Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic (Portuguese: República Portuguesa), is a country on the Iberian Peninsula. Located in southwestern Europe, Portugal is the westernmost country of mainland Europe and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south and by Spain to the north and east. The Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira are also part of Portugal.
With such a long sea coast, it is not surprising that
has witnessed so many sailings and arrivals. This is why we have been
open to the world and to communication for so long. We have assimilated
peoples of different origins: Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians,
Romans (who left us our language), northern Europeans and peoples from
In the late 13th century, King Dinis founded our university, one of the oldest in Europe, and took it to the beautiful city of
In the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, the Portuguese were the first
Europeans to sail to Africa, the distant Orient and the heart of
from where we brought a wealth of treasures. Even before advancing
along the coast of Africa, we discovered the archipelagos of the Azores
and Madeira, which are part of our territory in the
After a dynastic crisis and a period under the rule of the Spanish crown, in
Portuguese king took the throne once more, because, although we are
discrete, we have a strong sense of independence. In the 18th century,
King João V, an absolutist monarch and a patron of the arts, built a
huge palace and convent in Mafra and the great aqueduct that supplied
water. In the 19th century, the monarchy was weakened by clashes
between different factions and, in 1910, it was overthrown and
We have been members of the EU since 1986, though we still value our own virtues.
this brief history, you will see that our art is a little different
from that you already know. Note some of the peculiarities, especially
the Manueline style, which exalted the age of the discoveries, the
way we have learned to work with tiles and our fado, the song of
The climate in
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
In the Porto e Norte area and the Centro de Portugal region, particularly inland, nearer
The summers are hot and dry, especially in the inland areas (Trás-os-Montes in north-eastern
There are often warm, sunny days in autumn. Nice weather at the beginning of November is often called
public telephone booths, coins and special cards can be used. They are
sold in Portugal Telecom shops, post offices and some kiosks and
news-stands (with a sign indicating this).
All telephone numbers
in Portugal are composed of nine digits. To call from abroad to
Portugal, it is necessary to dial the international access code 00 and
the country code 351.
To call abroad from Portugal, dial 00, the
country code, the area code and then the number wanted. The dialling
codes of the various countries are affixed in public telephone booths.
Portugal is one of the countries with the highest number of mobile phone users.
are three network service providers - TMN, Vodafone and Optimus – that
have roaming agreements with most international mobile phone companies
and provide users with a good coverage nationwide.
Highway Code forbids the use of mobile phones while driving, unless
you’re using hands-free equipment or an earphone, and there are
established penalties that can be applied in the event of any
Internet access is available on payment in some cafés and in numerous post offices that have the Netpost service.
various hotels and public facilities, like Airports, Conference
centres, Restaurants, Service Areas in motor-ways and shopping centres,
there are duly marked wi-fi areas where it is possible to access
Portugal attracts many tourists each year. In 2006, the country was visited by 12.8 million tourists. Tourism is playing an increasingly important role in Portugal's economy contributing with about 5% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The tourist areas are, by order of tourist receipts and earnings, Greater Lisbon (Lisboa), the Algarve, Portuguese Islands, Greater Porto and Northern Portugal (Porto e Norte), Alentejo, and Centro.
2007 was a record year for inbound visitors to Portugal. During the peak of the tourist season, occupancy rates registered levels of almost 100% in the Algarve and in Porto. Porto benefited from staging important world events in the summer, such as the Red Bull Air Race. Domestic tourism continued its significant increase, since the Portuguese still prefer to travel within their borders. Among the inbound countries that contributed the most to the summer’s success were Spain, the UK, Germany, The Netherlands and Ireland.
Portugal is one of the world’s leading destinations for health and wellness tourism. The country benefits from its climate, mineral and medicinal water properties, natural thermal baths and recent investments in hotel/resort spas. Health and wellness is the main emerging tourism area, as shown in the strategic tourism plan from the government. Health and wellness is also expected to play an important role in diminishing the seasonality of tourism in the country.
Travel and tourism will continue to be extremely important for Portugal, with visitor numbers forecast to increase significantly over the next five years. However, there is increasing competition from Eastern European destinations such as Croatia who offer similar attractions to Portugal, and are often cheaper. Portugal must keep its focus on its niche attractions such as health, nature and rural tourism to stay ahead of its competitors.