According to countryaah, Portugal in a country in southwestern Europe that emerged after the Reconquista on the Iberian Peninsula. The country has been inhabited for thousands of years, but it was the Phoenicians who built the first settlements in present-day Portugal. After this it was the Greeks, the Carthaginians, the Romans and later the Germans who built settlements here. In the 8th century Islamic Moors invaded the Iberian Peninsula, it would take until the 11th century before they were expelled. At the beginning of the 12th century Portugal declared its independence. Many centuries of prosperity followed.

In the 15 th and 16 th the country grew into one of the largest shipping nations in the world. Some famous navigators from this period were Henry the Navigator, Bartolomeu Dias, Vasco da Gama and Pedro Álvares Cabral. During this period, the present countries of Brazil, French Guiana, Mozambique, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Principe, East Timor, and Macau were added to the Portuguese Empire. In addition, many dozens of villages, towns and areas along the African and Asian coast were added as Portuguese colonies. The best known of these is probably the coastal region of Goa in India. The current autonomous regions within Portugal Madeira and the Azores were also added during this period. Most of these countries regained their independence in 1975.

Today, Portugal is one of the poorest countries in Europe, but it is a very developed country with some excellent universities. The best known and largest university in the country with 22,000 students is the University of Coimbra. The tourism industry is now one of the country’s main sources of income. Most tourists here go to the coastal areas of the Algarve to enjoy a wonderful sun holiday in Portugal. Also striking is the fairly large number of golf holidays that are celebrated in the Algarve. The largest cities in the country, such as Porto and Lisbon, are very popular as a city trip.


Most tourists who come to Portugal for a longer period of time stay in the Algarve. However, it has much more to offer than just the beaches of this coastal region. If you rent a car in Portugal, you can discover the beautiful places that are often hidden from the masses. Think picturesque villages, archaeological sites and pieces of unspoilt nature.

Well-known cities such as Lisbon, Porto and Guimarães, for example, have a beautiful historic center. In addition, modern European cities are recommended as a city trip. Just outside Lisbon is the city of Sintra, where beautiful examples of Moorish culture can still be found. High above Sintra stands the beautiful Palácio da Pena on a hill. This castle was built in various styles and this gives it a coquettish appearance, especially the great diversity of towers on the castle provides a special sight.

When visiting the city of Porto, one should certainly not forget to visit a port house. Most of these port houses can be found in the Ribeira district. After a short tour of the port cellar, you can taste the different types of port here. In Lisbon, the Manuel-style tower of Belém is located in the Belém district. This tower was built in the 16th century to commemorate Vasco da Gama’s voyages of discovery. In the Algarve you will find the beach Praia da Marinha, which is considered the most beautiful beach in Portugal. It is mainly the beautiful rock formation that makes this beach unique.

The archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores are attractions in their own right. Madeira is very popular with walkers. The Azores are today a popular whale watching spot.


In total, Portugal has 14 inscriptions on the UNESCO World Heritage List, one of which is partly located in Spain. Two of these inscriptions are located on the archipelago of the Azores. In the Azores, the City Center of Angra do Heroísmo has been on the list since 1983, and in 2004 the landscape of wine culture on the island of Pico was added. In Portugal, the Hieronymite Monastery and Tower of Belém in Lisbon, the Monastery of Batalha and the Convent of Christ in Tomar were the first to be listed in 1983. In the following years, the historic center of Évora, the monastery of Alcobaça, the cultural landscape of Sintra, the historic center of Porto, the Laurisilva of Madeira, the wine region of Alto Douro and the historic center of Guimarães were added. In 2012, the Border Garrison Town of Elvas and its fortifications were added. The sites of prehistoric rock art in the Côa Valley and Siega Verde are located partly in Portugal and partly in Spain.


The vast majority of Portugal has a warm maritime climate, this also applies to Madeira and the Azores. However, the southernmost part of Portugal has a warm Mediterranean climate. Average temperatures here are slightly higher than in the more northern parts of the country. It is especially the summer months that are a bit warmer here, mainly due to the warm sea water that can be found in the Mediterranean. The other parts of Portugal are also anything but cold with average temperatures that are just 30 degrees Celsius in the summer months. The winters are a lot cooler with average temperatures around 15 degrees Celsius during the day. It is certainly not cold, but it is too cold to serve as a winter sun destination. Prolonged periods with frost and or night frost are almost never encountered here. Most precipitation falls here in the winter period. The southern part of Portugal, better known as the Algarve, is particularly dry in the summer. This can cause major forest fires here.

The average temperatures in the Azores are slightly lower in the summer months and slightly higher in the winter. However, the average precipitation here is much higher.

On Madeira, the average daytime temperature in the summer period is just above 20 degrees Celsius, which makes it a lot cooler than mainland Portugal. The precipitation figures are also a lot higher here, but this does not apply to all parts of the island. For example, it is much drier on the leeward side of the Pico Ruivo than on the windward side of this mountain.


Portugal is located in the southwesternmost part of Europe on the Iberian Peninsula and has Spain as its only neighbor. In addition to neighboring Spain, Portugal shares the Iberian Peninsula with the mini-state Andorra, the British territory of Gibraltar and a very small part of France. Portugal also includes the autonomous archipelago of the Azores and the autonomous island group of Madeira. The country mainly borders the Atlantic Ocean. Portugal is cut in half by the Tagus River, which rises in Spain and flows into the Atlantic Ocean near the capital Lisbon. Other major rivers in Portugal are the Douro, Minho and Guadiana which all originate in Spain and eventually flow through Portugal to the Atlantic Ocean. The highest point of the country with 2351 is the mountain Ponta do Pico that forms the island of Pico of the Azores. The highest mountain on the Portuguese mainland is the mountain Torre in the Serra Da Estrela mountain range in 1993. The highest point of Madeira is the mountain Pico Ruivo at 1,862 meters. In the past, the country was divided into 11 provinces, today it is divided into 18 districts and 2 autonomous regions.

Travel advice

Portugal has the status of “be vigilant”. This mainly applies to the Algarve and the larger cities of the country, because here tourists are regularly robbed on the street or in their holiday home. You can protect yourself against this by not being too flashy with your valuables and leaving your belongings in a safe. No vaccinations are required to visit the country, but it is wise if you are going to spend a lot of time in nature to take a tick remover with you.

Travel documents

Portugal has been part of the Schengen countries since 1992 and since 1995 residents of the other Schengen countries can travel freely to and from Portugal. However, as in the Netherlands, people are obliged to identify themselves, this also applies to children. There are severe penalties for possessing both soft and/or hard drugs, as well as trading them.

Info table

Capital city Lisbon
Phone (country code) 351
Internetdomein .pt
Language(s) (official) Portuguese in Mirandese
Language(s) (colloquial) Portuguese and to a lesser extent Mirandee
Religion(s) Roman Catholic
Time zone(s) UTC
Time difference summer In Portugal and Madeira it is 1 hour earlier than in the Netherlands, in the Azores it is 2 hours earlier
Time difference winter In Portugal and Madeira it is 1 hour earlier than in the Netherlands, in the Azores it is 2 hours earlier
Daylight Saving Time Control yes, this is the same as in the Netherlands
Currency euro