Calling code: +351
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Portugal is a European country in the west of the
Iberian Peninsula. As the westernmost point of continental Europe,
the country is bordered by Spain to the east and north and the
Atlantic Ocean to the west and south. The islands of the Azores and
Madeira (with Porto Santo) belong to the Portuguese national
The Kingdom of Portugal, founded in the 12th century, initiated the Age of Discoveries in the 15th century and rose to become the first global empire. The kingdom created the first and one of the largest colonial empires with possessions in Africa, Asia and South America, the decline of which was heralded in the course of the 17th century. In 1910, a military uprising overthrew the Portuguese monarchy, forcing King Manuel II into exile. The First Portuguese Republic came into force on October 5, 1910 and lasted until General Gomes da Costa's military coup in 1926. After that, the country was under the authoritarian dictatorship of António de Oliveira Salazar for more than 40 years. The Carnation Revolution of April 25, 1974 led to the overthrow of the regime and opened the way to the democratic Third Republic. It also heralded the end of the longest-standing colonial empire, which was dissolved in 1975.
Portugal is a founding member of NATO (1949) and the OECD (1948) and a member of the United Nations (since 1955), the Council of Europe (since 1976) and the Schengen Agreements (since 1995). On January 1, 1986, Portugal joined the European Communities (EC) together with Spain, which later became the EU, and is also one of the founding members of the euro zone.
Portugal has long been a country of emigration; important centers of Portuguese culture in the diaspora are now in France and the United States (each home to about 1 to 2 million Portuguese), as well as in Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Switzerland and Luxembourg. The most important bilateral partner countries are Brazil and Spain.
Tourism is an important source of income. With 17 million tourists per year (2015), Portugal is one of the most visited countries in the world, with the Algarve and the region around the capital Lisbon being the most frequent destinations. The country is known for wine growing, particularly for port wine, and is the world's most important producer of raw cork.
Portugal is a very safe country, in 2022 it was ranked sixth on the Global Peace Index. The United Nations Development Program ranks Portugal among the countries with a very high level of human development. Despite its comparatively conservative, Catholic society, the traditionally cosmopolitan country has now developed into a very liberal country, which can be seen, for example, in Portugal's liberal drug policy, introduced in 2001 and internationally recognized, or the comparatively progressive situation of homosexuality in Portugal. Full same-sex marriage was legalized in Portugal in 2010. Portugal, which is free of nuclear power, has already advanced its energy transition comparatively far. The country now covers almost two thirds of its energy requirements from renewable energies (as of July 2021), in November 2021 the last two coal-fired power plants in the country were shut down and green hydrogen or electricity from gas will be generated there in the future. The country wants to be climate-neutral by 2050. In 2020, the Portuguese capital Lisbon was named the European Green Capital.
North (Douro Litoral,
Minho, Trás-os-Montes e Alto
The North has the most monuments in the country, including some of the oldest. It is considered the birthplace of the nation and includes the country's first capital, Guimarães, the city of Braga, known as the city of the Archbishops and the second most important Portuguese city, Porto.
Center-North (Beira Alta, Beira Baixa, Beira Litoral)
It is also a very historic region of the country, which attracts people from all over the country to Serra da Estrela, the only point in the country where there are resorts and ski slopes in winter. It includes Fátima, a worldwide pilgrimage destination, and Coimbra, famous worldwide for its university, is the city of knowledge.
Center-South (Estremadura — Greater Lisbon, Oeste, Setúbal Peninsula; Ribatejo, Alto Alentejo)
This is the heart of the country, including the capital and some of the most fabulous beaches in the country, such as São Pedro de Moel and Nazaré, among others. It includes Lisbon, the political, cultural and economic center of the country, Évora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the bullfighting region of Santarém.
South (Baixo Alentejo, Algarve)
Tourist region par excellence, the Algarve and its beaches are the main attraction of this region and the country. In addition to the beaches, it also includes the historic cities of Beja, Tavira and Faro, the Fortress of Sagres and the Badoca Safari Park in Santiago do Cacém, a piece of Africa in Europe.
Autonomous region overseas. In the Azores, the city of Angra do Heroísmo is a charming historic Azorean town, and Lagoa das Sete Cidades, the visiting card of the Azores.
Autonomous region overseas. The beautiful island of Madeira, with its cliffs leading down to the Atlantic Ocean and its famous fireworks display to celebrate New Year's Eve.
Lisbon is the largest city in Portugal and also the capital of the country. It numbers over half a million in population and covers a large area, however its historic centre is what usually draws thousands of tourists here.
Braga, the third Portuguese
Aveiro, the Portuguese Venice
Coimbra, city of students
Évora, world heritage city
Faro, tourist center of Portugal
Porto, the undefeated city and the second city in the country in terms of importance
Viana do Castelo, where the biggest pilgrimage in the country takes place
Santarém, city with history and crossed by the Tagus river and the city of bullfights
Guimarães, "cradle city", first capital of the country with a well-preserved historic center and world heritage
Alcobaça Monastery is a Roman Catholic abbey situated in Alcobaça, Leiria District. It was found in 1153 by Afonso I Henriques.
Medieval Almourol Castle in Vila Nova de Barquinha parish was constructed on a site of an ancient Roman citadel.
Arraiolos Castle is a round medieval citadel in a city of Arraiolos, Évora District in Portugal.
Catholic Batalha Monastery or Mosteiro Santa Maria da Vitória was constructed to commemorate Portuguese victory over its enemies.
Conímbriga is the largest and most sophisticated Ancient Roman settlement in Portugal. It is situated 2 km South of Condeixa- a- Nova.
Convent of the Order of Christ in Tomar is a Catholic abbey that was originally constructed as a castle for Templar knights.
Medieval Evoramonte Castle became famous as a signing site that ended a Portugues Civil War in the 19th century.
The Monserrate Palace is a former palatial villa located near a town of Sintra in Portugal. It was build in 1858 for English baronet Sir Francis Cook.
Mosteiro dos Jeronimos is one of the largest religious complexes of Roman Catholic Church in Lisbon and certainly one of the most visited one.
Close proximity of Sintra National Palace to Lisbon and its designation as an World Heritage Site makes it one of the most visited tourist destinations in Portugal.
Medieval Palmela Castle is a former Araba fortress that saw actions for most of its long history till it was badly damaged by an earthquake.
Pena National Palace is without a doubt one of the most picturesque and unique residence in Portugal and all of Europe.
Queluz National Palace is a magnificent 18th century Portuguese estate in Queluz, Lisbon District.
Medieval Sabugal Castle was constructed in the 13th century on a hill overlooking crossing of Côa river.
New Year - January 1;
Carnival Tuesday - February/March, the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent;
Good Friday - March/April, Friday in Holy Week;
Freedom Day - April 25, the anniversary of the 1974 revolution;
Labor Day - May 1;
Feast of Corpus Christi - May / June, the ninth Thursday after Easter;
Portugal Day - June 10;
Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin - August 15;
Republic Day - October 5, the anniversary of the proclamation in 1910 of the Republic of Portugal;
All Saints Day - November 1;
Independence Day - December 1, the anniversary of the declaration of independence from Spain in 1640;
Feast of the Immaculate Conception - December 8;
Christmas - December 25
The arrival is usually via Spain. Important is information about the Portuguese toll system (see below). Most navigation systems recognize toll routes that are better avoided.
You can arrive from all major airports with a scheduled flight (TAP, Lufthansa, British Airways, Air France, etc.) to Porto or Lisbon and for the Algarve with a charter flight (Condor etc.) to Faro. Bragança in northern Portugal can be reached via Paris. The national airline is called TAP (Transportes Aereos Portugueses). Madeira and the Azores also have international airports.
The Portuguese railway network is operated by the Comboios de Portugal (CP). Portugal shares the Iberian broad gauge (1668 mm) with Spain. Plans to continue the sections of high-speed standard-gauge routes that have already been built in Spain have been on hold since the financial crisis. And with it the possibility of running trains from Central Europe to Portugal.
There are few connecting routes to and from Spain with just a few trains. From the east, a route from Madrid and Salamanca leads to Coimbra, where it meets the main Portuguese route in a north-south direction. Border station is Vilar Formoso. From Galicia in northern Spain there is one train in the morning and one in the evening from Vigo to Porto, which takes 2h 15' for the approx. 150 km long route. Vigo is the terminus of some long-distance Spanish connections, including those from Barcelona.
Linha do Algarve is the railway line from Lagos via Faro to Vila Real de Santo António. The route from Lisbon meets this east-west line in Faro. There is no longer a railway line to or from Seville in Spain. This gap can only be bridged by taxi or the (there are numerous) buses.
AS A. Spain / Portugal.
Auto Res. Spain / Portugal.
You can reach Portugal directly with several shipping companies. Be it from Genoa, Tenerife or from the USA.
Roads are generally in good condition. All major cities can be easily reached via motorways or trunk roads. The largest cities all have freeway connections (mostly toll) and you can also use the full length of the freeway from north to south. However, some secondary roads are in poor condition, which can make them dangerous if you are not careful.
You can go everywhere by car. There is a motorway (A2/ A1) from Faro to Porto. The A2 leads to Lisbon, then you have to take the A1 to Porto if the destination is Porto or similar. Since 2005 it has been possible to take the motorway from Porto to Vilar Formoso on the Spanish border. This route is about 300 kilometers long. Both the "Ponte 25 Abril" bridge and the "Vasco da Gama" bridge next to the former Expo site are also worth a tourist crossing. Almost all motorways are toll roads.
Here are a few points to keep in mind on the toll highways:
The system is difficult and complicated and offers several ways to pay the toll, some routes (e.g. Algarve Motorway between Lagos and Castro Marim) - marked "electronic toll only" - require online pre-booking with number plate registration for toll control and pay (www.portugaltolls.pt or visitportugal.com) which is the most convenient way as you can e.g. B. paid about € 20 for three days and can drive through without stopping on the "via verde" (observe the 60 km/h limit!). You can also rent electronic devices that can be charged with money for a certain period of time at border crossings or service areas. However, these devices can only be returned at the rental location. In the case of rental cars, the procedure should be arranged with the rental company. In addition, payment options in cash or with credit cards are also possible, but not on all motorways. Subsequent payment at the post office is supposedly also possible, but no earlier than 2 days after the trip.
The Brisa service is available 24 hours a day, all year round. If something is wrong with the car, he is there quickly. The phone number is 808 508 508. This number can be found at every motorway entrance.
The following speed limits apply in Portugal:
Motorway: 120 km/h (trailers and trailers 100 km/h) Country roads: 90 km/h City: 50 km/h
Driver license holders (< 1 year) are allowed to drive a maximum of 90 km/h on the motorway
In Lisbon and also in Porto you will find a lot of speed traps. The fines can be up to €1000 depending on the speed.
Fuel prices are among the highest in Europe. 1 liter of premium fuel cost €1.55 in November 2018, which roughly corresponds to the price in Germany.
There is also an ADAC team in Portugal, but only for members.
There are two categories of trains in Portugal's domestic long-distance transport: Alfa Pendular and Intercidades. Both require reservations. The Alfa Pendular from Porto via Coimbra and Lisbon to Faro runs twice a day.
There is also an Alfa Pendular that runs from Lisbon to Porto and sometimes further to Braga. This runs 9 times a day to Porto and 4 times a day to Braga.
The Intercidades runs from Lisbon to Faro 5 times a day, but takes half an hour longer than the Alfa Pendular. There are also Intercidades that run from Lisbon to Porto, but these take half an hour longer than the Alfa Pendular (8 times a day). One train daily goes through to Guimarães.
Travel times and prices with the Alfa Pendular (as of 2017):
Faro - Porto: 5h45 / €51.50
Faro - Lisbon: 3 h 10 min / 22.20 €
Lisbon - Porto: 2h35 / €30.30
Lisbon - Coimbra: 1h35 / €22.80
Lisbon - Braga: 3 h 15 min / 32.80 €
Porto - Braga: 40 mins / €14.20
Porto - Coimbra: 1h / 16.70€
Prices are for 2nd class, one-way. There are various discounts: Children aged 4 to 12 receive a 50% discount, as do people aged 65 and over. Young people (13 to 25 years) receive a 25% discount.
