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Country name: Portugal or Portuguese Republic ( Republica Portuguesa )
Background:
Country on the south-western Europe. Located on the west part of the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal occupies an area of 92,152 km2. It is bordered by Spain on the east and north and by the Atlantic Ocean on the west and south.
The Portuguese territory is divided in three parts: the mainland, the autonomous region of Madeira and Azores which have their own administration.
The mainland is divided into 18 administrative district : Viana do Castelo, Vila Real, Bragança, Braga, Porto, Aveiro, Viseu,     
Guarda, Coimbra, Castelo Branco, Leiria, Santarém, Portalegre, Lisbon, Setúbal, Évora, Beja and Faro; the districts are divided into municipalities (311), which are subdivided into civil parishes.
The autonomous region of Azores is an archipelago of 9 islands,
divided in three groups: the western, the central and the eastern. The islands of Flores and Corvo are part of the western group, the islands
of S. Jorge, Terceira, Faial and Pico are part of the central group and
the islands of S. Miguel and Santa Maria are part of eastern group.
The autonomous region of Madeira is an archipelago formed by the island of Madeira and Porto Santo.

The capital of Portugal is Lisbon. Other cities of more importance are Porto, Coimbra, Setúbal, Aveiro, Braga and Faro.
The Portuguese terrain has several different forms.
On the north of the Tejo river, it is very rough, with mountains, except
the coast plain, and with an average height above 400 meters. These mountains are crossed by valleys and rivers.

On the south part of the Tejo river the terrain is formed by rolling plains, with low altitude, where the plains prevail.
The highest mountains are located on the north of the Tejo river, and
the most importants are Serra da Estrela (1991 m), Serra do Gerês (1508 m), Serra do Marão (1416 m), Serra do Montemuro (1381 m)
and Serra do Caramulo (1075 m).
On the south of the Tejo river, the most important mountains are Serra de São Mamede (1025 m), Serra do Monchique (902 m) and Serra do Caldeirão (577 m). The rest of the Portuguese terrain is the coastline, which can be divided in three big set of plains: the Beira Litoral Plain formed by the alluvial plains of Vouga and Mondego, the Algarve
Plain  and the alluvial Plain of Tejo and Sado.
The archipelagos of Azores and Madeira have theirs origins on
volcanic activities and their terrains are very rough.
The coastline of Azores has a lot of cliffs and inside the islands the terrain is very mountainous. The highest mountain in
Portugal is located inside the Pico island and it has 2351 meters. One characteristic of Madeira is that it has high mountains
on the central part of the island.
The most important rivers are, from north to south of the mainland, the Minho, the Douro, the Tejo and the Guadiana all they
rising in Spain and flowing to the Atlantic Ocean. Among the rivers whose course is Portuguese only, we have the Cávado, the Vouga,
the Mondego, the Sado end Mira. Article: Ilidio Lopes.



   
Images: Left to right. Madeira, lisbon, Porto.

More about Portugal
The western part of the Iberian Peninsula, the part bathed by the Atlantic Ocean is the traditional country of Portugal. Long ago, the territory between the northern part of Portugal and Spain were not very well defined and the cultural aspects were very
similar. But then the Castrena culture made its first appearance with grass thatched huts in a round formation in the north and then the Romans took over, separating the two territories. From the beginning of the 5th century Braga was named capital of Portugal, then it was invaded by the Visigods and finally, as almost all the Iberian Peninsula, the Arabs moved in, leaving a tremendous influence, especially their architecture, culture and was of govening.
Lisbon, Portugalís Proud Capital
In Lisbon, where the majority of the tourist start their visit after having arrived at the airport, there are various excursions to do around the city. There are museums of all kinds: - Museum do Chiado which is located in one of the most enchanting areas of Lisbon. Here you can find Portuguese and French Art. - Science Museum which is located at the main entrance to the Science University has as its principal objective to be education with over 60 interactive themes using physics, chemistry and maths.
It is open from monday to friday from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. and from 2 to 5 and not open on Sundays. - Museum do Carme which
is installed in the ruins of the monastery and has an excellent archaeological collection from many different periods. -
National Museum of Ancient Art which is found in the area called Belem near the river in the Palace of onde Alvor.
It is the most important museum in Portugal having 65 halls taking in a lot of Portuguese painters and sculptors and all the combinations that the portuguese made when it had all its colonies.
And Lisbon is also known for its open air entertainment like: - Eduardo VII Park found right next to the Marques de Pombal Square. This park was created to commemorate the English King Eduardo VIIís visit to Lisbon in 1903. The Gym Pavillion
Carlos Lopez is beautifully decorated on the outside with tiles. And the Estufa Fria ( greenhouse) where you can find all kinds
of plants from all over the world which were brought to lisbon and have been adapted to the climate change there. - Tapada da Ajuda is a 200 acre park once used for hunting but now there are various activities like a childrenís park, recreation area and
an Astronomy Observatory . - Botanical Gardens which was founded in 1873 and considered one of the best in all Europe.
There are over 2,500 species including palm and banana trees. Being as it is situated on a hill, the different level connected
by steps makes its beauty even more enhancing and delightful for the eye to see.

