Portugal is full of sunshine, sea and sand, with a lot more in between, from quaint villages and ancient churches to rolling hills and arid plains. Portugal is a place to explore at a leisurely pace, drinking in all of the sights and sounds of Portugal while taking time to appreciate the countryside and people.
Visitors and sun seekers have been flocking to Portugal for more than fifty years, since the upsurge in foreign holidays. Not only is Portugal beautiful, but the great weather makes it ideal to visit from early spring to late autumn.
Facts about Portugal
The coastline of Portugal is almost 1,800km long with all of it along the Atlantic Ocean. The whole of Portugal covers an area of 92,000 sq km and is the most south westerly country in Europe. Portugal shares a border with just one other country – Spain – and this is one of the longest and most established border in Europe.
For a relatively small country, Portugal has an amazingly diverse landscape with rivers, forests, arid areas, vast olive, orange and cork groves, and mountains. The main industry of Portugal is tourism though the majority of the population are involved in agriculture in some way.
During the 15th and 16th century, Portugal was one of the richest countries in the world, controlling a trading empire that stretched from Brazil to Macau in China. This was due to the discovery of a sea route from Portugal to India which started off the spice trade. Unfortunately the riches did not last and Portugal is now one of the EU’s poorest countries.
Some other information you may find useful prior to planning your trip to Portugal.
- Currency - Euro
- Capital - Lisbon
- Population - 10.56 million
- Official language - Portuguese
Things to see and do in Portugal
Some of our favourite things to do in Portugal are listed below, why not make your own list and perhaps add some of ours!
- Lisbon Oceanarium
- Belém Tower (also known as the Tower of Saint Vincent)
- Casa de Música - a wonderful concert hall in Porto
- Pena National Palace in Saó Pedro de Penaferrim
- Quinta da Regaleira - a Unesco World Heritage Site in Sinatra
- Try some golfing at Vale do Lobo (situated in the Algarve region)
- Jerónimos Monastery in Bélem
- Santa Justa lift - for some spectacular views of Lisbon
These are of course just some of the attractions on offer, prepare yourself for so much more!
The north and south of Portugal
Despite this, Portugal has so much to offer the visitor who comes for a few days or decides to stay for a month. Northern Portugal has a more conservative feel to it with the main produce of corn and potatoes being grown, while in the south a more Mediterranean laidback attitude pervades the lifestyle of the locals.
It is worth visiting both parts to get a real feel for Portugal and all the beauties it holds from Valenca, a fortified town in the north, to Olhao, a fishing port where you can hire a boat out to the sandbank islands.
Other delights in Portugal are the strangely beautiful rock formations within the largest cave system in Portugal at Grutas de Mira de Aire, a palace with 5,200 doors and 2,500 windows at Mafra, and Roman mosaics at Conimbriga.
There is one national park in Portugal called Parque Nacional da Peneda-Geres with dozens of hiking trails, and the Rio Douro valley is a spectacular place to explore by boat then sample some wines from the local vineyards.
Portugal is one country that seems to have it all so maybe it is time to find out for yourself. If you book flights to Portugal through BudgetAir, you are assured of cheap deals that will be among the best bargains to be found anywhere on the internet. Portugal is just a few clicks away so get booking with BudgetAir.