We've compiled a list of 20 fun facts about Portugal that will absolutely surprise you (well, we did!).
Portugal is a fascinating country with a proud history that can be felt throughout the country; from its capital to every tiny, picturesque village.
I've been living in Portugal for about a year now and I've learned a lot of fascinating facts about this enchanting country that I'd like to share with you. Whatever the situation, below are 20 facts that will impress anyone about Portugal.
What makes Portugal unique?
Here are 20 interesting facts about Portugal that can explain why this country is a unique and charming destination for tourists around the world.
Portugal Historical Facts
1. Portugal is one of the oldest nation states in Europe
Believe it or not, Portugal was first established as a country in the 12th century, making it one of the oldest nations in Europe. Overall, it had one of the oldest running empires, spanning almost six centuries within the country's borders, unchanged since 1139.
Outstanding right? I guess you didn't expect that.
See alsoAll about Portugal.
2. The capital of Portugal is also one of the oldest cities in Western Europe.
Not only is Portugal the oldest nation in Europe, Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is also the oldest city in Western Europe and other cities such as London, Paris and Rome.
The city of Lisbon is a fantastic destination with narrow cobblestone streets, tram rides and stunning coastal views making it an ideal place to explore. It's also a great city for young people with the best hip spots like the famous Bairro Alto.
3. Lisbon was hit by one of the strongest earthquakes in European history.
Well, that's not one of the interesting facts about Portugal.
Creepy but true!
Beautiful Lisbon was hit by a massive earthquake in November 1755, followed by a tsunami and fires that reduced the city to rubble. This happened on All Saints' Day, an important holiday when churches are filled with lit candles.
When the earthquake struck, it started large fires with the candles.275,000 people were killed and 85% of the buildings destroyed.
And people still talk about the devastating earthquake today.
Also check oursGuide to visit Lisbon(Weather, activities and much more.)
4. Portugal owned half of the “New World”.
Another interesting fact about Portugal is that Portugal owned half of the "New World".
That's right folks.
1494,Portugal and Spain divided the worldin two by signing the Treaty of Tordesillas, which essentially gave Portugal the eastern half of the "New World", including countries such as Brazil, Africa and Asia.
The Portuguese Empire was actually the best global empire in history and one of the longest-lived colonial powers, lasting almost six centuries until Macau (now part of China) was handed over in 1999.
If you enjoy the content so far make sure you stick with it, I'm sure fact #17 will surprise you too.
Language facts about Portugal
5. Portuguese is the official language of 9 countries.
One thing that might surprise you is that the Portuguese language is spoken by over 236 million people worldwide, including 210 million local people.
It is the 8th most spoken language in the world and the official language of 9 countries including Portugal (of course), Brazil, Cape Verde, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Principe, Sao Tome and Equatorial Guinea.
So if you are looking for a new language to learn, Portuguese might be a good option. See the hereessential phrases in Portugueseyou should study
Amazing facts about Portugal
6. Portugal and England are very old friends.
This is definitely one of the most amazing facts about Portugal.
The Anglo-Portuguese Alliance was signed in 1373 and is still in effect today.
Did you know that?
Both countries entered wars to defend each other including the United Kingdom entering the Iberian Peninsula War and Portugal entering World War I. It seems the Portuguese and British have long since turned their backs on each other!
7. Portugal has one of the oldest universities in Europe.
Founded in 1920, the University of Coimbra is one of the oldest universities on the continent. It is Portugal's oldest and most important. Located in the historic city of Coimbra,The university hosts over 21,000 students, 10% of which are international students, making it one of the most international universities in Portugal and giving the city a cosmopolitan feel.
An interesting fact about Portugal and this university is that it was also the only Portuguese-speaking university in the world until the early 20th century.
Study in Portugal: See what you need to know.
UNESCO World Heritage Site
The 16th-century campus, built on the site of a former palace, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
8. The oldest functioning bookshop in the world is in Portugal.
This is a very random fact about Portugal.
Who could imagine that the oldest bookshop in the world is in Portugal?
Yes, it is true.
TheBertrand Bookstore in Lisbon is the oldest bookstore in the worldand opened in 1732. This quirky little shop is 283 years old. You can find this piece of history in Lisbon's Chiado, where it still stands. There are around 50 branches of the bookshop throughout Portugal. If you're nearby, why not check out the colorful mosaic tiled facade!
Meanwhile, you can also check ours25 things to do in Lisbon.
9. Portugal has the longest bridge in Europe.
Another interesting fact about Portugal.
Have you ever walked over a bridge and thought, "Wow, that feels like forever!"
