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PORTUGAL

Lisbon      EUROPE


Pena National Palace in Sintra, Portugal
Pena National Palace in Sintra, © Can Stock Photo / interlight

Portugal is officially known as the Portuguese Republic.  The country is located on the Iberian Peninsula of south western Europe and is bordered by Spain and the Atlantic Ocean.  During the Age of Discovery in the 1400 - 1500s, explorers like Vasco da Gama led Portugal to become a global power.  In 1494 Portugal split the New World with Spain, resulting in Brazil becoming Portuguese, while the rest of South America and Central America are Spanish speaking.  Today the Portuguese Empire includes Brazil, Angola, Mozambique and numerous small territories in Africa and Asia established during the Age of Discovery.  The Azores is one of the best known of these small territories and is a common port of call for ships crossing the North Atlantic. Portugal has a population of over 10 million and the capital city is Lisbon.

View a map of Portugal.

Visas:

Portugal participates in the Schengen Zone and Schengen Visa requirements.  That means there are no border controls between members and no border inspections by rail or vehicle when traveling from Portugal to Spain.  Citizens of the European Union, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Romania and Switzerland need only an identity card to enter Portugal.  Some countries that are not members of the Schengen Zone require a Schengen Visa to enter Europe.  More than 40 countries outside the Schengen Zone do not require a visa.  Exemptions include citizens of Australia, Canada, Mexico, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.  For a list of countries that will not require a visa, try the Visit Portugal site or check your specific country at VisaHQ.  For a list of exempt countries, visit Project Visa.

Currency:

Portugal uses the Euro as its currency.

Climate:

Due to its southerly location, Portugal enjoys some of the best temperatures in Europe.  Summers are hot and dry.  Temperatures are moderated along the coast, but interior temperatures can be very hot in summer and quite cold in winter.

Pousadas of Portugal:

Stay in luxury historic hotels throughout Portugal.  The Pousadas of Portugal hotel chain was established by the government of Portugal and is now managed privately.