There are also other train routes, including intercidades, which can be obtained from the Portuguese railway company.
If you book directly on the Deutsche Bahn website, there are massive seasonal discounts depending on the route, provided you reserve at least ten calendar days in advance.
There are numerous good cycle paths, but they are not connected in a network. An exception is the Ecovia do Litoral, which is part of the EuroVelo network and runs along the coast.
Investments in recent years have made the country a top destination for golfers. In 2006, the British trade magazine Golfers Today voted Portugal “Best Golf Destination 2006”. 14 of the Portuguese golf courses are listed in the European top 100.
The coast of the Algarve with Marinha Beach is one of the most beautiful in the world. Popular vacation spots are Olhão, Lagos, Sagres and Portimão
Riviera Portuguesa with the cities of Cascais, Estoril and Sintra
Coastal stretch of the Costa Alentejana between the Algarve and the mouth of the Tagus
Costa de Prata (Silver Coast) in the Região Centro between Santa Cruz and Esmoniz
Costa Verde with the city of Porto along the Região Norte between the mouths of the Douro and the Minho,
Hiking along the coast and inland
Sightseeing and culture of the cities: Lisbon, Porto, Guimarães, Coimbra, …
Visit to the World Heritage Sites and Natural Parks on the mainland as well as in the Azores and Madeira Island.
Previously low wages kept prices low for services and direct street and market offerings. Price increases in escudo were compensated by its steady devaluation. Since the introduction of the euro, prices have risen sharply as there is now no more devaluation. In the meantime, prices in Portugal are largely the same as in Germany, although individual products can be much more expensive. The upper MW tax rate is currently 23%. Due to the low purchasing power of the locals, the range of goods is small. The Germans are familiar with the Lidl chain.
The country is stable. Because of the difficult economic situation, there are sometimes demonstrations, especially in Lisbon. Disruptions and delays in travel must be expected during the occasional strikes. Pickpocketing and snatching are increasing in big cities and tourist spots. Illegal parking lot attendants are up to mischief in many parking lots, especially near tourist attractions. If you don't pay for it, you risk finding scratches or dents in your car when you return. This blackmailing approach should not be supported. So just keep driving to the nearest parking lot if someone tries to give you a parking space. Observe the usual precautions.
Medical care is guaranteed. The European Health Insurance Card must
be presented for medical and hospital treatment.
If you are dependent on certain medications, your first-aid kit should contain an adequate supply. Please note, however, that many countries have special regulations for taking drugs containing narcotics (e.g. methadone) and substances used to treat mental illnesses with you. If necessary, inquire directly with the responsible foreign representation (embassy or consulate) before departure. In Portugal, taking methadone with you is prohibited, e.g. B. Allowed.
The Portuguese are very warm people who are very proud of their country, their culture and their language. They also value a well-groomed appearance. Especially if you want to visit a church, please make sure to wear long pants and a smart top, and women should generally dress appropriately. Show people the respect they deserve and you will get it back. The Portuguese are very helpful towards tourists and are known to be very welcoming. Please respect the traditions and customs in Portuguese society, as culture and Portuguese identity play an important role in everyday life. Avoid comparing or raving about Spain if possible, as the two countries, like siblings, are in competition with each other and relations are not always friendly.
There are internet cafes in all cities. Portugal to the Internet is a national campaign that has been running since 2008. Free Internet buses are available in over 400 cities. 4G coverage is 78.4%, 3G coverage is 99.7%. Prepaid cards are available everywhere.
To the west and south, Portugal is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north by the 1224 km long border with Spain.
The north of Portugal has a relatively cool and humid climate and
consists of two landscapes: The Minho in the northwest, due to the
highly developed industry, is one of the most densely populated areas in
the country. The largest cities of the Minho are Braga, Guimarães, Vila
Nova de Famalicão, Barcelos and Viana do Castelo. The Minho is called
the green garden of Portugal because of its climate and the
comparatively lush vegetation. On the slopes of the numerous river
valleys, wine is mainly cultivated, which is then processed into Vinho
Verde. In addition, many types of vegetables thrive. The natural
vegetation is a mixture of temperate flora and subtropical flora;
depending on the altitude there are oaks and chestnuts or pines and
To the northeast is Trás-os-Montes (Beyond the Mountains). This side of northern Portugal, which faces away from the sea, is very mountainous, with very cold winters and very hot summers. The vegetation is significantly less lush than in the Minho and becomes sparser towards the border with Spain. What both landscapes have in common is that their mountain massifs, e.g. B. Marão or Peneda-Gerês, are intersected by numerous rivers such as the Rio Minho or the Rio Douro. The Peneda-Gerês National Park is located in northern Portugal. There are still remains of natural forests, in which the evergreen holm oak is found in particular. Important cities in the north-east are Vila Real, Bragança, Mirandela and Chaves.
The Centro region, also called Central Portugal, is mostly hilly to mountainous and has a remarkable mountain range with the Serra da Estrela with winter sports facilities. At 1993 m, Torre is the highest mountain in mainland Portugal. The most important landscapes are the Beiras, which are located in the east of the region and where cities like Castelo Branco, Guarda and Covilhã are located, the Ribatejo, which is located in the southwest of the region, via the metropolitan area of Lisbon, where cities like Santarém, Tomar or Entroncamento. The Estremadura is the western landscape of the region, which includes the cities of Leiria, Caldas da Rainha or Torres Vedras. The entire region is very fertile and has a favorable climate for wine growing. The tradition of viticulture goes back to Roman times. Cereals, rice, sunflowers and vegetables are also grown. The region is divided by the Tagus. Since the construction of numerous dams, the floods that used to regularly afflict the Ribatejo are rare.
The Alentejo is a dry and hot region of the country. The surface of the entire region is flat to hilly. Known as the former breadbasket of Portugal, the region is now sparsely populated and characterized by exodus from the villages to towns and cities in the region or other regions of the country; extensive grain fields with olive groves and cork oaks dominate the landscape. Wine and sunflowers are also grown. The meadows are used for sheep breeding and are covered with flowers in spring. The longer dry periods, which are to be mitigated by the construction of dams, have contributed to the economic decline. The planting of fast-growing eucalyptus trees is controversial. These represent an increased risk of forest fires, but the areas under cultivation have increased. The southern coastal regions are often overgrown by pine forests. There are also numerous palm species, of which only the dwarf palm is native. In the southwest of the region, in the district of Odemira, various types of fruit and vegetables are grown, which grow all year round and are exported to various European countries.
The Algarve is the south coast of the country and is a popular holiday destination with its pretty towns, cliffs and sandy beaches with crystal blue water. Over the years the Algarve has become increasingly popular and tourism has increased. The largest cities in the region are Portimão, Faro, Loulé, Quarteira and Lagos. The dominant river Rio Guadiana forms the border with Spain twice for a long stretch. Numerous succulent plants are adapted to the great summer heat.
Portugal also includes the archipelagos of Madeira (Wooden Island)
and the Azores (Hawk Islands) in the Atlantic. Except for the Azores
island of Santa Maria, they are volcanic islands. The Madeira
archipelago off the coast of Africa has part tropical, part subtropical
vegetation. The highest mountain in Portugal (Ponta do Pico, 2351 m) is
located on the Azores island of Pico.
The most important rivers in Portugal are the Tagus, which has its source in Spain under the name Tajo, the Douro (Spanish Duero) and the Mondego, the latter only flowing through Portugal.
Portugal has a Mediterranean climate, Csa in the south and Csb in the
north, according to the Köppen climate classification. The average
annual temperature in mainland Portugal varies from 13 °C in the
mountainous interior to 18 °C in the south , in the Guadiana
depression.108 Summers are pleasant in the highlands of the north of the
country and in the coastal region of the extreme north and in the
center. Autumn and winter are typically windy, rainy and cool and are
coldest in the northern and central districts of the country, where
temperatures are negative in the coldest months. However, in the cities
further south, temperatures only drop below 0 °C on rare occasions and
hover around 5 °C in most cases.
Normally, the spring and summer months are sunny and temperatures are high during the dry months of July and August, when temperatures can sometimes exceed 40 °C in much of the country, although more frequently in the interior. from the Alentejo.
Average annual rainfall varies from just over 3,000 mm in the northern mountains to less than 600 mm in the southern areas of Alentejo. Portugal has about 2,500-3,200 hours of sunshine per year with an average of 4-6 hours per day in winter and between 10 and 12 in summer, with higher values in the southeast and lower values in the northwest. It snows regularly in four districts in the north of Portugal (Guarda, Braganza, Vila Real and Viseo) but its frequency decreases towards the south, until it is non-existent in most of the Algarve. In winter, temperatures are below –10 °C and snowfall occurs with some frequency in isolated points, such as Serra da Estrela, Serra do Gerês and Serra do Montesinho, where it can snow from October to May.
The flora and fauna of Portugal is divided between two
well-differentiated biogeographical regions: the Macaronesian region
(Azores and Madeira) and the Iberian Peninsula (continental Portugal).
It stands out in its natural heritage, a place declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1999 due to the size and quality of the laurel, a type of laurel forest: Madeira Laurissilva. It has seven biosphere reserves: Paúl do Boquilobo (1981), Corvo Island (2007), Graciosa Island (2007), Flores Island (2009), Geres-Xures, cross-border with Spain, the Berlengas Archipelago (2011) and Santana (2011). A total Of 86,581 hectares are protected as wetlands of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, in total, 28 Ramsar sites.
From the point of view of forest plantations, pines are widespread for economic reasons, especially resineros (Pinus pinaster) and stone pines (Pinus pinea), as well as eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) and chestnuts (Castanea sativa). As for the forests of continental Portugal, the cork oak (Quercus suber), the holm oak (Quercus ilex), and the gall oak (Quercus faginea) predominate.
Likewise, other species such as Gaillardia aristata are being introduced in the archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira; the Jacobaea minuta, in southern Portugal; the Rhaponticum longifolium, in the surroundings of Leiría; the Indian carnation (Tagetes patula), on the border of the province of Salamanca; the Zinnia elegans, in the Beira Alta region, the Salvia viridis, in Extremadura; the pink crown (Securigera varia) in Coimbra or the Claytonia perfoliata in northern Portugal.
The mammalian fauna is very varied and includes the fox, the badger,
the Iberian lynx, the Iberian wolf, the ibex, the wild cat, the hare,
the weasel, the mongoose, the genet and, occasionally, the brown bear (
near the Miño River and the Peneda-Gerês National Park), among others.
Portugal is an important stopping place for bird migrations that move
between Europe and Africa, especially in places like Cape Saint Vincent
or the Monchique mountains. The country has close to 600 species of
birds, of which 235 are nesting, and there are new records almost every
Portugal has a large number of freshwater fish species ranging from the giant catfish in the Tagus International Nature Park, to small endemic species that only live in small lakes. Some of these rare species are seriously threatened due to the destruction of its habitat, pollution and droughts. Portuguese marine waters are among the richest in biodiversity in the world, since its marine species number around a thousand and include sardines, tuna and Atlantic mackerel.
In Portugal, the phenomenon of upwelling can be appreciated, especially on the western coast, which makes the sea rich in nutrients and biodiversity. Portugal's protected areas include a national park, thirteen natural parks, nine nature reserves, five natural monuments and six protected landscapes. In 2005, the protected landscape area of the Esposende Coast was classified as a natural park for the "conservation of the coastline and its physical, aesthetic and landscape natural elements".
In relation to the long-established population, Portugal is a very
homogeneous country in terms of language, ethnicity and religion.
The Portuguese language is spoken throughout the country and only in the villages of Miranda do Douro is a dialect associated with Asturian (Mirandés) spoken, which is recognized as a minority language.
The largest indigenous ethnic minority is made up of 40,000 to 50,000 Roma, who are often socially and economically marginalized. The first comprehensive official study of the Portuguese Roma community in 2017 revealed a figure of a good 37,000 people who still identify themselves as Roma. The study showed below-average school education, but also some improvements in education and successes of the various integration and anti-discrimination campaigns. The right-wing populist Chega party has been the first and only party to address resentment against Roma since it was founded in 2019. Politicians, but above all civil society actors and journalists, have been increasing awareness and classification of the facts about the Roma in Portugal ever since.
