About Portugal


With its mild climate, 3000 hours of sunshine per year, an average of 4–6 h in winter and 10–12 h in the summer, and 850 kms of splendid beaches bathed by the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal is the perfect holiday destination all year round.

This is a country that has the oldest borders in Europe, with an exceptional range of different landscapes just a short distance away, lots of leisure activities and a unique cultural heritage, where tradition and modernity blend together in perfect harmony. Its superb cuisine, fine wines and hospitable people make this a tourist paradise of the highest quality.

Situated in the extreme south-west of Europe, just a few hours from any of the other European capitals, Portugal attracts visitors from all over the world. Come and discover the charms of this country too.


Algarve - Beach South of Portugal


Algarve - Beach South of Portugal


Portinho da Arábida - South of Lisbon (Around 50kms distance)


Cabo da Roca - Western place in Europe (Around 45kms from Lisbon)



Portugal is situated at the south-west point of Europe and also includes the Madeira and Azores archipelagos in the Atlantic Ocean. Mainland Portugal occupies an area of 88,889 km2. It is 218 km wide and 561 km long. It has 832 km of Atlantic coast and a 1,215 km border with Spain.

The Azores are situated in the Atlantic Ocean between Europe and North America. They have an area of 2,355 km2 and consist of nine islands - São Miguel and Santa Maria in the Eastern Group, Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico and Faial in the Central Group and Flores and Corvo in the Western Group. It takes about two hours to get from the Azores to mainland Portugal by plane.






The Madeira Archipelago has an area of 741 km2 and lies in the Atlantic Ocean about 500 km from the African coast and 1,000 km from the European continent (1½ hours flying time from Lisbon). It consists of the islands of Madeira and Porto Santo and the uninhabited Desertas and Selvagens islands, which are nature reserves.







Mainland Portugal

The climate in Portugal varies considerably from one region to another and is influenced by the relief, latitude and proximity to the sea, which offers mild winters, especially in the Algarve.

In the Porto e Norte area and Beiras region, particularly inland, nearer Spain, the winters are colder, although the temperatures are still mild when compared to the rest of Europe. There is some snowfall. It occurs most in the Serra da Estrela mountains, where we find the highest point in mainland Portugal (1,991 m) and where it is sometimes possible to ski.

The summers are hot and dry, especially in the inland areas (Trás-os-Montes in north-eastern Portugal and Alentejo). Temperatures are slightly lower in the coastal areas, because of the influence of the sea. There are often warm, sunny days in autumn. Nice weather at the beginning of November is often called "St. Martin's Summer" as this saint's day is on 11 November.

The Lisbon region has warm dry weather reaching typically temperatures between 20º and 30º degrees in August.


Lisbon Temperature




The climate in the Azores is influenced by the islands' latitude and by the Gulf Stream, and temperatures are mild there all year round. The same factors also influence the sea temperature, which is very pleasant both in winter and summer and ideal for nautical sports all year around.


The subtropical characteristics of the weather in the Madeira Archipelago can be explained by its geographical position and mountainous relief. The climate in Madeira is exceptionally mild, with average temperatures varying between 24 ºC in summer and 19 ºC in winter. The sea temperature is also very pleasant all year round, thanks to the influence of the warm Gulf Stream. It varies between 18 ºC in winter and 22 ºC in summer.

People & Language

From a Latin root, Portuguese language is spoken by about 250 million people in every continent, and is the official language of 9 countries becoming the 5th most spoken language in the world and the 3rd, if we only consider the European languages. The Portuguese-speaking countries are scattered all over the world. Portuguese is spoken in Africa (Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and São Tomé e Príncipe), in South America (Brazil) and in Asia, (East Timor, the youngest nation in the world), and it is also the official language in Macao Special Administrative Region of China.

Almost 12% of the inhabitants of Luxembourg and 3% of the people in France are of Portuguese descent. Paris has the largest Portuguese community outside Portugal and is the second largest Portuguese city after Lisbon based on the number of Portuguese residents.

In Portugal there are lots of people who are able to communicate in English, French and Spanish.

Culture & Traditions

Fatalism is an essential trait of Portuguese culture. Fado, as the Portuguese call it, is expressed by the common interjection oxalá, derived from the Arabic Inshallah, and which means "if only" or "hopefully". Fado has given rise to the eponymous music genre, characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, often about the sea or the life of the poor, and infused with a characteristic sentiment of resignation, fatefulness and melancholia. Fado has been recognised by the UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2011. The world-famous Port wine (also known as "Porto"), a sweet Portuguese fortified wine from the Douro Valley, has been imitated in several countries - notably Australia, South Africa, India and the United States. Over half of the world's cork is produced in Portugal. The Festa de São João do Porto, held on the night of 23 June, is one of the liveliest celebrations in the country. The tradition, which has its roots in pagan courtship rituals, requires participants to hit attractive girls on the head with garlic flowers or soft plastic hammers. The Festa do Colete Encanado, held in Vila Franca de Xira, features a running of the bulls, like its more famous counterpart, the San Fermín in Pamplona.


The name Portugal first appears in 868, during the Reconquista over the Muslims. A county was formed around the city of Porto (Portus Cale in Latin), from which "Portugal" is derived. The kingdom of Portugal lasted for nearly 800 years, from 1139 to 1910. Since 1910, the country has been a republic. The modern democratic republic was founded in 1976. The Anglo-Portuguese Alliance, signed in 1373, is the oldest alliance in the world which is still in force. Portugal was one of the earliest colonising nation of Europe, starting with Ceuta (1410), Madeira (1419), the Azores (1439), then establishing trading posts along the coast of Africa later in the 15th century. In 1498, Vasco da Gama reached India, and in 1500 Pedro Álvares Cabral, en route to India, discovered Brazil and claimed it for Portugal. The Portuguese Empire would rule, among others, over Brazil, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, Guinea-Bissau, Angola, Mozambique, Goa, Daman, Diu, Kochi, Malacca, and Macau. Most of the African colonies were granted independence in 1975. Macau, the last Portuguese colony, was handed over to China in 1999. The first Pirate code was invented in the 17th century by the Portuguese buccaneer Bartolomeu Português. In 1709, the Jesuit priest Bartolomeu de Gusmão invented one of the world's first airships, for which he sought royal favour from King John V. Portugal could have changed history with this invention, had it not been for the Inquisition, which forbade Gusmão to continue his aeronautic investigations and went as far as to persecute him because of them. On 1 November 1755 (All Saints' Day), Lisbon was struck by an earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 9 on the Richter scale - one of the most powerful in European history. The city was razed to the ground by the earthquake, the subsequent tsunami and ensuing fires. Up to 90,000 of the 275,000 inhabitants were killed and 85% of the buildings were destroyed, including famous palaces and churches, the 70,000-volume royal library, as well as the royal archives, containing the detailed historical records of explorations by Vasco da Gama and other early navigators. The earthquake profoundly disrupted the country's political scene and 18th-century colonial ambitions. Lisbon being the capital of a devout Catholic country with a long history of evangelism in the colonies, the catastrophe caused much embarassment to the Catholic Church, which could not explain this manifestation of the anger of God - striking moreover on a Catholic holiday. In 1761 Portugal became the first colonial power to abolish slavery, half a century before Spain, France, Britain or the USA.