31 May Where even is Portugal? What is Portugal known for?
First, let’s locate ourselves: Portugal is that tiny rectangle in southwestern Europe. Surprisingly, we own more water than land (97% of the Portuguese territory is water) and that makes us the 111th largest nation in the world.
Portugal shares land borders with only one country; Spain. Even though we love each other, having foreigners lump both countries together, gets us a little (some people a lot) rattled. The both of us may form a peninsula, but we are very different countries.
As a mother views her child as the most beautiful and talented in the world, Portuguese people are usually very proud to say that their country is the best and the most beautiful too. And of course, we have our reasons to say so. Here are some of them:
Yes, we are tiny, but we somehow managed to “own” half of the world in the 16th Century, which became the Portuguese Empire. This was back in the day where people would arrive somewhere unknown and just say “this is mine” and that was that! There was no regard for native communities and the concept of ownership wasn’t what it is today.
This Portuguese golden age made possible, not only the expansion of Portugal as a territory, but also the scatter of the Portuguese language and culture throughout the world. Today, Portuguese is the 6th most spoken language in the world and most of its speakers live in former colonies from the time of the discoveries (Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, East Timor and Macau)
Here’s a subject that is very dear to every Portuguese’s heart and over which we’re ready to fight to the death (don’t worry it’s just a figure of speech, we are actually very peaceful). Portuguese cuisine is unique and exquisite, relying almost entirely on fresh ingredients. From the mountains in the North to the rolling hills of the South, Portugal has a wide range of culinary delights. We even have a bellow ground dish! The pan is buried in the ground of the beautiful Sao Miguel Island of Azores, which is a Vulcanic island, and the food is cooked for hours while buried.
It can be a challenge to drink with moderation when you have such delectable drinks. Portugal boasts 14 wine regions and each one has different kinds of wine. Last year (2018), 806 million hectoliters (17,729.49 gal) of wine were exported from Portugal out into the world. That is more than 32 thousand Olympic pools full of wine!
In every corner of every city in Portugal you can listen to some Portuguese music. From the most traditional Fado to folk, hip-hop and rock, we listen to and sing a little bit of everything. We have music to sooth you when you’re felling melancholy, happy, outraged, pensive, in love, … Well, anything.
We are always very proud to announce that we have, more or less, 340 days of sun per year. Our climatic conditions are sublime, never unreasonably cold and never unbearably hot. Always just right, with a nice ocean breeze.
As a coastal country, nearly half of our border is shared with the Atlantic Ocean. Between the mainland, the Azores, and Madeira archipelago, there’s a plethora of sandy shores, rocky cliffs, and remarkable views to pick from. Here’s 10 of them (believe me, there’s a lot more than ten) to pique your interest and get you inspired: click here.
In Portugal, you can’t talk about the beach without having your mind drifting away towards surfing. Tempered by tailwinds and lots of sun all year, Portugal provides a unique experience for surfers, bodyboarders, windsurfers, kite surfers and other water sports. The Atlantic waves can spike your adrenaline levels in a few seconds. We even have the Guinness World Record for the biggest wave ever surfed, by Rodrigo Koxa.
The two unique beauties in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean: Azores and Madeira. The islands of Azores have mist-wreathed volcanoes, spooky lava tubes, jewel-colored crater lakes and forests with a unique smell and colors. The Portuguese archipelago of Madeira feels like a mythical place. It feels almost unreal to be surrounded by such gorgeous and stunning landscapes. And all the highlights we wrote about before; food, wine, weather, beaches and surf, can be found in these beautiful slices of paradise in the middle of the ocean.
We could keep going, and tell you more about this beautiful and cozy country, but it would seem just too unbecoming, given that the Portuguese take such pride in being as modest as their country if fair.
We hope you learnt something new about our country and you’re interested in finding out more information here.