Portugal, officially known as the Portuguese Republic is located in southwest Europe on the Iberian peninsular. The republic also includes the Atlantic islands of Azores and Medeira. It is thought that the country is named after its second largest city, Porto. During the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal became one of the world's major economic, political and military powers after expanding western influence during the Age of Discovery.
The Portuguese empire was the longest lived in Europe, spanning almost 600 years. The empire spread throughout many territories that are now part of 53 sovereign states, thus having left a legacy of more than 250 million Portuguese speakers. Today Portugal is one of the world's most globalised, peaceful and responsive nations.
Lisbon, also known as Lisboa, is Portugal's largest and capital city. It is the westernmost largest city in continental Europe and the only one of the Atlantic coast. Lisbon's urban area has a population of 2.7 million making it the 11th most populous urban area in the European Union. It is considered a global city and is one of the major economic centers on the continent with one of the largest container ports on Europe's Atlantic coast.
Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world and is the oldest in western Europe, predating other cities such as London, Paris and Rome by centuries. The city has a Mediterranean climate with the warmest winters among all European cities with an average of 15°C from December to February. The average summer temperatures are around 27-30°C.
Also know as Oporto, this is the second largest city in the country and one of the major urban areas in southwestern Europe. It is home to 1.4 million people and is 1 of 5 global cities on the Iberian peninsular (along with Madrid, Lisbon, Barcelona and Valencia). It is located on the Douro river estuary in Northern Portugal. It is one of Europe's oldest centres and the city's historic centre has been listed as a UNESCO world heritage site.
One of the city's major exports is port wine, which is both produced and exported here. In 2014 Porto was voted as the best European destination. It has a Mediterranean climate with summers around 27°C, but it has been known to have heat waves reaching 40°C.
Portuguese is a romance language and the official language in Brazil, Portugal, Mozambique, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé & Príncipe. It is also the co-official language in Macau, Equatorial guinea and East Timor.
There is a total of 260 million speakers of Portuguese and is often listed as the 5th most spoken language in the world, the 3rd most spoken language in Europe and the major language of South America. UNESCO states that it is the fastest growing European language. The Brazilian writer Olavo Bilac says "A última flor do lácio, inculta e bela" (the last flower of latium, rustic and sweet).
If you are interested in visiting Portugal and trying your hand at some Portuguese, have a look at what we have on offer here! Questions? Don't hesitate to contact us.