Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports... all others are games.
— Ernest Hemingway, 1899 - 1961
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Portugal

Background

Portugal

Following its heyday as a global maritime power during the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal lost much of its wealth and status with the destruction of Lisbon in a 1755 earthquake, occupation during the Napoleonic Wars, and the independence of its wealthiest colony of Brazil in 1822. A 1910 revolution deposed the monarchy; for most of the next six decades, repressive governments ran the country. In 1974, a left-wing military coup installed broad democratic reforms. The following year, Portugal granted independence to all of its African colonies. Portugal is a founding member of NATO and entered the EC (now the EU) in 1986. In January 2011, Portugal assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2011-12 term.

About

Portugal , in Southern Europe, shares the Iberian peninsula at the western tip of Europe with Spain. Geographically and culturally somewhat isolated from its neighbor, Portugal has a rich, unique culture, lively cities and beautiful countryside. Although it was once one of the poorest countries in Western Europe, the end of dictatorship and introduction of Democracy in 1974, as well as its incorporation into the European Union in 1986, has meant significantly increased prosperity. However it may be one of the best value destinations on the Continent. This is because the country offers outstanding landscape diversity, due to its North-South disposition along the western shore of the Iberian peninsula. You can travel in a single day from green mountains in the North, covered with vines and all varieties of trees to rocky mountains, with spectacular slopes and falls in the Centre, to a near-desert landscape in the Alentejo region and finally to the glamorous beach holidays destination Algarve. The climate, combined with investments in the golfing infrastructure in recent years, has also turned the country into a golfing haven. Portugal was recently named "Best Golf Destination 2008" by readers of Golfers Today, a British publication. Fourteen of Portugal's courses are rated in the top 100 best in Europe. If you want a condensed view of European landscapes, culture and way of life, Portugal might very well fit the bill.

Read more about Portugal in our Portugal travel guide »

Featured journals from

Portugal

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by gauravks

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Mar 2011 - May 2011  »  Switzerland | Portugal | Italy

Featured hotels in

Portugal

PortugalReal Marina Hotel & Spa 

Av. 5 de Outubro, 1
Olhao 8700
Portugal

Price (US$): $93 - $146 / night

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Location. Located in central Olhao, Real Marina Hotel & Spa is near the airport and close to Olhao Municipal Market, Olhao Harbour, and Ilha da Culatra. Additional points of interest include Ilha da Culatra Beach. Hotel Features. Dining options at Real Marina Hotel & Spa include 2 restaurants. A poolside bar and a bar/lounge are open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool, an indoor pool, a children's pool, a health club, and a… more »

PortugalPousada de Guimaraes - Santa Marinha 

Largo Domingos Leite de Castro
Guimaraes 4810-011
Portugal

Price (US$): $207 - $265 / night

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Location. Located in Guimaraes, Pousada de Guimaraes Santa Marinha is in the historical district and close to Santa Marinha da Costa, Paco dos Duques de Braganca, and Guimaraes Castle. Nearby points of interest also include Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira and Largo da Oliveira. Property Features. Pousada de Guimaraes Santa Marinha features a restaurant and a bar/lounge. Room service is available during limited hours. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool. This 5 star property… more »

PortugalVale do Lobo Resort 

Vale Do Lobo
Almancil 8137
Portugal

Price (US$): $97 - $297 / night

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Location. Vale do Lobo Resort is located on the beach in Almancil's Vale do Lobo neighborhood, close to Royal Golf Course Vale do Lobo, Vale do Lobo Beach, and Ocean Golf Course Vale do Lobo. Other points of interest near this luxury resort include Trafal Beach and Garrao Beach. Resort Features. In addition to 15 restaurants, Vale do Lobo Resort offers a coffee shop/café and a grocery. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Recreational amenities include a golf course. Also located on site are a… more »

PortugalFontecruz Lisboa, Autograph Collection 

Avda.Liberdade 138-142
Lisbon 1250-147
Portugal

Price (US$): $181 - $215 / night

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Location. Fontecruz Lisboa, Autograph Collection is located in Lisbon's Liberty Avenue neighborhood, close to Botanical Garden, Rossio Square, and Santa Justa Elevator. Nearby points of interest also include Castle of Sao Jorge and Lisbon Cathedral. Hotel Features. Fontecruz Lisboa, Autograph Collection features tour/ticket assistance. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available. Guestrooms. 72 guestrooms at Fontecruz Lisboa, Autograph Collection feature air conditioning.… more »

PortugalVilalara Thalassa Resort 

Praia Das Gaivotas
Armacao de Pera 8400-450
Portugal

Price (US$): $278 - $311 / night

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Location. Vilalara Thalassa Resort is located on the beach in Armacao de Pera's Porches neighborhood, close to Porches Castle, Praia da Senhora da Rocha, and Praia Vale do Olival. Other points of interest near this luxury hotel include Albandeira Beach and Fisherman's Beach Armacao de Pera. Hotel Features. Vilalara Thalassa Resort's restaurant serves breakfast and lunch. A poolside bar and a bar/lounge are open for drinks. Room service is available during limited hours. Recreational… more »

Browse more hotels in Portugal »

Portugal

Full name
Portuguese Republic
Capital
Lisbon
Location

Southwestern Europe, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Spain

Geographic coordinates

39 30 N, 8 00 W

Area comparative

slightly smaller than Indiana

Border countries

Spain 1,214 km

Coastline

1,793 km

Climate

maritime temperate; cool and rainy in north, warmer and drier in south

Terrain

mountainous north of the Tagus River, rolling plains in south

Lowest point

Atlantic Ocean 0 m

Highest point

Ponta do Pico (Pico or Pico Alto) on Ilha do Pico in the Azores 2,351 m

Natural resources

fish, forests (cork), iron ore, copper, zinc, tin, tungsten, silver, gold, uranium, marble, clay, gypsum, salt, arable land, hydropower

Population

10,735,765 (July 2010 est.)

Ethnic groups

homogeneous Mediterranean stock; citizens of black African descent who immigrated to mainland during decolonization number less than 100,000; since 1990 East Europeans have entered Portugal

Religions

Roman Catholic 84.5%, other Christian 2.2%, other 0.3%, unknown 9%, none 3.9% (2001 census)

Languages

Portuguese (official), Mirandese (official - but locally used)

Government type

republic; parliamentary democracy

Independence

1143 (Kingdom of Portugal recognized); 5 October 1910 (republic proclaimed)

National holiday

Portugal Day (Dia de Portugal), 10 June (1580); note - also called Camoes Day, the day that revered national poet Luis de Camoes (1524-80) died

Chief of state

President Anibal CAVACO SILVA (since 9 March 2006)

Head of government

Prime Minister Jose SOCRATES Carvalho Pinto de Sousa (since 12 March 2005)

Internet country code

.pt

Internet users

5.168 million (2009)

Airports

65 (2010)

Ports and terminals

Leixoes, Lisbon, Setubal, Sines

Other countries in the region