If you’re a football fan, probably the first thing that pops into your mind when you think of Portugal is Cristiano Ronaldo! But, if you enjoy a glass of wine then you’ll imagine a bottle of Port Wine.
Portugal can fulfill every visitor’s dreams and desires. It’s a special country full of character, rich history, and traditions all shaped and ready to welcome millions of tourists worldwide. With its colourful cities, picture-perfect villages, and nearly 500 miles of scenic coastline, it’s quite understandable why so many tourists are drawn to the country. Here are 48 interesting facts about Portugal…
Portugalis a major tourist destination in Southern Europe.
It is bordered only by Spain to the north and east. It also has a coastline along the Gulf of Cadiz to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the west.
The coordinates for Portugal are 38.7000° N, 9.8133° W.
The terrain here is mostly mountainous in the north, whilst the south features lovely rolling plains.
The total land area of Portugal is 35,655 square miles (92,345 square kilometres).
According to the UN, Portugal’s 2020 population is estimated at 10,196,709 people.
This makes Portugal’s population equal to 0.13% of the total world population.
In 2008 Portugal became the first country in the world to make it compulsory for its citizens to have fingerprints on their ID cards.
The capital is Lisbon which covers an area of 32.7 square miles (84.8 square kilometres) and has a population of 504,718 (2016).
Founded in 1143, Portugal is one of the oldest nations in Europe!
One of the most powerful earthquakes in European history struck Lisbon on the 1st of November, 1755. The quake was followed by a tsunami and fires that left the city in ruins.
The oldest diplomatic alliance in the world exists between Portugal and England.
Signed in 1373, the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance is still together to this day.
In the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal was at the lead of European exploration.
Some of the world’s first explorers, such as Ferdinand Magellan who circled the globe, Vasco de Gama who found the sea route to India, and Bartholomew Diaz who was the first to sail around the southern tip of Africa, were born in Portugal.
The first Europeans to reach Japan were the Portuguese in the 16th century, leaving their linguistic mark in Asia.
Alfonso I Henriques, the first king of Portugal, came to rule in 1143 and the country remained a kingdom for the next 800 years up until 1910 when it became a republic.
Rossio, Lisbon, Portugal
Once half of the “New World” belonged to Portugal.
The Treaty of Tordesillas basically gave Portugal the eastern half of the “New Word”, which included Brazil, Africa, and Asia.
The University of Coimbra was established by Portuguese academics in 1290, making it one of the oldest universities in the world.
In 2013 the University of Coimbra achieved UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
The Portuguese enjoy a maritime temperate climate, with the north generally cool and rainy whilst the south is warmer and drier.
Fado is a Portuguese music genre that started in urban Lisbon sometime before 1820.
Fado is a sad and heart-touching style of folk music typically sung by common people and passed on through generations.
University of Coimbra
Portuguese shoes walk the world and parade at some of the biggest stages. Rihanna’s shoe assortment for her River Island collection was produced in Portugal. The royal sister, Pippa Middleton, and her mother, both wore Portuguese made shoes for the royal wedding.
The Portuguese footwear industry with its stylishness is signified as the sexiest industry in Europe.
A surfer’s paradise, it is often said that Portugal boasts 364 days a year of surf!
Some of the largest and best waves in the world can be seen off the coast of Portugal, at Nazaré.
Portugal is also home to the largest artificial underwater park and reef in Europe, the Ocean Revival Underwater Park.
The official language of Portugal is… Portuguese,of course!
Euro is the official currency here.
Football is the most popular sport in Portugal, and has a long history in the country.
English merchants and Portuguese students arriving back home from studying in England introduced football to Portugal, back in 1875.
Apparently, the Portuguese eat more fish and shellfish per capita than any other nation!
More than half of the world’s cork is grown here!
In fact, Portugal is the biggest producer of cork products in the world.
Port Wine is produced solely in Portugal’s UNESCO-listed Douro Valley. Douro Valley is the third-oldest preserved wine region in the world.
One of the world’s smallest bookshops is located in Lisbon – at a mere 3.8 square metres the shop owner often has to stand outside when customers come in! Despite its small stature this Tardis of a bookshop is said to boast around 4,000 books!
Founded in 1732, Bertrand in Lisbon is the oldest operating bookstore in the world.
The original Bertrand bookstore was destroyed in an earthquake in 1755, but was rebuilt in its current location in 1773.
One of the most beautiful bookstores, Lello is situated in Porto. Chosen as the third most beautiful bookstore in the world it’s believed that it has been an inspiration for Harry Potter’s Hogwarts.
The Vasco da Gama Bridge, Lisbon
At an incredible 10.6 miles (17.2 km) long, the Vasco da Gama bridge in Lisbon is the longest bridge in Europe!
Portugal also boasts the first ever commercial wave farm, which uses the power of the Atlantic Ocean to harvest electricity!
Portugal invests heavily in renewable energy. In 2016 Portugal ran for almost five consecutive days entirely on renewable energy powered by wind, sun, and water. Impressive right!
Portugal grows potatoes, grains, olives and grapes, rears sheep and catches fish.
Its industry consists of tourism, wood pulp, paper, cork, metalworking, textiles and footwear.
Portugal also exports clothing and footwear, chemicals, machinery, cork, paper products and hides.
Do you have any interesting or fun facts about Portugal that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!