Portugal Fast Facts

Viana do Castelo, Portugal

Population: 10,833,816

Capital City: Lisbon

Climate: Maritime temperate; cool and rainy in north, warmer and drier in south

Time Zone: GMT+00

Language: Portuguese

Country Code: 351

Coastline: 1,793km

Explore the Old World in Laidback Portugal

Rocky, rugged Atlantic coasts where salt spray mists the air…green hills and winding country roads…medieval towns perched above deep river gorges…graceful cities of broad boulevards and bustling cafés…

Portugal, continental Europe’s westernmost country, lies quietly in the shadow of the larger, more boisterous Spain. With a sliver of coastline and an interior that can take you back centuries in time, Portugal in many ways still belongs to an earlier era. People are friendly and courteous, with an almost courtly manner. Family and friends are important, and people know their neighbors and the local shopkeepers. Ancient buildings look worn and lived-in, and quiet, cobbled lanes wind through seaside villages.

This is Europe as it used to be. And though modernity is overtaking Portugal quickly, you can still enjoy an old-style, Old-World life here. Cascais, Portugal

Though its coast is the Atlantic, Portugal is typically Mediterranean, with the warm weather and lifestyle that you tend to find in Mediterranean countries. The sea, which forms the country’s western border, still plays a strong role in Portuguese life and diet: You’ll find fish and seafood on menus throughout the country.

Like countries around the Mediterranean, Portugal also produces good food, wine, and olive oil, at inexpensive prices. Try its slightly fizzy vinho verde or its port, the fortified wine that took its name from Portugal’s second city, Porto. Shop in modern supermarkets, or—as many Portuguese do—in the traditional markets found in cities throughout the country.

Overall, Portugal is arguably Western Europe’s most affordable country. Even in the capital, Lisbon—one of Europe’s most charming and underrated cities—a couple can live comfortably from about $2,200 a month in residential neighborhoods just a half-hour’s walk from Lisbon’s central, most tourist-driven areas. (And you’ll leave the tourists behind.) In Portugal’s smaller cities and in the country’s interior, a couple’s budget can run from $1,700 a month.

Enjoy all this…and yet have First-World amenities at hand, including road and highway systems, good telecommunications and high-speed internet, museums and concert halls, chic restaurants, cafés, bars, and much more. Portugal has extensive bus and metro services in cities like Lisbon and Porto. Long distance bus and train services carry you throughout Portugal and beyond, so you don’t need a car here. And modern airports can take you throughout Europe.

From the Archives of Portugal

Comfortable Urban Living in Portugal’s Second City

Comfortable Urban Living in Portugal’s Second City

Imagine living in a chic, historic European city with a vibrant restaurant scene, a seaside ambience, mild weather, friendly locals, and great (and inexpensive) food and wine. That description fits Porto, Portugal's second-largest city, to a "T." And, after spending time in the city earlier this year, I could definitely imagine living there.

Europe’s Stunning Iberian Peninsula: The Real Estate Story Right Now

Europe’s Stunning Iberian Peninsula: The Real Estate Story Right Now

Real Estate
By |
April 26, 2016

I've traveled widely throughout the Iberian Peninsula and stood watching the wild Atlantic crash on the shores of Portugal and the Mediterranean Sea lapping long beaches to the south of Spain. From a traveler's point of view, this whole Peninsula—with its Moorish and Basque influences—is charming and intriguing. This is where you'll find some of Europe's best weather…as well as good food, good wine, and dramatic landscapes.

Forget the Starving Writer Cliché…I Earned $500 in an Hour

Forget the Starving Writer Cliché…I Earned $500 in an Hour

A few years back, I was working a full-time, regular 9-to-5 teaching job. My bosses were inflexible, I was stressed, and I couldn't stand the work. When you're a teacher, you can't just take time off to travel. I'm also not a morning person, and waking up at 6 a.m. every day was tough. I was following the rules...and I don't like following rules. Writing was always my passion, but I had no idea how I would go about actually earning a living writing. Writers don't earn livings, everyone knows that. Right?

The Perfect Solution to These Baby Boomer Regrets

The Perfect Solution to These Baby Boomer Regrets

Daily Postcard
By |
March 27, 2016

A recent British Airways survey of 2,000 baby boomers found that their biggest regrets in life are working too much and not traveling enough. This hit home for me, first because I’m a baby boomer myself. I was born between 1946 and 1961. It also struck a chord with me because, for the past 15 years, I’ve been working for an outfit that directly addresses both these issues.

Now is the Best Time in a Decade to Buy Property in Europe

Now is the Best Time in a Decade to Buy Property in Europe

PR
By |
May 6, 2015

Right now the U.S. dollar buys more in Europe than it has in over a decade. It means that this is a smart time to buy property in certain markets—including Ireland, Portugal, and Italy—according to the live-overseas experts at InternationalLiving.com. A €100,000 property that would have cost $139,000 last March costs just $106,310 right now, a discount rendered by the currency-exchange rate alone. “In good-value markets that made sense at ‘full’ price, this favorable exchange rate is effectively putting properties on sale, and the bargains can be unbelievable. The timing is right for Europe today,” says InternationalLiving.com’s real estate expert Ronan McMahon.

Europe on Sale: Buy Now While the Dollar is Strong

Europe on Sale: Buy Now While the Dollar is Strong

Property markets in Europe are moving again—and right now you can find some great bargains in stunning settings. At time of writing, the U.S. dollar is strong which means you get more bang for your buck. In fact, your U.S. dollar buys you 24% more euros than it did this time last year. And, right now your dollar goes further in Europe than it has in over a decade. If you’re looking to buy real estate on the continent, now is the time to buy. A €100,000 property that would have cost you $139,000 last March costs $106,310 today, a discount rendered by the currency-exchange rate alone.

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