The coastal strip between the two metropolitan regions of the country, Porto and Lisbon, has the densest population. Almost 40% of the population lives in this strip; the hinterland and the south of Portugal, on the other hand, are only sparsely populated. The two largest cities (Lisbon and Porto) account for more than 10% of the population, while more than half live in towns with fewer than 2000 inhabitants. The trend in Portugal is towards urbanization.
A total of 10,344,802 people lived in Portugal in 2021. The
population has doubled since 1900. Population growth was by no means
constant. A population decline in 1920 due to the effects of World War
I, Spanish flu and a wave of emigration was followed by a period of
growth that lasted until the 1940s and benefited from increasing human
life expectancy. From about 1965 to 1973 there was a large emigration.
In 1974, many people migrated to Portugal because of the independence of
the colonies. The emigration of the 1980s came to a halt in the 1990s.
The Portuguese population grew again in 2019, 9 years after the start of the financial crisis in 2010, after shrinking since the financial crisis. Some of the reasons for the renewed population growth are the reception of migrants from the former colonies, the improvement and stabilization of the economic situation, which stopped the emigration of young Portuguese and families, and the return of Portuguese from abroad. In 2020 and 2021, over 10.34 million inhabitants were recorded.
The birth rate, which was 30 per 1000 inhabitants before 1920, has fallen to 8.2 per 1000 inhabitants by 2021. The fertility rate hit the lowest level in the country's history in 2021, at just 1.4 children per woman. In the 1960s, a woman had three children on average. There are significant regional differences in terms of population development: while the population of the Algarve, Lisbon and the Azores is growing, that of the Alentejo and the Centro is declining. Within Portugal there are strong migratory movements, with the migratory movements going from the regions of the hinterland towards the big cities such as Lisbon, Porto, Braga, Leiria, Coimbra, Aveiro and the Algarve.
Portugal's population is aging: in 2021, 1.3 million people under the age of 16 lived in Portugal, while 2.5 million people were aged 65 or over. This trend is particularly pronounced in the hinterland, the reason being the migration of younger residents to the big cities and metropolitan regions. The aging of the country's population is particularly striking, with many Portuguese who have worked abroad returning to their homeland for the elderly. Life expectancy at birth is 82 years (85 for women and 79 for men). According to the United Nations list (as of 2022), Portugal was ranked 34th (Germany 43rd). In 1970, life expectancy was still 70.3 and 64.0 years.
Portugal was a country of emigration for a long time; In 2021, over 20% of Portuguese lived abroad. Important centers of Portuguese culture in the diaspora are primarily in France, where alone 1,132,048 Portuguese live, but also in many other countries, especially Brazil, South Africa, Venezuela, Switzerland, on the east coast of the USA, and most recently in Angola . 81,274 Portuguese lived in Luxembourg in 2012, making them 16 percent of the population of Luxembourg. On the other hand, Portugal was already a destination for immigrants from the colonized regions during the independence wars of its colonies.
Since Portugal joined the European Community in 1986 and the
associated political and economic changes, Portugal has increasingly
become a country of immigration, with the countries of origin of the
immigrants mainly being in Africa (Cape Verde, Angola, Guinea-Bissau),
South America (Brazil) and in Eastern Europe (Ukraine, Romania, Russia
and Moldova). Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, around
54,000 Ukrainian citizens and residents of Ukraine have also been taken
in as refugees in Portugal (as of October 17, 2022). Portugal had
previously taken in refugees from the civil wars in Iraq and above all
Syria, including almost 3,000 under international UN and EU agreements
to take in refugees from Greece, Italy and above all Turkey.
At the end of 2008, 443,102 foreign nationals were living in Portugal. More than half of these come from other Portuguese-speaking countries, are mostly of the Catholic faith and therefore have a similar cultural background. About a quarter of the foreigners living in Portugal are Europeans, some of whom are returnees, i.e. Portuguese who formerly emigrated from Portugal and returned with foreign citizenship. Another part are permanent vacationers who spend their retirement in Portugal. In 2017, 8.5% of the population was foreign-born.
More than half of the foreign population lives in Lisbon, apart from that it is concentrated in the urban areas on the coast. In the hinterland, the proportion is less than 0.5%.
The 2021 census revealed a current number of 555,299 residents of Portugal with foreign nationality, who currently represent 5.4% of the total population.
The vast majority of Portuguese are Roman Catholic, with figures
ranging from 85% to 95% of the total population. There are also other
Christian churches in Portugal, including evangelical communities,
Jehovah's Witnesses, evangelical free churches (mainly from Brazil) or
the Anglican Lusitanian Church of Portugal.
In Portugal there is freedom of religion and since the introduction of the “Law on Freedom of Faith” (Lei da Liberdade Religiosa) there has also been official equality between religions. In reality, however, equality has not yet been achieved: the Catholic Church operates important cultural institutions, a respected university, private schools and a radio station in Portugal. Furthermore, the law on freedom of belief is only partially applicable to the Catholic Church. Whether public schools should be obliged to offer religious education has been a matter of debate in Portugal since the 1980s. In 2004 a new concordat was concluded between Portugal and the Holy See. On the one hand, the church has the right to offer instruction, but consent must be obtained. In principle, all religious communities must also have the same rights, which is difficult to implement in practice.
In Portugal's first constitution (1822), Catholicism was declared the state religion. The 1826 Constitution abolished religious persecution. The official separation of church and state took place with the republican revolution of 1910, with concordats with the Vatican continuing to grant the Catholic Church far-reaching privileges. In 1976, the Portuguese Constitution (Article 41, paragraph 4) enshrined laicism in the constitution.
The Portuguese expression of Catholicism is described as "human, lyrical and with an understanding of the carnal things in life". Typical is the strong devotion to the Virgin Mary. The most important pilgrimage destination is the pilgrimage site of Fátima. This is where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to three shepherd children in 1917.
In the Middle Ages, two other religions played an important role in Portugal: from the year 711, Muslim Moors and Arabs ruled the south of the country in particular for a long time. After the Reconquista they had to leave the country or submit to the Christians. They brought with them numerous technical advances, such as improvements in well construction, irrigation, olive growing, cultivation of citrus fruits, cotton and sugar cane, silkworm farming, the manufacture of tiles, blinds, hygiene and ornamentation. Society in Portugal at the time also offered subject or enslaved Moors the opportunity to rise in society; the Muslim population merged with the Christian.
Judaism in Portugal also has a long history. In the Middle Ages, the Jews enjoyed the protection of the Portuguese kings. The wealth acquired and saved through trade and administrative posts in state and church served as the basis for the construction of the Portuguese fleet. In 1504 and 1506 there were anti-Jewish pogroms in Lisbon. Later the situation of the Jews in Portugal improved again. The semi-fascist Salazar dictatorship, for example, did not take part in the persecution of the Jews, and in 1938 the Sinagoga Kadoorie, the largest synagogue on the Iberian Peninsula, was inaugurated. In 2015, Portugal enacted a special citizenship law for the descendants of Sephardic Jews, underscoring the importance of Portugal's Jewish history to the country and apologizing for the historical injustices done to them here.
Lisbon is home to one of the largest Hindu communities in Europe, largely thanks to its Nepalese and Indian-born residents. There are also other faiths in Portugal, including Buddhism, with the Union União Budista Portuguesa as the central body (see also Portuguese-Tibetan relations).
A representative survey commissioned by the European Commission as part of the Eurobarometer in 2020 showed that religion is important for 47 percent of people in Portugal, for 37 percent it is neither important nor unimportant and for 15 percent it is unimportant.
The name Portugal comes from the Roman Empire's port of Porto, Latin Portus Cale (Latin portus means "port"). It is disputed what is meant by Cale. Some scholars think that Cale refers to the Gallaekers (Ancient Greek Καλλαικοί Kallaikoi, Latin Callaici or Callaeci) - "port of the Gallaekers". Others say it's a holdover from the Latin calidus, meaning "warm" - "warm harbour". Other historians have suggested that the Greeks were the first to settle there and that the ancient Greek word καλός kalós for "beautiful" was eponymous - "beautiful harbour".Note. In the Middle Ages, Portus Cale became Portucale, later Portugale, although in the 7th and 8th centuries the name only referred to the northern parts of the country, i.e. the region between the Douro and Minho rivers.
Early History to Antiquity
It is estimated that Portugal was settled 500,000 years ago by Homo heidelbergensis and later by the Neanderthals, descended from Homo heidelbergensis. The earliest evidence of a colonization of westernmost Europe by anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens) comes from a cave (Lapa do Picareiro) not far from the Atlantic coast in central Portugal. Stone tools were discovered that were dated to be between 41,100 and 38,100 years old (cal BP). Paleolithic rock carvings, which are the most important of their kind in the world, have been dated to between 22,000 and 8,000 years ago. Although the transition to the Neolithic was late, copper processing caught on particularly quickly, especially in southern Portugal. First trade relations with other regions of Europe are documented for this time. From 800 BC Phoenicians founded trading bases in the Algarve. From about 600 BC Greeks founded several small settlements in the eastern and north-eastern areas. At the earliest from the 6th to the 3rd century B.C. BC, Celts immigrated in several waves, who mixed with the Iberians. In addition to the Celts, the tribe of the Lusitanians is named, who the Romans regarded as particularly well-fortified and who were to give the country its name in Latin. The mixing of the Celts with the native culture created the Celtiberians.
From 450 BC the southern Iberian Peninsula was colonized by Carthage. Until 206 BC the Romans succeeded in driving out the Carthaginians. In the course of the Second Punic War, in which numerous Lusitanian mercenaries from Carthage were employed, Rome counter-invaded the Iberian peninsula and thus led to Romanization. The territory of Portugal was initially administered by the Romans as the province of Hispania ulterior, from the reign of Augustus under the name of Lusitania, which, in addition to most of today's Portugal, included other areas in the west of today's Spain. In north and north-eastern Portugal, the Roman conquerors met strong resistance; only from 19 BC the region was considered subdued. After that there was a strong Romanization, cities based on the Roman model, Roman roads, villas and mines were built, with the settlers Vulgar Latin came into the country, from which the Portuguese language later arose, and also Christianity. Roman rule ended in the Migration Period; Suevi (from 409), Alans, Vandals and above all Visigoths (from 416) invaded and founded short-lived empires in what is now Portugal. Only the Suevi were able to hold out longer, but their empire around Braga was destroyed in 456 by Theodoric II and a second time in 585 by Leovigild.
In 711, a Berber army led by Tāriq ibn Ziyād defeated the army of
Visigoth king Roderic. By 716 the whole territory of the Visigoth Empire
was under the control of the Umayyads, Lusitania probably as early as
713. Al-Andalus and especially the Emirate, later Caliphate of Córdoba
was partly ruled by very capable and successful rulers such as Abd
ar-Rahman I, Abd ar-Rahman III. or al-Hakam II and belonged to the most
advanced empires of his time. After being divided into several taifas,
most of Lusitania belonged to the Badajoz taifa, the extreme south to
Seville and other petty kingdoms. There was an immigration of Berber
settlers, due to the climate, especially in the south of the peninsula.
The Moorish influence on the culture and language of Portugal was strong
The Kingdom of Asturias was of no interest to the Moors. Starting from here, the Christian Reconquista of the territories that later became Portugal began in the 9th century. In 868, during a period of weakness of the Emirate of Córdoba, Portucale was conquered (Presúria), 879 Coimbra. With the Presúria of Portucale by Vímara Peres, a "first" County of Portucale (Condado Portucalense) developed in the area around Porto as part of the Kingdom of Asturias-León. Descendants from the family of Vímara Peres ruled this region until 1071; Braga was rebuilt and the Guimarães fortress was built. In 1071 a revolt by the last Count of Portucale, Nuno Mendes, against Garcia, who had been appointed King of Galicia and Portugal in 1065, was suppressed. Around 1095, the King of León enfeoffed Henry of Burgundy with Portucale and Coimbra. A “second” county of Portucale, also known as Condado Portucalense, was created, which led directly to the founding of the independent kingdom of Portugal.
