Portugal, officially called The Portuguese Republic.

The country is located in south-western Europe on the Iberian Peninsula (Spain, Portugal, Andorra and Gibraltar).

Portugal is boarded 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.

Continental Portugal is split in two by its main river, the Tagus. The highest point of Portugal is Mount Pico (2 351 above the sea level).

The Azores and Madeira are located in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge; some of the islands had recent volcanic activity. Originally two islands, São Miguel Island were joined by a volcanic eruption in 1563.

The Portuguese coast is 1860 km long (943 km in continental Portugal, 667 km in the Azores and 250 km in Madeira and in the Savage Islands).

The capital city of República Portuguesa is Lisbon (population: 609 000).

Portugal is a member of the European Union and its official currency is the Euro (EUR).

The population of Portugal is 10 623 032.

Portugal’s economy is based on industries such as textiles, clothing, and footwear. Major industries also include oil refineries, automotive, cement production, pulp and paper industry, and cork (of which Portugal is the world’s leading producer).

Export: Manufacturing accounts for 33% of exports. Portugal is the world’s fifth-largest producer of tungsten, and the world’s eighth-largest producer of wine (Port wine and Madeira wine are exported worldwide). Portugal has also a strong tradition in the fisheries sector and is one of the countries with the highest fish consumption per capita.

The vineyards that produce Port wine

The vineyards that produce Port wine - source

Import: Generally Portugal is developed country and its exportation of products is greater than the import. That is why it was difficult to find some examples of import. The principal import for Portugal is mainly gas, petrol, transportation – vehicles and food. Most imports come from the European Union countries of Spain, Germany, France, Italy and the United Kingdom.

Although unemployment is about 8% today, the number of unemployed people is increasing since 2000. As of May 2006, over 420,000 people were unemployed in Portugal.

The unemployment rate in the country was 7,7%. In 2007 the unemployment rate reached 8.4%, the highest unemployment rate in Portugal since 1987. The average European Union unemployment rate decreased to a record low of 7.3% in 2007.

On the other hand in the Portuguese sub-region of Vale do Ave, the unemployment rate has reached 15%, and in the Penísula de Setúbal sub-region 12.5%.

The average wage in Portugal is € 804.22 per month, and the minimum wage, which is regulated by law, is € 426 per month.

Portugal has the lowest per capita GDP in Western Europe and is among the lowest in the European Union. GDP per capita is 22,677 USD.

The governments are working to change Portugal’s economic development model from one based on public consumption and public investment to one focused on exports, private investment, and development of the high-tech sector.

The Global Competitiveness Report for 2005, published by the World Economic Forum, places Portugal on the 22nd position.

Research on standard of living ranks Portugal as the country with the 19th-best quality of life world-wide

The early history of Portugal, whose name derives from the Roman name Portus Cale, is shared with the rest of the Iberian Peninsula.

A Celtic tribe, the Lusitanians, is believed to have been the first inhabitants of Portugal. The Romans conquered the region in about 140 B.C. Toward the end of the Roman Empire; the Visigoths had invaded the entire Iberian Peninsula.

Portugal won its independence from Moorish Spain in 1143. King John I (1385–1433) unified his country at the expense of the Castilians and the Moors of Morocco. The expansion of Portugal was brilliantly coordinated by John’s son, Prince Henry the Navigator. By the middle of the 16th century, the Portuguese empire extended to West and East Africa, Brazil, Persia, Indochina, and the Malayan peninsula.

Henry and the navigators in the monument to the Portuguese discoveries

Henry and the navigators in the monument to the Portuguese discoveries - source

The corrupt King Carlos, who ascended the throne in 1889, made João Franco the prime minister with dictatorial power in 1906.

In 1908, Carlos and his heir were shot in the streets of Lisbon. The new king, Manoel II, was driven from the throne in the revolution of 1910, and Portugal became a French-style republic.

Revolution in 1926 brought Antonio de Oliveira Salazar (minister of finance and prime minister). Salazar ruled Portugal as a virtual dictator. He kept Portugal neutral in World War II but gave the Allies naval and air bases after 1943.

In fact, the bloodiest and most protracted wars against colonialism in Africa were fought against the Portuguese. Also in the early 1960s, independence movements in the Portuguese overseas provinces of Angola, Mozambique, and Portuguese Guinea, in Africa, resulted in the Portuguese Colonial War (1961-1974). In 1974, a bloodless left-wing military coup in Lisbon led the way for a modern democracy as well as the independence of the last colonies in Africa shortly after.

Portugal was a founding member of NATO, OECD and EFTA. In 1986, Portugal joined the European Union (then the European Economic Community). It is also a co-founder of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries.

