Portugal is possibly Europe's most diverse and beautiful country; and as Britain's longest standing ally, it's also one of the oldest.

The history of this comparatively small country has shaped its people. Friendly and hospitable, the population of this once powerful seafaring nation of pioneering explorers will welcome you with open arms and delight you with its affable ways.

Portugal lies along the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula in south western Europe. It shares a border with Spain in the east and north, while the Atlantic dominates the coastline in the west and south. Occupying about 16 percent of the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores) has a population of over 10 million people.

Despite its relatively small size, the country boasts a great diversity of geographical features, from golden plains to mountainous zones.

As a member of the European Union and NATO, Portugal plays a greater role in both European and world affairs than its size would suggest.

Total area: 92,090 sq. km (including Madeira and Azores archipelagos)
Land: 91,470 sq. km
Water: 620 sq. km
Land use: 17 percent arable land; 8 percent permanent crops; 75 percent other.
Weather: Maritime temperate; cold and rainy on the north coast, warm and dry on the south coast.
Terrain: Mountainous north of the Tagus river, rolling plains in the south.

The most popular and well-known tourist destination in Portugal is the Algarve, its 200 km-long coastline of fine beaches, excellent hotels, golf courses and sophisticated resorts promising holidays of sun, sand and sporting relaxation. But there is more, much more! From verdant forests, stunning mountains, rustic villages and rushing river valleys to fairy-tale castles, wide estuaries, bustling cities and excellent, affordable food, you will never be far from the next photo opportunity.

Lisbon is one of Europe’s best kept secrets; with its traditional bairros (quarters) infused with the smell of the typical grilled sardines and the lamenting strains of fado, it has so much to offer. Largely rebuilt after the 1755 earthquake, Lisbon features some fine architecture and beautiful monuments; walk from the Marquês de Pombal square to the Baixa area along the wide, leafy Avenida de Liberdade, where you can pause for a coffee or a beer. Then catch the tram to Belém and try the local speciality, the mouth-watering pastéis de Belém (custard tarts) in the legendary pastry shop that guards the secret original recipe. Continue west a couple of hundred yards and you'll find the amazing Manueline-style Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. Cross the gardens towards the waterfront to the Monument to the Discoveries (you won't miss it, it's huge) and keep going west to the famous Torre de Belém that once stood far from the quay, guarding the entrance to the Tagus. Tired? And that's only a small part of Lisbon!

Renowned for the fortified wine named after it, Porto, Portugal’s second most important city, was the European Capital of Culture 2001. Situated at the mouth of the river Douro, it has a picturesque riverfront that leads to the old city centre through winding alleys that climb the hilly, northern bank. The Ribeira bairro (now a UNESCO World Heritage Site) is the most animated area in the city, its many restaurants, bars, cafés and nightclubs making it especially popular at night.

Steeped in history, the beautiful university towns of Coimbra and Évora combine the magnificence of rich architectural heritage with the vibrancy of modern, student life.

There is so much to see and do in Portugal.

Discover it with us!