Henry of Burgundy's son, Alfonso I, rebelled in 1127 with the support of the local petty nobility (infanções) after Henry's death against his own mother, who had married a Galician prince. After winning the Battle of Ourique, he had gained so much prestige that he accepted the title of king in 1143 with the consent of Alfonso VII of León. In 1166, León relinquished its claim to supremacy over Portucale, gaining formal independence. The rulers of the House of Burgundy attempted to expand their territory southward, with the aim of gaining power over all of Lusitania. But Castile prevented this. By 1250 the Reconquista was completed with the conquest of the Algarve, with heavy participation from foreign knights and knightly orders.
In 1383 the House of Burgundy died out in Portugal. An illegitimate descendant, John of Avis proclaimed himself king, repelled Castilian claims to the Portuguese throne at the Battle of Aljubarrota (1385) and founded the second Portuguese dynasty, the House of Avis. Under the Avis kings (especially Emmanuel I - he ruled from 1495 to 1521), Portugal rose to become a leading European trading and maritime power. Henry the Navigator (1394-1460) initiated voyages of discovery along the West African coast, which at the beginning of the establishment of the Portuguese colonial empire first in Africa, later in South America (Brazil) and Asia (Portuguese India, Ceylon, Malacca, Macau, etc.) and the European expansion. The country became a great power and one of the richest nations in Europe, mainly due to the income from trade with India. It also flourished culturally (Luís de Camões).
The House of Avis died out in 1580, Portugal fell to the Spanish Habsburgs (Iberian Union) for dynastic reasons. The Spanish ruled until 1640; Portugal lost its independence, became a Spanish province and lost parts of its colonial empire. In 1640, the Duke of Braganza led a noble revolt against Spanish rule and proclaimed himself king as John IV. He founded the penultimate Portuguese dynasty, the House of Braganza. In terms of foreign and economic policy, the country became increasingly dependent on England (Methuen Treaty, 1703). In 1755 an earthquake destroyed large parts of the capital Lisbon. Under the First Minister and reformer Marquês de Pombal, the city was rebuilt and the country was transformed into an enlightened, absolutist state using sometimes drastic methods. In 1761 Spain and France attacked the country. Pombal gave Wilhelm Graf zu Schaumburg-Lippe the supreme command of the combined Portuguese and British troops. Wilhelm fended off the attacks and thus secured the independence of Portugal. In the following years he reformed the Portuguese army profoundly and had the fortress of Elvas built on the Spanish border. In 1807 Napoleonic troops occupied the country; the royal family fled to Brazil. After the French were driven out with British help, the liberal revolution ensued and the country was given a constitution for the first time in its history (1821). The ensuing struggle between supporters of absolutism and advocates of a constitutional monarchy was not decided until 1834 with the latter's victory in the Miguelist War. On September 7, 1822, under Emperor Pedro I, Brazil gained its independence.
The period after the end of the Miguelist War was marked by conflict
between right-wing and left-wing liberals (Cartists and Setembrists). In
1853 the House of Braganza died out in a direct line with Queen Maria
II. The Portuguese branch of this German noble house took over the
throne through the marriage of the Queen to Ferdinand II of Saxe-Coburg
and Gotha (until 1910). The final phase of the monarchy was
characterized by great poverty, little education (80 percent of the
Portuguese were illiterate), general economic problems (national
bankruptcy in 1891) and republican uprisings that escalated into
national crises. Under João Franco, the royal emoluments were further
increased and the reputation of the monarchy suffered from the visible
contradiction between the shattered state finances on the one hand and
the luxurious, extravagant lifestyle of the ruling family on the other.
In 1908, King Karl I and his son, heir to the throne Ludwig Philipp,
were shot while driving in a carriage. Only the son Manuel survived the
On October 3, 1910, Republican Congressman Miguel Bombarda was assassinated under mysterious circumstances. Riots broke out in Lisbon that night. A quickly formed provisional government proclaimed the republic on October 5, 1910; King Manuel II fled into English exile.
In 1914, the young Republic of Portugal promised Britain material support and the sending of its own troops. Although officially neutral, the Portuguese government justified its involvement in World War I with an old alliance agreement between the two countries, renewed in 1912.
“By taking part in World War I on the side of the British, Portugal sought to protect its African colonies (Angola and Mozambique), which had been part of a secret agreement between the British and the Germans in 1898. In addition, Portugal wanted to underline its entry into the ranks of European nations. Participation at the international level was perceived as a means of strengthening national unity. Finally, the legitimacy of the republican regime should be consolidated, which at the time was threatened by monarchist movements and great economic difficulties.
The British General Staff was initially content with Portugal's material help. The leadership remained skeptical as to whether the use of the young Portuguese republic in combat operations would really benefit the Allied forces. However, the Allies' growing logistical problems prompted Britain, in December 1915, to request the confiscation of all German ships anchored in Portuguese ports. The government complied with this request on February 24, 1916, after which Germany declared war on Portugal on March 9.”
In March 1916, the country entered World War I on the side of the Entente. At times, Portugal mobilized 56,500 soldiers. In the Fourth Battle of Ypres, the expeditionary force lost almost 7,500 men (killed, missing, prisoners of war and wounded) in a single day in a German offensive.
In the so-called First Republic (until 1926) general political instability and chaotic conditions prevailed. It was characterized by monarchist and communist uprisings, attempted coups (including the Sidónio Pais, 1917) and weak, frequently changing governments without a parliamentary majority.
In 1926 the military staged a coup and ended the first republic. Among the military, a civilian, António de Oliveira Salazar, Minister of Finance from 1928 and Prime Minister from 1932, rose to supreme power. From 1933 he founded the "Estado Novo", the new state, an authoritarian entity with fascist tendencies, with a unity party (National Union), state youth and secret police (PIDE). The dictator's Catholic-authoritarian and anti-democratic ideology pursued the project of a "corporate state".
In terms of foreign policy, Salazar built on his ties to Great Britain, sympathized with the Spanish nationalist forces in the Spanish Civil War and cleverly maneuvered between the blocs. The country remained neutral during the Second World War, supplied both sides with the important raw material tungsten and became a playground for secret agents from many warring factions. Salazar, who had counted on an Allied victory from the start and had had a decisive influence on Franco in favor of Spanish neutrality, finally allowed the Allies to set up military bases in the Azores in autumn 1943.
Portugal is a founding member of NATO, created in 1949. From 1960 - the African Year, when 18 countries became independent - the colonial war began, which was waged with great severity in Africa (Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau). Officer Henrique Galvão's attempt to bring down the Salazar system by hijacking the passenger ship Santa Maria in the Caribbean in January 1961 failed, although the Santa Maria affair attracted international attention.
In 1968, Salazar had to resign due to health problems. His successor, Marcelo Caetano, was unable to make fundamental reforms. As a result of the colonial war, Portugal was increasingly isolated in foreign policy, and the costs of the war led to rising national debt and inflation.
Leading military leaders recognized that Portugal could not win the colonial war militarily. Because of the government's inability to find a political solution to the problem, they staged a coup in 1974. General dissatisfaction with the dictatorship among the population, which was exacerbated by the onset of the economic crisis (triggered by the first oil crisis in 1973), led to large parts of the The population showed solidarity with the coup officers.
A general uprising ensued, the Carnation Revolution, which ended the Estado Novo. After the military coup of 1974, a new electoral law was passed on May 14, 1974 (Law 3/74, Article 4, Number 1). According to Decree Law number 621-A/74, Article 1.1 of November 15, 1974, Portuguese citizens who were 18 years of age or older on February 28, 1975 were eligible to vote for the Constituent Assembly. Thus, for the first time in Portuguese history, universal suffrage was recognized and exercised the following year: In April 1975, the members of the Constituent Assembly, which drafted the 1976 Constitution, were elected. This was proclaimed on June 2nd, 1976 and thus constitutionally guaranteed equality of voting rights for women and men for all elections.
The new rulers granted the Portuguese colonies independence (1974/1975), Macau followed in 1999.
The first period after the revolution was marked by the clashes
between a more conservative current (General Spínola) and a socialist
wing (Captain Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho) within the MFA (Movimento das
Forças Armadas - Movement of the Armed Forces), the association of the
coup leaders . At first it looked as if the socialist current would win,
nationalization and land reform took place. The 1976 constitution
defined the transition to socialism as a state goal.
When the more moderate General Eanes surprisingly clearly defeated Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho in the first presidential elections under the new constitution in 1976, the course was set for the country to return to a parliamentary democracy of Western European standards. Eanes and the leader of the Socialist Party Mário Soares (head of government from 1976 to 1978 and 1983 to 1985, president from 1986 to 1996) finally led the country into the European Union in 1986.
In 1979, for the first time since the Carnation Revolution, a
right-of-centre political group won the parliamentary elections, the
governments of Francisco Sá Carneiro and Francisco Pinto Balsemão. The
government was able to agree with the socialist opposition on a
constitutional amendment that removed the socialist vestiges written
into the constitution after the Carnation Revolution. The constitutional
amendment that came into force in 1982 replaced the Revolutionary
Council, which had been important until then, with a constitutional
court modeled on other democratic states. In 1985 Aníbal Cavaco Silva
became Prime Minister. His conservative Partido Social Democrata (PSD)
achieved a landslide victory in the 1987 elections; for the first time
one party won an absolute majority. Cavaco Silva remained prime minister
until 1995. He pursued a neoliberal economic policy and reversed the
nationalizations from the time of the Carnation Revolution. From 1995 to
2002, the Socialists again led the government with António Guterres.
The parliamentary elections of March 17, 2002 saw another shift to the right. With a turnout of 62.3 percent, the conservative PSD under José Manuel Durão Barroso achieved a relative majority of 40.1 percent, followed by the socialist Partido Socialista and the right-wing conservative People's Party CDS-PP with 37.9 and 8.8 percent, respectively. With the latter, Barroso formed a coalition government, with the populist leader of the CDS-PP, Paulo Portas, taking over the post of defense minister and the areas of justice and labor and social affairs also going to the CDS-PP. However, the Socialists have consistently provided the country's president, since Soares was succeeded in 1996 by the Socialist Jorge Sampaio.
In July 2004, Barroso was nominated by the European Council to succeed Romano Prodi as President of the Commission of the European Union. Pedro Santana Lopes succeeded him as prime minister won an absolute majority of seats in Parliament. Your top candidate, José Sócrates, became the country's new prime minister on March 12, 2005.
On January 22, 2006, around 8.9 million Portuguese voted for a new President. The previous president, the socialist Jorge Sampaio, was not allowed to stand for election after two terms in office. The centre-right candidate and former Prime Minister Aníbal Cavaco Silva (PSD) won against five left-wing candidates in the first ballot with an absolute majority of 50.6 percent and a turnout of 62.6 percent. He was supported by an alliance of PSD and CDS-PP. The 66-year-old economics professor, who is considered the architect of the Portuguese economic boom between 1985 and 1995, became the first middle-class president in Portugal since the Carnation Revolution of 1974. He was inaugurated on March 9, 2006 for a five-year term. On January 23, 2011, Cavaco Silva was confirmed in office.
The drastic effects of the global economic and financial crisis dominated the 2009 parliamentary election campaign. Although the governing Socialists lost a significant number of votes and their absolute majority, they managed to assert themselves as the party with the most votes. This meant that the Sócrates government remained in office.
After the government's austerity plan failed to gain a majority in parliament, Sócrates submitted his resignation on March 23, 2011. In the new elections that followed, the Socialists experienced a clear electoral defeat. Consequently, on June 15, 2011, Pedro Passos Coelho, leader of the liberal-conservative Social Democratic Party (PSD), which won with almost 40% of the vote, was appointed Portugal's new prime minister. He led a coalition government of PSD and CDS-PP that commanded a solid majority with 132 out of 230 parliamentary seats.
After the parliamentary elections on October 4, 2015, the previously governing party alliance PàF remained the strongest force, but lost the absolute majority. The previous left-wing opposition parties PS, BE and CDU, together with 124 of the 230 seats in parliament, hold a governable majority. On October 20, 2015, António Costa (PS) told President Anibal Cavaco Silva that he wanted to form a left-wing government. However, Cavaco Silva initially blocked attempts by the socialists and communists to form a government alliance and reappointed the incumbent, middle-class, conservative Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho as head of government. In a television speech to the nation on the evening of October 22, 2015, Cavaco Silva justified this with consideration for the European Union and the euro, "financial institutions, investors and the markets". On November 26, 2015, António Costa was appointed prime minister and promised to abandon tough austerity policies in compliance with European Union guidelines. On January 24, 2016, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa (PSD) was elected President. After the 2019 general election, he formed a minority government on October 26, 2019.
