As the oldest nation in Europe, Portugal became a kingdom in 1139 and that lasted until the 1910 Revolution. After the 1910 Revolution, democracy was replaced by an authoritarian regime. In 1974, democracy was restored and living standards increased when the country became member of the European Union.
Today, Portugal is a highly developed country with good infrastructure, that makes it easy to get around to all the fantastic places, that still today is filled with historic buildings and an authentic and genuine lifestyle.
Weather and Climate
Best time to visit Portugal is from April to November.
The mild climate ensures, that you can visit Portugal all year round. Specially the two biggest cities, Lisbon and Porto.
Like in Spain, there is no winter, only a cold season. The cold season as well as the wet season spans from November to April.
The climatic conditions in Portugal are generally divided into three main groups with Atlantic climate in the coastal areas in the west, subtropical climate along the south coast and continental climate in the north and east with significant fluctuations between winter and summer temperatures.
In Lisbon, the average temperature in January is 11°C (52°F) and in July 24°C (75°F). Porto in January is 10°C (50°F) and in July 20°C (68°F). In the south, Faro in January is 12°C (54°F) and in July 24°C (75°F). In the north, Braganca in January is only 4°C (39°F) and in July 22°C (72°F).
Annual precipitation in Lisbon is about 750 mm. (30 in.), in Porto about 1.150 mm. (45 in.) and in to the south about 550 mm. (22 in.) in Faro.
Portugal is on the edge of the Iberian Peninsula.
The landscape is predominantly lowlands; only about 12% of the country occupy elevations above 700 metres (2.297 ft.). The river Tagus (Tajo) divides the country into a northern, mountainous part and a southern part with predominantly softly undulating terrain. The mountains are mainly located along the border against Spain; the height of the mountains is generally decreasing from north to south and from east to west. The highest mountain is Torre da Estrela with 1.993 metres (6.538 ft.) in the mountain range of Serra da Estrela.
A wealth of rivers rise in the mountainous region and almost every one has their outlet in the Atlantic, including Mondego, Vouga, Sado and Zêzere. Portugal’s largest rivers, the Tajo, Douro, Minho and Guadiana, however, have all their origin in Spain.
Located near a tectonically active zone has exposed the country to earthquakes, the worst in 1755, when Lisbon was destroyed, and about 40,000 people died.
5 things Portugal is known for, outside Portugal
- Vasco da Gama (Explorer, 1469-1524, first European to reach India by sea.)
- Cristiano Ronaldo (Football player, 1985-)
- Cork (Natural material, 50% of the worlds cork production)
- Fado (Music genre, Intangible Cultural Heritage list)
- Port wine (Fortified wine, Douro Valley)