Portugal is an exciting and beautiful country with a rich culture and history. This amazing country has a lot to offer and remarkable facts that might surprise you! We’ve compiled some fun and interesting facts about this incredible European country.
1-Portugal is one of the oldest countries in the world.
Portugal has almost the same borders now as it had in 1279, when they signed a peace treaty with neighboring Spain. It was also one of the biggest global empires with Portuguese colonies far and wide.
2-Lisbon is one of the oldest European cities
Lisbon is the second oldest European capital (after Athens). It is said to be founded 400 years before the Roman era and empire.
3-One of the oldest operating universities is in Portugal
Founded by King Denis in 1290, the University of Coimbra is one of the oldest universities in Europe that are still running.
4-The oldest bookshop in Europe can be found in Lisbon
If you like old things, you’ll love Portugal! Lisbon is home to the Livraria Bertrand, the oldest bookshop in Europe. Opened in 1732 on Rua Garrett, the shop has remained open there ever since. The shop has grown into a major chain, with its own publishing house and book stores all over Spain and Portugal..
5-Portuguese is the official language of 9 countries
A Romance language spoken by over 230 million people in the world, Portuguese is one of the 6 languages with the most native speakers. Portuguese is the official language of 9 countries including Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, Sao Tome, Principe, Guinea Bissau, Angola, Cape Verde, and Equatorial Guinea. It is also spoken in Goa, India and Macao and East Timor.
6-The Biggest Wave Ever Surfed Was in Portugal
Portugal has 800 kilometers of beautiful coastlines and said to have 364 days of surf. Not only is Portugal a major surfing destination but it also holds the record for the biggest wave ever surfed. During the Praia de Norte in 2011, Garret McNamara from Hawaii broke records when he surfed a wave measuring close to 27.5 meters!
7-Lisbon Contains Europe’s Longest Bridge
In celebration of the 500th anniversary of the discoveries of Portuguese explorer Vasco to Gama, a bridge was built in Lisbon (De Gama discovered the sea route between Europe and India). The Vasco De Gama Bridge was built between 1995 and 1998 across the Tagus river and measures 17 kilometers in length – the longest in Europe.
8-Port Wine Comes from Portugal
The country’s most famous export is Port wine. The wine is usually red, with few white varieties and is known for its sweet taste. The wine is produced mainly in the Douro valley, which surround Porto, Portugal’s second city. Both Touriga Nacional and Touriga Francesa are the main grapes cultivated for port production.
9-Portugal is the world’s largest cork exporter
Approximately 50% of cork used around the world comes from Portugal. The cork is cultivated from the bark of the evergreen cork oaks found in Portugal. The cork is mainly made into bottle stoppers but a lot of local handmade art is created from cork as well.
10- Portugal and England have the oldest diplomatic alliance in the world
Signed in 1373 and still in effect today, the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance is the oldest diplomatic alliance in the world! Since the Middle Ages, the alliance has served both countries. It is extremely historically significant as it pushed the U.K.’s participation in the Iberian Peninsular War and established an Anglo-American base in Portugal. Portugal supported and aided England too, as with WW1.