Since the Carnation Revolution of 1974, Portugal has developed into a
stable, representative democracy with a semi-presidential system of
government. The four most important organs of politics in Portugal are
the President, the Prime Minister and his Council of Ministers, the
Parliament and the judiciary (see Portuguese Constitution).
The President, directly elected every five years in universal and direct elections, is the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. He appoints a Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers, based on the results of the general elections. The Council of State is a body that advises the President and consists of the President and his predecessors, the Prime Minister, the President of the Constitutional Court (Tribunal Constitucional), the Ombudsman, the Regional Presidents (Madeira and Azores), five Presidents and five Presidents Parliament selected persons.
The 1976 constitution was seen as a compromise between two forms of legitimacy that emerged during the transformation: the military, the elected parliament and the elected president. It was not until 1982 that the system of government in Portugal was finally institutionalized when the constitution was revised. Until 1982, the revolutionary legitimacy of the military was felt to be necessary. Since the 1982 revision, the President's powers have been curtailed in favor of Parliament. In this context one speaks of the development of a parliamentary system of government. Since then, the government has been solely accountable to Parliament. The powers of the military were curtailed by the dissolution of the Revolutionary Council and placed under civilian control. Since the constitutional revision in Portugal in 1982, the directly elected president no longer has any executive powers.
Government is headed by the Prime Minister, who assembles a Council of Ministers. Every new government must present its program to Parliament for debate. If it is not rejected, the government is accepted by Parliament.
Parliament is known as the Assembleia da República (Assembly of the Republic) and consists of one chamber with up to 230 deputies (unicameral). The deputies are elected for four years by proportional representation. The President has the right to dissolve Parliament and call new elections.
The Supreme Court is the highest instance of the Portuguese judiciary. In addition, special supreme courts have jurisdiction over military, administrative and tax matters. The Constitutional Court of Portugal has nine members and oversees the constitutional interpretation of the law.
The largest parties for a long time are the social-democratically oriented Socialist Party (PS) and the bourgeois-conservative-oriented Social Democratic Party (PSD). There is also the right-wing populist People's Party (CDS/PP), the traditional Communist Party (PCP) and the Left Bloc (BE), which was founded a few years ago as a reservoir for the intellectual left. The five parties have been represented in parliament since the parliamentary elections on June 5, 2011. In Portugal, the Greens (PEV) have always stood in union with the communists since 1987 and have always had two parliamentary mandates since this alliance (CDU) was founded.
Portuguese law developed from Roman law. According to French law, it
was mainly influenced by German law in the 20th century.
The following courts exist in Portugal:
the Constitutional Court (Tribunal Constitucional)
the Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal de Justiça)
5 courts of appeal (tribunais da relação)
23 district courts (tribunais de comarca), 4 enforcement courts (tribunais de execução das penas), 4 specialized courts (tribunal marítimo; tribunal da propriedade intelectual; tribunal da concorrência, regulação e supervisão; tribunal central de instrução criminal)
25 Justices of the Peace (julgados de paz)
the Supreme Administrative Court (Supremo Tribunal Administrativo)
2 central administrative courts (tribunais centrais administrativos)
15 administrative and financial courts (tribunais administrativos e fiscais), one district administrative court (tribunal administrativo de círculo), one tax court (tribunal tributário)
the Court of Auditors (Tribunal de Contas).
Portugal is a member of the European Union and held the Council
Presidency in the second half of 2007. The country had already held the
presidency in the first half of 2000. During this period, Portugal's
main goal was to promote dialogue with Africa and to provide impetus for
strengthening the competitiveness of the European economy.
Portugal was a founding member of NATO and is involved in peacekeeping in the Balkans with troops. Along with Spain, Portugal takes part in the Ibero-American Summits, which are primarily intended to promote dialogue with the countries of Latin America. The country played a leading role in founding the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP), which aims to deepen cooperation between these countries. The country is also a member of the Latin Union, which promotes the preservation and diversity of the Romance languages.
Portugal supported one of its former colonial territories, East Timor, in the fight for independence from Indonesia, and is cooperating financially and militarily with Asian countries, the United States and the UN on behalf of the young state.
There is a dispute between Portugal and Spain over the area of Olivenza (Olivença in Portuguese), which is currently part of the Spanish state but claimed by Portugal. Olivença came under Spanish administration in 1801, but Spain agreed to return the area to Portugal at the 1815 Congress of Vienna. Portugal has been demanding its return ever since.
Education was neglected until the Carnation Revolution of 1974; after
the revolution, the construction of the educational system progressed
slowly. This is still noticeable today: in 2000, for example, only about
a tenth of thirty-year-olds had a university degree. This put Portugal
far behind among the EU members prior to eastward enlargement. The
illiteracy rate is around 4.6% (3.1% for men, 5.9% for women). In the
2015 PISA ranking, Portugal's students ranked 29th out of 72 countries
in mathematics, 22nd in science and 21st in reading. This puts Portugal
above the average for the OECD countries.
The school system consists of a four-year elementary school and a five-year high school. For children from the age of six there is a statutory nine-year compulsory education. Compulsory education is free in state schools. Families in need can receive support for lessons at one of the comparatively large number of private schools.
Anyone who completes the three-year Escola Secundária after high school gets the university entrance qualification and can choose between several options for higher education: Higher education in Portugal is offered by state and private universities (universidades) and state and private universities of applied sciences (escolas politécnicas). Universities have been set up in many medium-sized towns to promote remote areas. In any case, an entrance exam has to be taken and tuition fees have to be paid, which are higher for private schools than for state schools. They vary depending on the field of study, for state institutions up to €850 per year. Despite this, about a third of students are enrolled in a private institution. In addition to the enrollment fees, propinas, fees for issuing certificates and diplomas are payable. About 20% of students benefit from income-related state support.
With the tax-financed Serviço Nacional de Saúde, since 1979 all
locals and visitors have had access to a health system that is largely
free of charge, with the exception of mostly small co-payments, as
stipulated in the Portuguese constitution of 1976. There are also
professional and private health systems. With 3.34 doctors per 1000
inhabitants, the level of medical care in Portugal ranks 29th in the
world (comparison: Germany 4.33; Switzerland 4.24; Austria 5.14). Life
expectancy in Portugal is 79 years (as of 2016) just below the European
average of 80 years, see list of countries by average life expectancy.
The public rescue service INEM covers mainland Portugal with a unified emergency service.
Portugal is divided into 18 districts and two autonomous regions: the Azores and Madeira. The districts are an older version of the division of the country, which is becoming less and less important. The country's five historical regions have been divided into 25 sub-regions, which are becoming increasingly important as the population centers in the country change. Below this is the local self-government in Portugal, with 308 municípios (which can be compared to German counties or Swiss districts) and 3091 freguesias (municipalities). Until the administrative reorganization in 2013, there were 4259 municipalities.
When dividing regions and sub-regions, which are also known as European NUTS, there are 7 regions in Portugal (5 regions on the mainland and the 2 autonomous regions Azores and Madeira), which can be further divided into 25 sub-regions.
Since joining the EC in 1986, Portugal has developed into an
increasingly diversified, mainly service-oriented economy. Services are
now responsible for around two thirds of GDP. As in other European
countries, far-reaching privatizations were carried out and government
spending reduced. In 1998, Portugal qualified to join the European
Monetary Union and, like eleven other countries, introduced the euro as
a means of payment on January 1, 2002, replacing the Portuguese escudo.
After the introduction of the euro (1999), real interest rates fell. Economic growth, at around 3.3% per year, mostly exceeded the EU average in the years leading up to the global economic crisis from 2007 onwards. Large capital inflows contributed to years of economic growth; nevertheless, productivity fell. The banking and financial crisis since 2008 also had an impact on the real economy (recession) in Portugal. In the context of the euro crisis that followed in 2010, Portugal was counted among the PIIGS countries that were particularly affected. In May 2011, the EFSF pledged EUR 78 billion in financial aid to Portugal. After that, the economic situation recovered and Portugal was able to leave the bailout fund in 2014 while meeting all payment obligations, but the unemployment rate initially remained relatively high (9.8 percent in April 2017). The gross domestic product (GDP) per inhabitant was 16,900 euros in 2016, and the national debt at the end of 2016 was 1.30 times the 2016 GDP. Improved since the election victory of the new socialist Prime Minister Costa at the end of 2015 and the subsequent end of austerity policies the economic situation is clear. Thanks to increased domestic demand, further growth in tourism income and continued growth in exports, the unemployment rate fell to 6.5 percent by 2019 and gross national debt to 116.6 percent of GDP, which reached 24,600 euros per capita (EU place 18 of 28, EU average 31,600 euros).
Portugal is still the poorest old member of the EU: GDP per capita (in purchasing power parities) is around 78% of the average for EU countries before eastward enlargement, compared to around 50% in 1985. In comparison with the GDP of the EU expressed in purchasing power standards, Portugal has an index of 77 (EU-28:100) (2015). However, the development in the country is very different. If you only take the greater Lisbon area, the index here, at over 100, is now slightly above the European average (2014).
Portugal's gross domestic product was 193 billion euros in 2017. The gross domestic product per capita was around 18,700 euros in the same year.
In the Global Competitiveness Index, which measures a country's competitiveness, Portugal ranks 42nd out of 137 countries (as of 2017-2018). The country ranked 77th out of 180 countries in the 2017 Economic Freedom Index.
Structural problems have traditionally been cited as obstacles to
stronger growth in productivity and employment. First of all, there were
deficits in the education system, the relatively high illiteracy rate,
the partly poor infrastructure and the inefficient administration. Since
the late 1990s in particular, these deficits have been largely resolved.
The illiteracy rate in Portugal is now 5%, and the trend is falling (for
comparison: Germany 1%). In 2013, 24.6% of men and 36.1% of women
between the ages of 30 and 34 had a university degree (for comparison:
NRW 28.3% / 29.9%). In addition, the infrastructure in the country
experienced enormous investments, also with the help of the EU. The
result can be seen as an example of an above-average expansion of fiber
optic connections for fast Internet (2012: 10.3%, for comparison:
Germany 1.1%), and Portugal's motorway network is now one of the densest
in Europe, and founding a company online is within one day possible.
Award-winning developments such as the widespread Multibanco ATMs or the
Via Verde toll system can serve as examples of the country's ability to
innovate. After a boom phase up to the early 2000s, Portugal then
increasingly came into competition with the low-wage countries of
Central and Eastern Europe, Asia and North Africa, which made Portugal
less attractive for foreign direct investments. However, since 2009
these have been rising again significantly and amounted to over 57
billion euros in 2012. The average wages in Portugal are still low by
Western European standards and the working hours are sometimes much
In February 2022, unemployment in Portugal was 5.8 percent. Before the crisis, in 2008, the unemployment rate was 7.6 percent. By June 2018, it had fallen to 6.7 percent, falling below the pre-crisis level.
In 2014, 8.6% of all workers worked in agriculture, 23.9% in industry and 67.5% in the service sector. The total number of employees is estimated at 5.23 million for 2017; 48.8% of them are women.
About 80% of foreign trade is conducted with EU partners. The main
exports are clothing and shoes, vehicles, machines, chemical products,
cork and pulp and paper. Machines, vehicles, oil and oil products as
well as agricultural products are imported. Portugal traditionally had a
large trade balance deficit, but was able to increase its exports
significantly as part of its economic efforts after its deep economic
crisis after the euro crisis in 2010 and has had a trade surplus since
around 2012, which has tended to increase since then. The balance of
payments deficit was not as high as the balance of trade deficit due to
income from tourism and the remittances from the Portuguese abroad.
