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An Overview of Portugal

Updated on December 20, 2014

Talking about my homeland, Portugal

Portugal is my homeland, so I’ll have a lot to write about it, not only in this hub, but also in the future. I’ve visited almost all Portuguese territory (I’m missing the Azores Islands). Portugal is a very beautiful and diverse country. In Portugal you can find great beaches for the summer and snow-covered mountains for the winter. You have a great diversity of accents and customs.
Portuguese people are, generally speaking, very nice and welcoming, from north to south, but especially in the northern area. If you only go to Algarve, you will have good beach holidays, but I tend to say that you never know the real Portugal. Portuguese small towns and villages, from north to south, are one of the best things the country has to offer.

Guimarães Castle (where the nation was born)
Guimarães Castle (where the nation was born)
Berlengas
Berlengas
Berlengas
Berlengas
Constância
Constância

Communication Problems?

If you don’t speak Portuguese, don't worry! Most people have enough English knowledge to talk to you. If you also can't speak English, don't worry, just make gestures and point, most people will be glad to help, and if you are able to say obrigado (thank you) in the end of the "conversation", people will be delighted because you tried to speak their language!

Évora
Évora
Lisbon
Lisbon
Berlengas
Berlengas
Alenquer
Alenquer

Driving in Portugal

The Portuguese are, in general, aggressive drivers. Of course this depends from region to region but, especially if you are British, you will find them mad. They are not as fast as the French, but generally they don’t respect the speed limits and often make some dangerous manoeuvres. On another hand, you have a lot of highways (all paid) where you have little traffic (and also where you will lose most of the beauty of trip).

Lisbon (the Lisbon Cathedral)
Lisbon (the Lisbon Cathedral)
Madeira Island road with some very nice cows invading it
Madeira Island road with some very nice cows invading it
Serra da Estrela road, covered by snow
Serra da Estrela road, covered by snow

Eating in Portugal

Well, I am Portuguese so I think I can't be impartial when analysing this aspect, but I find the food really good. You can find great and affordable meals all over the country. My favourite cuisine is from Alentejo (the southern region between Lisbon and Algarve), but the best region to eat "good and cheap" food is in the North. There you can eat well, and a lot, in almost every small “tavern", paying very little for the full meal. Portugal also has good wine, good cheeses, and great coffee.

Óbidos
Óbidos
Guimarães (the Statue of the first Portuguese King D. Afonso Henriques and the Castle)
Guimarães (the Statue of the first Portuguese King D. Afonso Henriques and the Castle)
Madeira Island
Madeira Island

Cleaning and care in Portugal

It is generally a clean country. I think the Portuguese miss a bit of pride in their country, so things aren’t as good as they could be. There are a lot of modern buildings in historical areas and that shouldn’t happen, and wouldn’t happen if people were a little prouder of their little typical things. Besides that, it’s a safe country to be in. It’s clean, nice and pleasant.

Madeira Island, Typical houses of Santana
Madeira Island, Typical houses of Santana
Alenquer
Alenquer
Castelo Novo
Castelo Novo

General cost in Portugal

Supermarkets are not very expensive. Petrol is at an average price for European standards. Eating, as I mentioned, is very cheap. Hotels are more affordable than in most Western Europe. It's a great country to spend some affordable and nice holidays.

Rotores de Portugal (Portuguese Air Force helicopter aerobatic team)
Rotores de Portugal (Portuguese Air Force helicopter aerobatic team)
Berlengas
Berlengas
Berlengas
Berlengas

Attractiveness and interest of Portugal

Portugal has amazing typical small villages and towns. There are a lot of wonderful monuments from the monarchy time (Portugal is a republic now). Some of the most beautiful beaches in the world are in Portugal. In the winter you have snow in Serra da Estrela and in the northern region. The North is absolutely fascinating, with a lot of history and culture from the formation of the Portuguese Kingdom. And in Alentejo you can find the most typical countryside. The capital, Lisbon, is very beautiful, and some of its surroundings (like Sintra or Mafra) are absolutely "must see" points.

Besides all this, Portugal has three archipelagos: the Azores, Madeira and the very little, and forgotten, Berlengas. All them filled with astonishing beauty.

Madeira
Madeira
Castelo de Almourol, Tancos
Castelo de Almourol, Tancos
Óbidos
Óbidos
Berlengas
Berlengas

Share your experience

Have you ever been to Portugal. What is your opinion?

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Video of a boat ride in Berlengas

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    • WiredForSense profile image

      WiredForSense 3 years ago

      I have been on holiday to the Algarve and can highly recommend the western area in and around Lagos. Easy to hire a car and roads were excellent.

    • Sara Jofre profile image
      Author

      Sarah 3 years ago from Portugal

      Thank you PinoyMum :)

      Peachpurple, I do have some of our traditional recipes. I hope to make some hubs on that in the future ;) After the Holly-days ;)

      Elsie Hagley, I've never been to NZ, but from the "Lord of the Rings" landscape I believe it is very beautiful. That photo, from the cows in the road is from our Madeira island, where I lived for 2 years, and some of its landscapes reminded me the images from NZ ;)

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 3 years ago from New Zealand

      Very interesting photos, i love seeing what other countries look like and yours cover a wide range of subjects by the beautiful pictures.

      I like the one with the animals on the road, in NZ where I live you would get them of the road pretty quick or they would get hit by a car, where in your photo they seem to be quite at home wandering on the road.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      since portugal is your country, do you have their special recipes?

    • PinoyMom profile image

      Shiela Gerona 3 years ago from Philippines

      Great pictures. I'd never been to other countries. I felt like I'm travelling that place just by reading your wonderful hub.

    • Sara Jofre profile image
      Author

      Sarah 3 years ago from Portugal

      Hi Peach, Portugal is, officially, a secular state. But more than 80% of the population call themselves Christians, of course that, from those, the majority don't go to church... so I really can't understand what kind of Christians they claim to be ;).

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      is portugis a christian country? I would love to visit there since english is accepted

    • Sara Jofre profile image
      Author

      Sarah 3 years ago from Portugal

      If you speak Spanish you are able to understand Portuguese (if people speak slowly) since most words are very similar. Portuguese people also understand perfectly Spanish. I don't know why, but it's easier for us to understand Spanish than to the Spanish to understand Portuguese (maybe it's because our language is more "closed" than theirs. In Madeira is hard to walk on beaches 'cause most of them are rock beaches ;) but there is "Porto Santo" island, in Madeira Archipelago, which has large, very white and very thin, sand beaches.

    • lyndapringle profile image

      Lynda Pringle 3 years ago from Austin, Texas

      Portugal seems stunning from what you posted on your blog. I think my favorite activity would be to go on a boat ride on the Berlengas where the water seems so calm and clear. The church at Madeira is very pretty as well. Madeira Island is gorgeous with its clear, quiet blue beaches. I can imagine it would be such a treat to take an early morning walk at that beach. The Portuguese towns are very quaint with a medieval-like touch which reminds me of other European towns.

      I speak Spanish which might enable me to understand Portugal and get around there maybe easily. I enjoyed learning about this country. Thanks for sharing.

    • Sara Jofre profile image
      Author

      Sarah 3 years ago from Portugal

      Yes, it's really good :) Was everybody nice to you?

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Just loved our drive through Portugal. The Alentejo is one of our favourites and we had lunch in Estremos that we still talk about. It is a lot cheaper to travel in Portugal and you get much better value. We will be back there this January before returning to Canada and we are really looking forward to it.

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