveries had a great influence on the culture of some countries in Africa and South America.
Traditional Portuguese fado music has been influenced by Arabic, Greek, and Spanish musical traditions.
Portugal is a country of fairs, festivals and festivities. The most grandiose holiday is St. Anthony’s Day, celebrated on June 13 every year in Lisbon. Saint Anthony was a Franciscan friar. He is considered the patron saint of sailors and poor people. On the night of June 12-13, Lisbon turns into one big fair.
June 23-24 in Porto celebrates the Day of St. John, who is the patron saint of this city. On the night of June 23-24, literally all the inhabitants of Porto take to the streets, and the city turns into one big carnival. The celebration of Saint John’s Day has pagan roots, when the Celts celebrated the summer solstice.
If you are in Portugal in August, be sure to visit the village of Santa Maria da Feira. This village hosts a jousting tournament every year, during which knights in heavy armor and with swords fight each other.
In the 15th century, the Portuguese prince Henry the Navigator ordered all Portuguese sailors, merchants and travelers to bring exotic fruits, vegetables and plants that they would meet on their way to Portugal without fail. Therefore, as a result of the Great geographical discoveries, Portuguese cuisine was enriched with new products, as well as spices.
It was the Portuguese navigators who brought potatoes, tomatoes and tea to Europe. However, the Romans and the Moors also had a great influence on Portuguese cuisine.
Fresh fish and shellfish are on the menu of every regional Portuguese cuisine. The traditional national Portuguese dish is “bacalhau” (dried cod). The Portuguese claim that there are 365 ways to cook dried cod.
Other traditional Portuguese dishes include “caldeirada” (stewed fish or squid stew), “cozido à Portuguesa” (stewed vegetables with meat), “tripeiros” (pork sausages), “tripeiros” (meat dish), soup ” caldo verde” (with potatoes, cabbage and sausage), and “pastel de nata” biscuits.
Portugal is famous for its wines. Tourists in this country are advised to try the local “Port” and “Madeira”.
Sights of Portugal
The Portuguese have always carefully preserved their historical monuments, so it is not surprising that there are so many attractions in this country. The top ten Portuguese attractions in our opinion include the following:
- Castle of Torre de Belem.
- Pena Palace in Sintra.
- Village of Monsaraz.
- Monastery of Alcobaça.
- Castle of the Templars Convento de Cristo.
- Ancient Roman settlement of Conimbrig.
- Saint George Castle in Lisbon.
- Statue of Jesus Christ in Lisbon.
- Church of Saint Francisco in Porto.
- Palace of Bolsa in Porto.
Cities and resorts
The largest Portuguese cities are Lisbon, Porto, Braga, Amadora, Funchal and Setubal.
Continental Portugal has great places for summer holidays – Quinta do Lago, Vilamoura, Albufeira, Alvor, as well as the so-called. Lisbon Riviera (Cascais, Carcavelos and Estoril).
For tourists from Portugal, we recommend bringing ceramics, handicrafts, towels, Portuguese wine, figurines or postcards depicting the most important Portuguese attractions (for example, Pena Palace).
Banks are open:
Shop opening hours:
Mon-Fri: 09:00-19:00 with a lunch break
On Saturday, most shops are open until 14:00
Supermarkets and large shopping centers in Portugal are open until 23:00.
Ukrainians need a visa to enter Portugal.
Currency of Portugal
Portugal is a member of the European Union and uses the Euro as currency. All major credit cards are widely accepted in Portugal.
Tourists in Portugal can import currency without restrictions. Customs regulations in Portugal are the same as in other EU countries.
Useful phone numbers and addresses
The Embassy of Portugal in Ukraine is located at the address:
Kiev, st. Bol. Vasilkovskaya, 9/2, apt. 12
T: (044) 227-24-42
F: (044) 230-26-25
Email mail: [email protected]
The Embassy of Ukraine in Portugal is located at:
Portugal, 1400-092 Lisboa, Avenida das Descobertas, 18
T: (8 10 351) 21-301-00-43
F: (8 10 351)
21-301-00-59 mail: [email protected]
Emergency phone for emergencies – 112
Time in Portugal
The difference with time in Kyiv is -2 hours. Those. if in Lisbon, for example, in the summer it is 9 o’clock in the morning, then in Kyiv it is 11 o’clock in the morning.
Tipping in Portuguese restaurants is usually 5% of the bill. Hotels usually include a service charge on the bill (5-19%), but where there is no such practice, the concierge and porters are paid 2 euros each. In a taxi tip – 5-10% of the bill.
No special vaccinations are required to enter Portugal.
In Portugal, violent crimes against foreign tourists are quite rare. However, foreigners in Portugal can be an easy target for pickpockets. There are especially many pickpockets in big cities and resorts.