Foreign trade has become increasingly important for Portugal's economic policy since 2010. Also thanks to the efforts of the State Chamber of Foreign Trade AICEP and other actors, the country's exports in 2018 reached the Portuguese record of 44.3% of GDP, which was targeted by the government under socialist Prime Minister Costa - ahead of which also erupted in Portugal in March 2020 COVID-19 pandemic – further increase to 50% of GDP around 2025. Portugal is also becoming increasingly important as an IT location. Not only are more and more start-up companies settling in Portugal, with the LX Factory cluster in Lisbon being the best-known example, but also international corporations are relocating their development departments here, for example to Oeiras near Lisbon, or founding joint ventures, including German companies like BMW. Reasons are the large supply of qualified graduates, the good IT infrastructure and the comparatively low wage level.
Foreign investments come mainly from Spain, Germany and Great Britain. In the meantime, increasing investments from the oil-rich former Portuguese colony of Angola caused a stir, such as the purchase of Bank Banco BIC Português by an Angolan bank or the investments of Isabel dos Santos and others. in Portuguese media companies.
One of the most significant foreign investments in Portugal is the Autoeuropa automobile assembly plant. The most important internationally active Portuguese companies include Energias de Portugal, Portugal Telecom, the Jerónimo Martins group, which is particularly successful in retail, and the Sonae Group, which, for example, runs the Alexa shopping center on Berlin's Alexanderplatz.
According to the Portuguese transmission system operator REN, the
installed capacity of power plants in Portugal was 11,195 MW in 2010, of
which 6,561 MW (59%) was attributable to thermal power plants and 4,584
MW (41%) to hydroelectric power plants. A total of 48.5 billion kWh were
generated in 2010, of which 37.4 billion (77%) by thermal power plants
and 11.1 billion (23%) by hydroelectric power plants.
In recent years, wind energy has become an important factor in electricity supply. At the end of 2020, wind turbines with a nominal output of 5,486 MW were installed in Portugal (2019: 5,437 MW). In 2020, these covered a quarter of Portuguese electricity requirements at 25% (2019: 27%). Already in 2014, 27% had been achieved, which was the second highest value in the world and was only surpassed by Denmark with 39.1%. The generation of electricity from photovoltaics, on the other hand, is less important with an installed capacity of around 828 MW (2019), as is bioenergy with 891 MW. In 2020, renewable energies covered 61.7% of Portugal's electricity needs, with almost half coming from wind turbines. In May 2016, the country was powered exclusively by renewable energy for 107 hours or 4 days without interruption. At the end of 2008, the Alto Minho wind farm, Europe's largest onshore wind farm at the time, went into operation.
Based on the total final energy demand (electricity, heat, transport), renewable energies supplied 30.3% of the energy in 2018 (2013: 25.7%), by 2020 Portugal wanted to increase this share to 31%.
In mid-2021, almost two-thirds of the electricity generated in Portugal came from renewable sources (15.08 billion kWh) and just over a third from fossil sources, exclusively gas (7.68 billion kWh) and hard coal (0.22 billion .kWh). By the end of 2021, the last two coal-fired power plants in the country will have been shut down, with green hydrogen being produced at the Sines site in the future, while the second block at the Pego site will also be converted to gas.
By mid-2021, Portugal was already covering 79.5% of its electricity needs with renewables. This puts the country at the top of all EU countries and is only surpassed by Norway in Europe. In the first quarter of 2021, electricity generation in Portugal came from 44% hydro, 28% wind, 5.6% biomass and 2% solar. Fossil fuels accounted for 20.5%, of which 11% was natural gas, 8.2% combined heat and power and 1.6% coal.
Portugal is among the world's leading nations in tungsten production. Minable mineral resources also include coal, copper, tin, gold, iron ores such as pyrite and chalcopyrite, clay minerals such as kaolinite, wolframite, uraninite and lithium. In the second half of the 20th century, Portugal was considered an important supplier of uranium. However, uranium mining ceased at the beginning of the 21st century due to inefficiency. During the Second World War, Germany supplied itself with Portuguese tungsten for weapons production. The Hiroshima atomic bomb contained Portuguese uranium.
Portugal's agriculture is one of the most inefficient in Europe;
agriculture accounts for around 5% of GDP, but more than 15% of the
labor force is employed in agriculture. As a result, many businesses
have closed and almost half of the food is imported. The cultivation of
almonds, like the cork oak plantations (montados) in the Alentejo and in
the Douro Valley, is in deep crisis. It is true that Portugal is the
most important production country for raw cork with around 125,000 tons
and thus half of the amount harvested worldwide. Nevertheless, since the
turn of the millennium, the industry has been under strong pressure due
to the increasing popularity and international production of
synthetically manufactured alternative closures for wine bottles. The
hope of numerous cork farmers (tiradores) that Portuguese cork is
irreplaceable, at least for wines in the high-price segment, has not
been fulfilled either, because the trend away from natural products
towards cheaper alternatives made of plastic can also be observed in
expensive wines. The consequences of this development are numerous
company insolvencies and emigration from the cork-growing regions.
Portugal's government and the cork industry are now reacting to the
development with worldwide "green marketing" advertising campaigns in
which winegrowers are to be convinced of the ecological sustainability
of the natural product cork. In addition, cork, as a versatile and very
light material with its water-repellent, heat- and rot-resistant,
heat-insulating and sound-insulating properties, is gaining importance
as an ecological alternative, for example as a floor covering or
insulating material. Cork is also attracting increasing attention in
shoe and clothing fashion, also as a vegan leather substitute.
For the pulp industry, an important economic factor in Portugal, large areas are reforested with fast-growing eucalyptus as a raw material. This is of ecological concern because eucalyptus leaches the soil, crowds out the original forest and thus wildlife, and encourages catastrophic forest fires in summer.
Similar to agriculture, fishing is struggling with productivity problems. The Portuguese fishing fleet is underdeveloped compared to the Spanish one. Most of the fish is imported.
Tourism is responsible for around eight percent of GDP and growing,
with most visitors coming from Spain and the UK. With over 11.4 million
tourists, Portugal was the 30th most visited country in the world in
2016. The Algarve is the undisputed center.
15 sites in Portugal are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including two in the Azores and one in Madeira.
The three Germans Kopke, Burmester and Andresen made a decisive contribution to the development of port wine for the international marketing of port wine from the oldest wine-growing region, the Alto Douro, from the 17th century.
The palaces with parks near Sintra and Portugal's largest castle and monastery complex in Mafra were planned by the German master builders von Eschwege and Ludwig.
In the Algarve, Sétubal and the Madeira and Azores archipelagos there are opportunities to experience both dolphins and whales in the wild.
Tourism on the Atlantic island of Madeira began in the mid-19th century; the island was one of the favorite destinations of wealthy British travellers. They mainly stayed at the Reid's Palace hotel, which the Scotsman William Reid had built in 1891.
international economic Relations
Memberships: EU, Council of Europe, Eurozone, OECD, WTO, Ibero-American Conference of Nations, Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, etc.
State Chamber of Commerce: Agência para o Investimento e Comércio Externo de Portugal (AICEP)
In 2018, Portugal exported goods and services worth EUR 89.211 billion. Imports in the same period amounted to 87.211 billion euros, leaving the country with a trade surplus of 2 billion euros.
The main destination countries for Portuguese exports in 2018 were Spain (25.27%), France (12.27%), Germany (11.48%), Great Britain (6.36%), the USA (4.94%), Italy (4.25%), the Netherlands (3.81%), Angola (2.60%), Belgium (2.34%) and Brazil (1.46%).
Portugal's imports came mainly from Spain (31.43%), Germany (13.85%), France (7.63%), Italy (5.32%), the Netherlands (5.20%), China ( 3.14%), Belgium (2.88%), Great Britain (2.51%), the USA (1.8%) and from Russia (1.78%).
In 2019, the state budget included revenues of EUR 91.01 billion and
expenditure of EUR 90.6 billion, resulting in a slight budget surplus of
around EUR 600 million. This was a sign of the positive economic
development and good budget policy in Portugal, after the country had
mostly had a budget deficit for many years. In 2016, budget expenditures
of $92.2 billion were offset by revenues of $87.2 billion, resulting in
a budget deficit of $5.0 billion or 2.4% of GDP.
The national debt was 127.9 billion euros or 76.1% of GDP in 2009 (according to the following table 83.6%), it is now over 100% of GDP. On April 6, 2011, the Prime Minister of Portugal announced that the country would accept financial aid from the European Union in the wake of the debt crises of eurozone countries. Since 2014, the country no longer needs EU financial aid.
In 2011, new borrowing was 4.2% of GDP. Portugal thus clearly met the EU's prescribed savings target of 5.9% of GDP. However, this was only possible through additional payments from pension funds (transfer of the pension funds of the state savings bank CGD to the state budget), otherwise the deficit would have been 7.7%.
In the Logistics Performance Index, which is compiled by the World
Bank and measures the quality of infrastructure, Portugal ranked 23rd
out of 160 countries in 2018.
The road network has grown rapidly and is well developed since the 1980s, not least thanks to EU funds from development funds. In 2008, the entire road network comprised about 82,900 km, of which 71,294 km are paved. The major routes are covered by toll autoestradas. These reach a total length of 1100 km and are mostly operated by the listed company Brisa. On the other hand, Itinerários Principais (IP) or Itinerários Complementares (IC) are free of charge. The investments in road traffic become clear not least in the accident statistics. In 2008, 83 people per 1 million inhabitants died in Portugal's road traffic after 323 in 1991 (compared to 54 per 1 million in Germany in 2008).
Long-distance bus transport is more important in Portugal than in Central Europe. The main bus company is Rede Expressos.
The railway network in Portugal is relatively wide-meshed. The
state-owned company Infraestruturas de Portugal manages a rail network
that has a total length of 2789 km. Of these, 188 km are narrow gauge,
607 km are multi-lane. Trains are provided by the state Comboios de
Portugal and by the private Fertagus. However, the connections are
efficient on the main traffic routes, the high-speed train Alfa Pendular
offers the fastest connections between the metropolitan areas, the
maximum speed in regular operation is depending on the route and series
from 250 km/h to 300 km/h.
International trains connect Portugal with cities in Spain. There is also a connection to Irun on the Spanish-French border with a direct TGV connection to Paris.
There is a subway in Lisbon. Porto has a light rail system and a separate tram service. Other trams exist in Lisbon and south of the Tagus.
The five main airports in Portugal are Lisbon, Porto, Faro, Ponta
Delgada and Funchal. They are served by several airlines, with the
Portuguese lines TAP Portugal, SATA Air Açores and Portugália Airlines
offering the most connections. In 2006, Portuguese airports handled a
total of 22 million passengers and 135,000 tons of cargo. Traffic was
expected to increase to 46.8 million passengers and 259,000 tons of
cargo by 2025.
In view of the increasing number of passengers, it was decided to create a new commercial airport (Novo Aeroporto Lisboa) in addition to the existing Lisbon airport. It is to be built on the little-used military airport in Montijo. This is on the south bank of the Tagus. Operations are scheduled to start in 2022. The start of construction and the opening, originally planned for 2017, were postponed indefinitely in 2010 due to the financial crisis.
The main ports of Portugal are in Aveiro, Porto, Lisbon, Sines and Setúbal. In 2007, almost 70% of all imports came into the country by sea, while 41% of exports went through the ports. Of the 58 million tons, 39% went through the port of Sines. The ports are being modernized and their transport links improved so that they can handle a larger part of Spain's foreign trade. Of the rivers, the Douro and the Tejo are navigable.
In 2019, around 4,100 professional and around 45,000 voluntary firefighters were organized in the fire brigade in Portugal, who worked in over 470 fire stations and fire stations, in which 1,600 fire engines and turntable ladders or telescopic masts were available. The national fire brigade association Liga Dos Bombeiros Portugueses represents the Portuguese fire brigade in the world fire brigade association CTIF.
Portugal is sometimes referred to as the land of poets. Poetry has
always been more influential than prose in Portuguese literature. In the
Middle Ages, when the Portuguese nation came into being, poetry was
widespread in the north-west of the Iberian Peninsula. Excellent epic
and lyrical works were created. While the best-known classical poets are
Luís de Camões and Fernando Pessoa, there are a number of lesser-known
artists who have had a significant impact on modern Portuguese
Prose developed later than poetry and only emerged in the fourteenth century in the form of chronicles or descriptions of the lives of saints. Here Fernão Lopes is the most famous representative; he wrote a chronicle of the reigns of three kings of his time. Accuracy of portrayal and vivid depiction were most important to him. Internationally, Portuguese modern literature is best known, particularly with the works of José Maria Eça de Queiroz and the 1998 Nobel Prize winner in Literature, José Saramago.