Well, Portugal is not only the oldest nation but also has the longest bridge in all of Europe. The six-lane cable-stayed Vasco da Gama Bridge, which crosses the Tagus River north of Lisbon, opened in 1998 and is 10.7 miles long (that's almost 18 km!).
Food facts about Portugal:
10. Port wine is Portugal's most famous export and its national drink
If you like the delicious sweet fortified port wine, this drink is a popular tradition for many on special occasions.
The sweetness is produced by adding grape brandy or brandy to the wine before the end of fermentation. The wine then ages in oak barrels or steel vats for two to six years before being bottled.
Port wine grapes are only grown on the terraced slopes of the Douro Valley near Porto, which is one of the oldest wine-growing regions in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
So cheers to Portugal!
11. Piri Piri is from Portugal.
ForgetNandos…. If you like hot and spicy, why not head to Portugal to try the original piri piri sauce? There are several cafes and restaurants in the area that servePiri Piri chicken. And it's pretty tasty too, a burn you won't regret!
Actually for those who want itVisit the Algarve, know you can get the best “chicken with piri piri sauce” in Guia, Algarve. This is a "well kept secret" of the Portuguese community.
The small village of Guia is famous for having a relatively large number of restaurants focused on "Piri Piri chicken“. For example,D.Teodósio RestaurantClaims to be the "Chicken King", with over 380 and chicken served every 30 seconds. (Advice go early, it gets crowded quickly in the summer peak).
12. Portugal has had a major impact on world cuisine.
Yes, another interesting fact about Portugal is its influence on world cuisine.
Portuguese missionaries invented Japanese tempura, a dish of breaded, fried vegetables and seafood. Not only did they invent piri piri and tempura, the Portuguese also brought chili, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes to India and Thailand.
Let's just say that Curry wouldn't exist without her.
Sports facts about Portugal:
13. Football icon Cristiano Ronaldo is Portuguese.
Yes, this soccer superstar was born Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro in 1985 in Funchal, the capital of the autonomous regions of Madeira. He is a professional soccer player, plays as a forward for the Italian club Juventus and is captain of the Portuguese national team.
14. The biggest wave ever surfed was in Portugal.
An underwater canyon in the area makes this part of the Portuguese coast the largest wave generator in the world. In February 2011, Hawaiian surfer Garrett McNamara rode a huge 25-metre wave off the coast of Nazaré in Portugal - and set a new world record.
Interesting facts about Portugal:
15. Portugal is the westernmost point of Europe.
Here, where the land ends and the sea begins, you will find Cabo da Roca (Cape Roca), the westernmost point of continental Europe. It's about a 40-minute drive from Lisbon and about halfway on the Sintra-Cascais road. The site is open to visitors and offers stunning views of the sea and the Serra de Sintra. You'll also find a lighthouse, a memorial stone with words by Camoes, and a gift shop.
16. It's the land of tiles.
Portugal is known as the land of tiles. The Portuguese have long adorned their walls and floors with tiles.
You can find tiles decorated on houses, restaurants and small streets.
To learn more about the history and artistic development of Portuguese tiles from the earliest times to the present day, you can also visit the National Museum of Tiles in Lisbon and read our article with everything you need to knowportuguese tiles.
17. The Portuguese are fatalists.
Fatalism is an essential feature of Portuguese culture. One of the most obvious expressions of this is the traditional music fado. Fado (Portuguese for fate) is a musical genre that originated in urban Lisbon.
It's a type of heart-touching folk music sung by Portuguese artists, characterized by sad melodies and lyrics, often about the sea or the lives of the poor. The music genre was recently inscribed on the World Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
Discover more facts aboutFall in Lisbon.
18. The colors of the Portuguese flag have important messages
ThePortuguese flagwas designed by national artists. The colors represent significant messages, with green symbolizing hope for the future and red demonstrating bloodshed during battles. However, the shield represents the nation's victories in battles with the Moors.
19. Portugal is the largest cork producer in the world.
Yes, that's right! The country produces almost 100,000 tons of cork every year, which is then processed into bottle caps and thermal insulation for houses, among other things. The main importers of Portuguese cork are countries such as Germany, Great Britain and the USA.
20. The sun is (almost) always shining!
In Europa,Portugal weatheris hot overall and is known to have the most hours of sunshine in Europe.
With sometimes almost 300 days of sunshine a year, you can enjoy over 3000 hours of sunshine a year. It is the perfect holiday destination for both summer and winter sun. So if you are planning to skip your winter and go on holiday to Portugal, check out the villas and apartments here.
If you liked this article, you can see moreFacts about Portugal.
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