Administrative divisions

Portugal has an administrative structure of 308 municipalities (the most stable subdivision of Portugal since the foundation of the country), which are subdivided into more than 4,000 parishes (secondary local administrative units). For continental Portugal the municipalities are gathered in 18 Districts, while the Islands have a Regional Government directly above them.

The European Union’s system of Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics is also used. According to this system, Portugal is divided into 7 regions:

Alentejo - 776,585 inhabitants, the region’s capital is Évora

Algarbe - capital is the city of Faro

Açores – population of 238, 767. Three are considered as capital cities: Ponta Delgada, Angra and Horta

Centro – 2,376,609 inhabitants. The capital city is Coimbra

Lisboa - 2,760,723 inhabitants. The capital city is Lisbon

Madeira - 244,286 inhabitants. The capital city is Funchal

Norte - 4,034,271 inhabitants. The capital is the city of Porto

These are subdivided into 30 sub regions.

Portugal is a democratic republic ruled by the constitution of 1976 with Lisbon. Four main governing components are the president of the republic, the assembly of the republic, the government, and the courts.

The Assembly of the Republic

The Assembly of the Republic - source

The constitution grants the division or separation of powers among legislative, executive, and judicial branches. Portugal like most European countries has no state religion.

The president, who is elected to a five-year term, has a supervising, non-executive role. The current President is Anìbal Cavaco Silvia (social democrat). The Assembly of the Republic is a unicameral (having only one legislative or parliamentary chamber) parliament composed of 230 deputies elected for four-year terms.

The government is headed by the Prime Minister (currently José Sócrates), who chooses the Council of Ministers, comprising all the ministers and the respective state secretaries.

The national and regional governments, and the Portuguese parliament, are dominated by two political parties, the Socialist Party [1]and the Social Democratic Party.

The courts are organized into categories, including judicial, administrative, and fiscal. The supreme courts are the courts of last appeal. A thirteen-member constitutional court oversees the constitutionality of legislation.

Last national elections 2005, next 2009

Last national elections 2005

Last European Parliament election June 2009 See: •,_2009_(Portugal)

Tourism is an important sector in the region’s economy since it contributes 20% to the region’s GDP, providing support throughout the year for commercial, transport and other activities and constituting a significant market for local products. The share in Gross Value Added of hotels and restaurants (9%) also highlights this phenomenon.

The island of Porto Santo, with its 9 km long beach and its climate, is totally devoted to tourism. Over the past decade it has recorded a substantial increase in its hotel accommodation capacity.

Porto Santo

Porto Santo - source

Development in Madeira is considered to have potential since the necessary infrastructure has been established and adequate investment incentives have been introduced for expanding its hotel and catering structure in a controlled manner. Conservation of its nature is important as it is one of tourists’ main reasons for visiting Madeira.

Tourism is also important at the mainland Portugal’s southernmost region of the Algarve archipelago. Activities related to tourism are extensive and make up the bulk of the Algarve’s summer economy.

Here are some guiding web pages dedicated to tourists:

Except of island tourism, there are also possibilities to visit the cities on the land. When I was browsing for these opportunities I found out that very interesting is Porto or Braga on the north; in the Centre Portugal it is Aveiro or Fátima. The most popular and interesting is the Lisbon’s coast, divided in Cascais Estroil, Costa Azul, Ericeira and Sintra.

Here is a helpful web site to check out and pick where you actually want to go. It also helps you to find accommodation:

The best source for booking the hotel or hostel for a very good deal is a web site of

Visitors are mainly from the European Union, with German, British, Scandinavian and Portuguese tourists providing the main contingents. The average annual occupancy rate was 57.4% in 2001, reaching its maximum in March and April, when it exceeds 70%.

Porto e Norte

Centro de Portugal

Lisboa region






Madeira - source

What’s good to visit? Historical cities Lisbon, Braga, Evora, Porto, Tomar, Leiria, monasteries Mafra, Batalze, Alcobaça, lime reefs Nazaré (pilgrimage point) and Serra de Arrábida, sandy coast Algarve and ports Lagos and Portim. - virtual tour - virtual tour – video - tourist in Portugal – Portugal video - Portugal photos – photo Portugal with islands - high quality photos - jobs search - jobs search - some video’s on the country - accommodation - cheap accommodation – accommodation – Portuguese hostels – more Portuguese hostels – rent a car - rent a car - cheap rent a car – Portugal festival videos, links, articles – Portuguese celebrities – education – culture life - about Portugal, wine, oil, habits - Portuguese universities – universities and colleges - Customs and Etiquette a Business – Portuguese weather - currency converter - news