Women can also be found among the country's major contemporary writers, notably Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, Lídia Jorge and Agustina Bessa-Luís. Most recently, Valter Hugo Mãe was able to make a name for himself among the young authors.
Film art has a long tradition in Portugal. Internationally, the
country's sophisticated auteur films enjoy a good reputation among
cineastes, but award-winning directors such as João Botelho or João
Canijo are not well known to the general public, even in Portugal.
Although the film industry here is also determined by international
large-scale productions and multiplex cinemas, there is still a lively
film club movement and a number of different film festivals in the
country, which hired new directors such as the very different Miguel
Gomes, Jorge Pelicano or Fernando Fragata, as well as young actors with
names such as Ana Moreira, Diogo Infante or Lúcia Moniz.
The most well-known Portuguese director is Manoel de Oliveira († April 2, 2015), who, at over 100 years old (born in 1908), was the oldest working director in the world and the last living one to be shooting during the silent film era. The best-known actors are Maria de Medeiros, who was Bruce Willis' co-star in Pulp Fiction, and Joaquim de Almeida, with his numerous Hollywood roles.
Portugal's main musical form is fado, which can be very melancholic and has contributed to the stereotype of the melancholy Portuguese (vs. the spirited Spaniards). This music is closely associated with saudade (roughly: longing) and was probably created by mixing the songs of Portuguese seafarers with the rhythms of African slaves. A distinction is made here between two styles, namely the more varied, popular fado from Lisbon and the academic fado from Coimbra, sung only by men. The internationally most famous fado song was April in Portugal, which was published in a few hundred versions worldwide and comes from Raul Ferrão, and also combines the fado of Coimbra with that of Lisbon. Amália Rodrigues was the most important fado artist. After her death, several musicians stepped out of her shadow and created new forms of fado, some of which only have the saudade in common with the original fado, but others deliberately stick to traditional fado patterns . In recent years, the number of fado releases and its public presence has increased again, thanks to the success of young singers such as Mariza, Camané or Ana Moura. In the former colonies of Portugal, fado also spread and developed into the Cape Verdean morna of a Cesária Évora and the Brazilian choro. One of the fado-influenced groups known today in German-speaking countries is Madredeus with the singer Teresa Salgueiro.
Since the Middle Ages, sacred music has been very important in
Portugal as part of the strong Portuguese Catholicism and reached its
peak in the Renaissance. In the field of sacred vocal polyphony,
Portugal had a remarkable generation of Portuguese composers who shaped
the musical history of Portugal in the 16th and 17th centuries: Estêvão
de Brito (c. 1575-1641), Filipe de Magalhães (c.1571-1652) , Duarte Lobo
(1565–1646) and Manuel Cardoso (1566–1650). This so-called generation of
polyphonists from Évora represents the heyday of sacred music in
In the field of classical music, Portugal has no internationally renowned composers. In the 18th and 19th centuries it was individual composers such as Carlos Seixas, João Domingos Bomtempo, José Vianna da Motta or Luís de Freitas Branco who wrote works that were important for Portugal, but did not achieve any notable international attention. In contrast, Luísa Todi (La Todi, 1753–1833) was one of the most famous singers in Europe of her time.
In the 20th century, the tradition of Portuguese classical music was continued by composers such as Emmanuel Nunes, António Victorino de Almeida and Eurico Carrapatoso. Tenor Lomelino Silva rose to international fame in the 1920s and 1930s, but fell into oblivion thereafter. At the end of the 20th century, Portugal boasted internationally renowned composers: Emmanuel Nunes, who held a teaching position in Paris, among others, Jorge Peixinho, who can be described as the most important figure of contemporary Portuguese music of his generation, and Joao Pedro Oliveira, who held teaching positions in Portugal and Brazil.
Maria Joao Pires, Mário Laginha, Pedro Burmester, António Pinho Vargas and Bernardo Sassetti became important modern composers and interpreters across national borders in both classical music and jazz.
The jazz club Hot Clube de Portugal in Lisbon is the oldest existing jazz club in Europe. With a series of jazz festivals and numerous musicians, the jazz scene is still alive in the country, with names like trumpeter Sei Miguel, bassist Carlos Bica, guitarist Manuel Mota, or the well-known singer Maria João. Portugal has a number of active musicians in free jazz and new improvisational music, such as Carlos Zingaro, Ernesto Rodrigues, Carlos Maria Trindade and Vítor Rua.
The former Madredeus musician Rodrigo Leão was able to make a name for himself both at home and internationally with his modern-classical compositions in a contemporary yet traditional guise. Accordion quartet Danças Ocultas have also received some international attention. Portugal also won the 62nd Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev in 2017 with singer Salvador Sobral.
From the time of the fascist Estado Novo under Salazar comes a
critical songwriting tradition. The best-known representatives of this
protest movement were José Afonso (often called Zeca) and Adriano
Correia de Oliveira, while representatives of the movement such as José
Mário Branco and especially Sérgio Godinho are still active in the music
scene today. The song Grândola, Vila Morena was written by José Afonso
and had a political symbolic effect throughout the country on the night
of the Carnation Revolution and beyond.
The musical traditions of the various regions are also constantly being revived and interpreted in a contemporary way, often through the combination of different musical styles. Artists such as Trovante, Júlio Pereira or Rão Kyao, a composer, musician and singer of Portuguese music and Fado, has made a name for himself by absorbing musical influences from Indian music (Goa, former Portuguese colony), from Macau (former Portuguese colony), from the Arab world and made a name out of North Africa.
The pop music genre, which was introduced in Portugal in the 1960s
primarily with beat bands such as Quinteto Académico, Conjunto Académico
João Paulo and especially the Sheiks, has been able to rise alongside
rock music to become the defining music of youth since the 1980s, with
names like Heróis do Mar, the dolphins, or the eccentric singer António
Variações, who died young. The band The Gift has caused a similar stir
among music lovers in the country in recent years with their
multi-layered pop and their Amália Rodrigues tribute project Hoje, as
has Silence 4 and their now solo singer David Fonseca. The first
Eurodance group in Portugal, "Santamaria", also brought techno beats to
The rock and blues singer, guitarist and composer Rui Veloso was able to make a name for himself beyond national borders. In addition to well-known groups such as GNR or UHF, the undisputedly most popular rock band in the country are the Xutos & Pontapés, founded as a punk band in 1978, while Moonspell is the internationally most famous metal band from Portugal. Bands such as the Tédio Boys, which began as a psychobilly band, or the punk band Censurados have given rise to some of the most influential formations in the diverse underground and independent scenes in the country. Mata-Ratos are the oldest surviving band in Portugal's punk scene.
Each region of Portugal has its own style of folklore (ranchos folclóricos). Projects like the pop bands Sétima Legião or Sitiados combine them with contemporary pop styles. The Portuguese music and dance tradition has mixed in Brazil with the traditions of the slaves from today's Angola to the samba and is also popular in Portugal in this mixture. Kuduro is particularly popular among Angolan immigrants. This is a style of music that includes influences from Sungura and Afro Zouk. The rhythm is fast and hard. The widespread Kizomba is a hybrid of the Angolan Semba and Zouk. These are mostly romantic songs with correspondingly slow rhythms. These two styles of music (especially kizomba) are popular with the younger generation of African immigrants. In recent years, this genre of music has spread among young people of culturally Portuguese origin.
In addition, hip hop tuga, a version of hip hop adapted to Portugal and popular among young people, has developed in Portugal. Best-known representatives were Da Weasel and Sam the Kid. Reggae has also become more popular in Portugal after the success of the group Kussondulola, with contemporary performers such as Richie Campbell, Mercado Negro or Freddy Locks.
In the field of artistic dance, Portugal has been quite successful
since the early 1990s and, together with Russia, is one of the most
important countries in Europe in this field. Numerous dancers and
choreographers have achieved fame throughout Europe or the world: Rui
Horta, João Fiadeiro, Clara Andermatt. Modern and innovative forms are
often used and new styles are developed. Portugal is regularly involved
in the training of young dancers. The dance culture in Portugal is
called Nova Dança Portuguesa.
In painting and sculpture, Portuguese artists never achieved great prominence. This was due to various reasons: On the one hand, there were no new, innovative techniques and forms from the country. Often many paintings and sculptures dedicated to the glory of God were created only for specific monasteries or churches, without the names of the artists being known (who often intentionally did not give their names). In addition, the often difficult pronunciation of Portuguese names and the destruction of art by the earthquake of 1755 and by Napoleonic troops at the beginning of the 19th century played a decisive role. Nevertheless, Portugal has also produced many painters. Today's painting is aligned with the tendencies of modern painting.
In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance it was often foreign painters who worked in Portugal, for example from Flanders, who were not famous painters but were able to work in Portugal because they had been ousted by the great masters of their country. Important names from this period were Nuno Gonçalves, Gregorio Lopes and Grão Vasco.
Baroque, Rococo and the beginning of the 19th century were covered by painters such as Domingos de Sequeira, Vieira Portuense or Francisco Augusto Metrass.
Then, in the 20th century, many painters came: Paula Rego, Almada Negreiros, Mário Eloy, Santa Rita Pintor, Maria Helena Vieira da Silva, Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso and many others.
Architectural styles encompass almost all epochs of European art
history. Monasteries, churches, castles, palaces and state institutions
were often built according to the styles prevalent in Europe, such as
e.g. B. Gothic or Neoclassicism, built. Architect Álvaro Siza Vieira
received the Pritzker Prize, as did his compatriot Eduardo Souto de
Moura. Other well-known architects were or are Raoul Mesnier de Ponsard
(an Eiffel student), Miguel Ventura Terra, Tomas Taveira.
In terms of decoration (architectural decoration), Portugal was able to achieve its own national touch, primarily through Manuelism and Azulejo art.
Portuguese cuisine is diverse, following in some respects the Iberian
tradition, but also absorbing many elements from the colonized areas.
Many North African influences also remained after Moorish rule over
Portugal, including heavy use of sugar, cinnamon, spices, and egg yolk.
Bacalhau is the national dish of Portugal. This type of dried and salted fish has played an important role in the Portuguese diet since the 13th century. Today, Portuguese cuisine is said to have a bacalhau recipe for every day of the year. Sardines, the cheapest food in the country in the 16th century, are still a traditional food today. Grilled sardines (Sardinhas Assadas) are very popular, especially in summer. Numerous other dishes such as Caldeirada, Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato, Rissóis de Camarão or Arroz de marisco underline the importance of fish and other seafood in Portuguese cuisine.
Also typical are soups such as caldo verde, a kale and potato soup made from the Portuguese cabbage couve-galega, which is typically served with broa (cornbread) and chouriço, or the sopa alentejana with bread, egg, coriander, garlic and olive oil. Meat was eaten very little in medieval Portugal, but sausages (enchidos) are common and there are some famous meat dishes such as cozido à portuguesa or the popular quick dish Francesinha. Frango Assado (Grilled Chicken), particularly seasoned with spicy piri-piri, is now a common dish that came to Portugal from the African colonies. There is also a long tradition in cheese making, with Queijo do Pico, Queijo Serra da Estrela and Queijo de Azeitão being worth mentioning.
Desserts have a very important place in Portugal. The famous Pastéis de Nata (Pastéis de Belém) is a specialty from Belém and has spread to large parts of Southeast Asia via Macau in recent years. Some of the numerous other desserts are the pastéis de tentúgal, the ovos moles de Aveiro, or the bolo rei, which is particularly widespread at Christmas. Traditionally roasted chestnuts are sold at small street stalls, especially in autumn.
Portugal is known for its wine. Since Roman times, Portugal has been associated with the god of wine and festivals, Bacchus/Dionysus. Some Portuguese wines are among the best in the world. A well-known wine specialty is the sparkling, sparkling Vinho Verde. Port wine is world-famous, while another well-known liqueur wine from Portugal, Madeira, comes from the island of Madeira. There are also some local breweries.
