Portugal is a warm mountainous country located on the Iberian Peninsula, which juts out into the Atlantic Ocean grasping onto the end of the European continent. Imagine the monumental plans, decisions and agreements made on the Portuguese soil that would change world history forever. Experience the great cuisine, culture and maritime activities that await the visitor to Portugal.
With a history dating back to the Carthaginians, Portugal has oftentimes been rubbing friction between African and European cultures. The Romans coined the term, "Port Cale," meaning the "warm or beautiful port" for the country we know as Portugal. This original port is near modern-day Grande Porto. Germanic tribes have populated Portugal for much of its history. With the decline of the Roman Empire, the Moors gained ascendancy from 700 to 1200 A.D. Gradually, Christian Germans regained control of the Iberian peninsula.
Portugal led the Europeans out into the larger world with its expertise in navigation and warfare developed during the Moorish wars. Portugal created a worldwide empire in the 1400s A.D. that spanned Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. Successive European nations built upon earlier Portugal gains.
Lisbon, which is 85 square kilometres (33 square miles) wide, is the capital and largest city of Portugal with a population of more than 2,600,000 enjoying the point where the Tagus River flows to the Atlantic Ocean. Popular tourist attractions include Roman temples, Catholic churches and medieval castles, like the Castle of Saint George (Sao Jorge) overlooking the city of Lisbon. This strongly-fortified citadel dates back to the 100s B.C. Over time, it became a central prize to any power wishing to control Portugal. It became the royal palace "alcacova" for Christian royalty in 1255 A.D. Vasco da Gama met the royal family at this castle.
The Montesinho National Park has preserved the beautiful Portugal land for tourists to enjoy. Ancient oak forests welcome the visitor in this NorthEast area of the country. This wild, rugged area is called the "Cold Land." Wolves, wild boars and otters await the visitor. Enjoy this beautiful landscape, which mixes mountains, seas and terraced farms.
Portuguese life has always centered on the sea for its history, culture and cuisine. Primary products include fish, textiles, clothing, cork, wood products and beverages. Football (soccer) is the most popular sport.
Common Portuguese cuisine consists of dry cod ("bacalhau" in Portuguese) or a potato stew "caldeirade". Grilled options include the grilled pork "bifanas" or grilled beef "prego." The "pastel de Belem" is an egg tart that is a very popular dessert. Portuguese wines include Port, Madeira and Moscatel.
Relive the romantic sense of adventure by enjoying the panoramic views over ocean cliffs that invite you to dream of the endless possibilities.