Portugalís nice lodging
Lisbon needs quite a few days to visit it so if you have need some ideas on hotels, here you go. The Four Seasons-Ritz is the
tops with beauty gardens and agreat view of Eduard VII Park. Or maybe Carlton palace Hotel which is a 19th century palace
with tropical gardens. Coming down a little the Comfort Principe with a panoramic view restaurant and good service and quality.
On the busy Ave. Liberdade in a small neoclassical moorish palace called Veneza, nice pensions like As Janelas Verdes
which is a 17 room restored old house from the 18th c. near the Museum of Ancient Art and for those just wanting to lay their heads down, some nicely kept campings or youth hostels.
But once you are in Portugal you have to take full advantage and see places like Sintra, Porto, Albufeira in the Algarve region
and an extra special get away to Madeira or the Azores Islands. Itís all lovely.

The Algarve
The Algarve area of Portugal, which covers the southern-most part of the country, is an incredibly diverse region.
With all that sunshine, naturally many holidaymakers come in search of beaches, and theyíre not disappointed. With around 270km of coastline, including everything from wide sandy beaches to secluded inlets, thereís something for everyone. Add to
that a wide variety of accommodation with luxury resorts near bustling towns to quiet villages, and thereís no doubt everyone is catered for.
The easiest way to travel to the Algarve from overseas is via airplane to Faro. This is the regionís main town and commercial
hub, but is still a pleasant place to visit. Most of the town was destroyed in the 1755 earthquake, but even so, there are interes-ting buildings dotted around the town that are worth visiting. There is also a small remnant of the old town, Cidade Velha, and a walking tour through this area is fascinating.
The towns of Tavira and Silves are also highlights of the Algarve region for those with an historic interest. Tavira encompasses everything from castle ruins, churches from a range of architectural periods and elegant houses from various centuries. Silves
was once the Mooorish capital of the Algarve, and its main claim to fame is the magnificent red stone castle which overlooks
the town today.
For those who like more modern entertainment and a slightly faster pace, there is plenty of nightlife to be found in either Lagos
or Albuferira. Even better, there are plenty of sandy beaches where you can lie back and recover! Lagos also suffered terribly in
the 1755 earthquake, with very little surviving apart from the old town wall.
If youíd rather spend your time being entertained by mother nature, then the Algarve can deliver. Close to Faro is the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa. This is basically an extensive lagoon system which is home to an enormous number of wetland birds,
as well as forming a vital link in the migration chain. The parkís visitor centre is excellent.
You can also head further west, and watch the coastline become more rugged. Cabo de São Vicente (Cape St Vincent) is Europeís most southwesterly point. Barren and majestic, itís certainly an awe inspiring place to visit Ė but be prepared to face
the strong winds that often batter the Cape.
The western coast of the Algarve is home to the Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina. This narrow strip of park was created in 1995 to amalgamate a number of smaller parks, in the hope of protecting the ecosystem from rampant development. The area is also home to many birds.
There are plenty of places to stay along the west coast of the Algarve, as well as beaches, however the Atlantic is a little rougher on this side and in places can be quite dangerous. Keen surfers are often to be found in this region.
Itís worth visiting the inland part of the Algarve as well. There are a number of mountain ranges, with the Serra de Monchique
being the most popular.
And if all else fails Ė the Algarve is home to a large number of golf courses, including 7 of Europeís top 100 courses.
The Algarve is an incredibly diverse region, itís hard to imagine that anyone could possibly visit without finding something of interest to see or do. So make sure you schedule a visit there soon.