Portugal: Sun-kissed, Colourful and Cosmopolitan

by | Apr 8, 2024 | Facts & Fun, Topstory | 0 comments

Portugal, the sun-kissed country on the west coast of the Iberian Peninsula, has more to offer than just breathtaking beaches and delicious port wine. We’ll tell you what you shouldn’t miss on your tour around the country.

You’ll experience the first special feature as soon as you enter the country. This is because you are travelling across the oldest unchanged national border in Europe. Nothing has changed there since the 13th century.


You’ll get far with Portuguese

Want to learn Portuguese because you are often travelling in Portugal? That’s a good idea, because it will take you pretty far: Portuguese is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. It is spoken by more than 234 million people.

Have you noticed all the cork oaks you drive past? Portugal is the world’s largest producer of cork. The forests help to maintain a sustainable cork industry.

Cork is an important export for the country. Photo: Adobe Stock


Quite alcoholic

What is all the cork for? For port wine from the Douro Valley region, for example. Treat yourself to a glass in the evening. But be careful: its sweetness is created because the natural fermentation is interrupted by the addition of grape spirit. However, this also increases the alcohol content to dangerous 20 per cent.

Portuguese cuisine offers an impressive variety. From bacalhau (codfish) to pastéis de nata (creamy puff pastry cakes). There are countless ways to prepare bacalhau alone. Whether baked, grilled, steamed or deep-fried – bacalhau is ubiquitous in Portugal and is enjoyed all year round. Portuguese cuisine is also famous for its spicy linguiça (Portuguese sausage). You don’t even have to drive to a town to enjoy the culinary highlights. Many restaurants at service stations along the motorway have them on their menus.


The melancholy of the capital

Portugal also has a rich artistic tradition, which is still reflected in people’s everyday lives today. This ranges from painted tiles and handmade ceramics to traditional music. Portugal is the homeland of fado, a melancholic musical genre characterized by feelings of longing and pain. You can’t escape these sounds when you stroll through the narrow streets of Lisbon in the evening.

The national capital is also home to the longest bridge in the EU: the Vasco da Gama Bridge stretches 17.2 kilometers across the River Tagus. Speaking of Vasco da Gama: the famous navigator who discovered the sea route to India is buried in Lisbon. His imposing monument stands on the banks of the Tagus.

The Vasco da Gama Bridge is the longest bridge in the EU. Photo: Adobe Stock


Portugal is also rich in UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These include the Belém Tower, the Hieronymite Monastery and the city centre of Oporto.

What’s barking there? Possibly a Portuguese water dog. The Portie is a native breed of dog that was traditionally used for fishing. Barack Obama owns a Portie called Bo.

What have you seen in Portugal? We are looking forward to your comment.


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Stefan Kohl

Stefan Kohl

Every word a hit – Stefan has been writing for more than 20 years about this industry


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