In June, festivals are held throughout Portugal in honor of the three popular saints (Santos Populares). These three saints are Antony, John and Peter. It is celebrated with wine, água-pé (must), traditional bread with sardines, street parades and dances, weddings, fireworks and lots of good humour. Particularly well-known are the street parades, the Marchas Populares, in the capital Lisbon, where dance groups from the historic districts compete against each other.
Santo António is celebrated on the night of June 12-13, especially in Lisbon (where this saint was born and lived) where a kind of street carnival (Marchas Populares) takes place. On these days there are weddings, the Casamentos de Santo António. The most popular saint is São João (St. John), who is celebrated on St. John's Day in Porto and Braga in particular, with sardines and caldo verde (a traditional soup). Celebrations are held in honor of São Pedro on June 28th and 29th, especially in Póvoa de Varzim and Barcelos, these festivals being dedicated to the sea. There are fires (fogeiras) and a street carnival.
Football is the most practiced sport in Portugal. Portuguese football has produced world-class players such as Eusébio, Nené, Paulo Sousa, Rui Costa, Nani, Cristiano Ronaldo, Vítor Baía, Deco, Fernando Meira and Luís Figo. In 2004, the European Football Championship was held in Portugal, where the Portuguese national team finished runners-up after Greece. Finishing third at the 1966 World Cup was the biggest success in Portuguese football history for a long time, until winning the 2016 Euro in France. The top division, the Primeira Divisão, is dominated by the three most important clubs FC Porto, Sporting Lisbon and the record champions Benfica Lisbon. The first winner of the Taça de Portugal national cup was Académica Coimbra in 1939, which won it again in 2012 and has a special history thanks to its role as an oppositional student association in the 1960s. Other traditional clubs are Belenenses Lisbon, Boavista Porto and Vitória Setúbal. Apart from football, futsal and beach football are also common and Portugal have had success there.
Portugal can also boast successes in canoeing, such as its silver medal at the 2012 Olympics. The Portuguese canoe manufacturer Nelo is the world market leader and also equipped the majority of the successful Olympic competitors in 2012. In the small town of Montemor-o-Velho, the Portuguese canoe association has its center of excellence. International events have also been held here several times, most recently the 2013 European Canoe Racing Championships.
In particular, Portuguese long-distance runners were often
internationally successful. The best-known female runner might be
Olympic gold medalist Rosa Mota, while Carlos Lopes won Portugal's
first-ever Olympic gold medal in marathon running in 1984.
The 2014 European Orienteering Championships were hosted by Portugal. Since 1991, one of the world's most important half marathons, the Lisbon Half Marathon, has taken place in the capital every year in March.
The Circuito do Estoril, a well-known race track for car and
motorcycle races, is located near the seaside resort of Estoril, near
the Atlantic coast. For years, the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Portugal was
held there. The circuit in Estoril is also used as a test track for
In the port city of Portimão is the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, which hosts the Superbike World Championship and the FIA GT Championship. In 2020, the first Portuguese Formula 1 Grand Prix since 1996 was held on this track.
In the city of Santarém there is a well-known speedway stadium, which has also hosted international championships, such as the European Speedway Club Championship in 2000.
Since 1927, the Volta a Portugal has been a nationwide popular cycling race. Popular cyclists were the first professional athlete in Portugal in 1896, José Bento Pessoa, the two-time Tour de France third Joaquim Agostinho, or Alves Barbosa, who at the height of his popularity in 1958 became the title hero of the first work of Portuguese film in Cinemascope.
The coasts in the south and west offer ideal conditions for surfing
all year round. Some of Europe's best surf spots attract surfers from
all over the world, such as Ericeira, the world's third and Europe's
first surf reserve. Among the many other surf spots are the traditional
seaside resort of Figueira da Foz, the Praia do Guincho beach near
Lisbon, or the former fishing village of Nazaré, which is known for its
particularly large waves. Since 2010, Portugal has been one of the
official stops of the WSL Championship Tour. Every year, the country
hosts the “MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal” at Supertubos Beach in Peniche.
The best Portuguese surfer is Frederico Morais. In 2017, he finished
14th in his rookie year on the WSL Championship Tour. Vasco Ribeiro won
the Men's World Junior Championships in 2014 and Teresa Bonvalot won the
European Women's Junior Championships in 2016 and 2017.
Sailing has a long tradition in Portugal. The Azores are particularly well-known for this, for example with the Les Sables-Les Açores-Les Sables regatta or the internationally renowned meeting point, the city of Horta. Sailing events also take place in the Algarve and in the greater Lisbon area. For example, the 2007 ISAF World Sailing Championships took place in Cascais, which is also known for its marina.
With the ATP Estoril (from 1990) for men and the WTA Oeiras
(1999-2014) for women, well-known international tennis tournaments of
the highest tournament series take place in Portugal. Formerly held
tournaments were the ATP Porto (1995-1996) and WTA Porto (2001-2002). In
addition, some tournaments of the ATP Challenger Tour have been and will
be held in Portugal. Most recently, João Sousa from Guimarães was the
most promising Portuguese tennis player. On July 14, 2014, he achieved
his best placing in the tennis world rankings with 35th place.
For Portuguese badminton, on the other hand, Caldas da Rainha is the most important place, for example as a frequent venue for tournaments of Portugal International, and as the seat of the Portuguese Badminton Federation. The most successful player is Isabel Rocha, who won a total of 32 national titles in the 1960s and 1970s. One particularly successful male player is José Bento. He came from Lourenço Marques, the capital of the then Portuguese colony of Mozambique, now called Maputo, and dominated badminton in Portugal, especially during the 1970s.
The snowboard championships in the Serra da Estrela ski areas or the Portuguese ice hockey association Federação Portuguesa de Desportos no Gelo are rather unknown outside of Portugal.
With 13 national championships, Joaquim Durão is the record champion in chess. The most successful female player is Catarina Leite, while chess grandmaster Luís Galego is probably the most important chess player in Portugal at the moment.
The Portuguese Chess Federation FPX (Federação Portuguesa de Xadrez) has been a member of the world association FIDE since it was founded in 1927 and organizes the most important tournaments in the country, including the national cup (Taça de Portugal) and the tripartite league for clubs (Campeonatos Nacionais por Equipa), with the Primeira Divisão as the top division. Today in Portugal over 100 chess clubs and around 4,000 players are organized in the FPX.
Chess became particularly popular in Portugal in the 14th and 15th
centuries. King D. João I praised chess as excellent military training
in his book Livro de Montaria in the early 14th century, and D. João II
liked to play it, especially when travelling.
In 1512 the chess book Libro da imparare giocare a scachi, written in Italian and distributed throughout Europe, by the Portuguese Damiano de Odemira was published in Rome. Pietro Carrera's Il Gioco degli Scacchi, published in 1617, also included a list of the best chess players. The Portuguese King D. Sebastião I was listed there in 32nd place, after Ruy López and ahead of the Spanish King Philip II, who organized the world's first international chess tournament in 1575. Damiano de Odemira was listed 25th, however he was listed as Spaniard as Portugal had fallen by succession to Spain in 1580 (Iberian Union, until 1640).
José Oliveira de Sousa is the most successful Portuguese darts
player. In 2020 he won the Grand Slam of Darts, making it the first time
a Portuguese has won a darts major tournament.
Portuguese athletes are internationally successful in beach volleyball and especially in roller hockey, where they alternate with Spain as record roller hockey world champions. Traditional Portuguese sports such as jogo do pau, on the other hand, are largely unknown internationally.
Rugby union is also growing in popularity. Portugal qualified for the Rugby World Cup for the first time in 2007, but finished bottom in the group stage at the tournament in France. Portugal is one of the contenders for the European Rugby Union Championship, where it meets other up-and-coming national teams. 2003/04 you could win this tournament for the first time. The home stadium is the Estádio Universitário de Lisboa in Lisbon.
Portugal hosted a large number of international sporting events, in addition to the 2004 European Football Championship, there were various tournaments such as the 1994 Men's European Handball Championship, the 2003 World Handball Championship and the games in the Portuguese-speaking countries, the Jogos da Lusofonia 2009. Inline Speed Skating European Championships have been held in Portugal several times, in 1989, 1995, 2001 and 2007.
Starting with medieval and monastic collections, Portugal has a long
library tradition. A variety of library types have developed to this
day, such as academic libraries, university libraries, public libraries,
central administration libraries and special libraries. The exact number
of libraries and the total holdings of media are not known (the 1986
LIB2 study identified 556 Portuguese libraries). Systematic and
methodical work to promote public librarianship and library science
began at the end of the 19th century.
During the Estado Novo period (1928–1974), the importance of libraries and library work itself was severely limited by censorship and restrictions. As a result, there are still deficits in the development of the education and library system. Decades of dictatorship favored a lack of popular education and illiteracy. After the Carnation Revolution in 1974, there was democratization in the educational and cultural sectors.
Systematic adult education and reading promotion were carried out to combat the lack of popular education and illiteracy. The worrying situation of public libraries resulted in numerous initiatives and new regulations within the library system, e.g. B. 1983 the "Manifesto of Public Reading". In 1986 this was backed up by legislation to create and coordinate a public reading network. At the same time, the automation of library work and the use of modern information technology came relatively late in Portugal, initially in university libraries and the national library "Biblioteca Nacional de Lisboa".
The latter was the first public library, founded in 1796 as the Royal Public Court Library. She runs e.g. B. the national bibliographic database PORBASE. This contains over 1 million title entries, 800,000 author entries from around 134 libraries and documentation centers and the Portuguese National Bibliography. The National Library and probably almost all other libraries work with the CDS/ISIS library system and the UNIMARC data exchange format.
An archivist and librarian training is possible by studying at the state universities of Coimbra, Lisbon and Porto. Some institutions, some of which are state-owned, take on coordination tasks and support the promotion of Portuguese books and the cooperation and support of libraries.
Through extensive innovative work in recent years, the Portuguese library system has managed to catch up with European and international standards. Any deficits that still exist are to be further reduced by promoting reading and libraries and through international cooperation.
Four main television channels can be received by antenna across the
country: RTP1 and RTP2, operated by the Portuguese state broadcaster
Rádio e Televisão de Portugal (RTP), and the private channels SIC (Grupo
Sonae) and TVI (Media Capital, of which 32% RTL- groups). The
programming of these channels, apart from the culturally oriented RTP2,
is strongly determined by Brazilian and Portuguese telenovelas,
especially in the evening; the news programs are very long, usually
lasting one to two hours, and are highly focused on current affairs in
Portugal. In view of the small domestic market, foreign-language feature
films are rarely dubbed, but shown with subtitles. The international
broadcaster RTP Internacional can u. can also be received in Central
Europe and shows a selection of the four programmes, while RTP África
reports from the Portuguese-speaking countries of Africa. There are also
a large number of cable channels, in particular Sport TV and Brazilian
channels. There are local stations in Porto and Lisbon, and RTP also has
its own broadcasting stations in Madeira and the Azores.
There are about 150 radio stations in Portugal. The stations of the RTP, the Catholic Rádio Renascença and the TSF can be received nationwide. The RTP can also be heard on shortwave in Central Europe, but only in Portuguese.
Among the many newspapers printed in Portugal, a process of consolidation and concentration is taking place, with many of the small papers having to give up. Important daily newspapers are the conservative-liberal Diário de Notícias, the left-liberal Público (both from Lisbon) and the Jornal de Notícias from Porto, as well as the tabloid Correio da Manhã. Important weekly newspapers are Expresso and Sol, as well as the political weekly magazine Visão and the music newspaper Blitz. Jornal de Letras is one of the most important cultural newspapers in the country, while Jornal de Negócios and Diário Económico are the most important business newspapers. Destak and Metro are the main free newspapers in Portugal.
Sports newspapers, which appear daily and deal almost exclusively with football, have very large circulations - the most important being O Jogo, A Bola and Record. A Bola, affiliated with Benfica Lisbon, is the highest-circulation newspaper in Portugal.
The operators of the Football Leaks site are whistleblowers from Portugal.
The numerous local newspapers are also important. Regional newspapers include OMIRANTE and Diário As Beiras.
In the field of gossip press, the weekly magazines Maria and Nova Gente have the highest circulation. The most important party newspaper is the Avante! from the Portuguese Communist Party.
In 2021, 82.3 percent of Portuguese residents used the internet.