FACTS & STATS
Positioned in the far south-west of Europe, Portugal borders Spain along its eastern and northern sides, and looks out across the Atlantic to the west and south. With a rich cultural heritage, and a landscape that includes lush mountains, sun-kissed plains and mile after mile of stunning beaches, Portugal and Portugal360 offers a warm welcome to visitors from around the world.
Population: 10.3 million (2002)
Area: 92,212 km²
Religion: Roman Catholicism (81%)
International dialling code: +351
Main cities: Lisbon, Porto, Coimbra, Setúbal, Aveiro, Braga, Fátima
Key industries: Agriculture, fishing, tourism
EU Member: Yes, since 1986 (it is also a member of the Schengen Area)
The country is divided into several provinces, each with its own unique landscape and character. In the north, the Minho is verdant and relatively developed, whilst neighbouring Trás-os-Montes is much wilder and less frequently visited by tourists. Below this area is Porto and the Rio Douro region, where the country’s production of port wine is centred. The Beira Alta, Beira Baixa and Beira Litoral regions form a huge chunk of central Portugal, from the coast to the Spanish border, and include such charming places as Coimbra and Castelo Branco. Estremadura and the Ribatejo are home to some of Portugal’s most historic buildings and architecture. Lisbon itself is one of the most appealing capitals in Europe, and a must-see destination. The Alentejo is a huge region, covering almost a third of the entire country, and it is home to Portugal’s cork and wheat fields, as well as the one of the best vineyards in Europe for mile upon mile. Finally, the Algarve is Portugal’s holiday hot-spot, thanks to its year-round warm and sunny climate, and miles of safe, sandy beaches.