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Portugal

Touristic attractions of Portugal
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Your vacations in Portugal

Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic, is a country located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of mainland Europe and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south and by Spain to the north and east. The Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira are also part of Portugal.

During the 15th and 16th centuries, with a global empire that included possessions in Africa, Asia, and South America, Portugal was one of the world's major economic, political and military powers. It was then united with Spain during a period called the Iberian Union; however, it went onto re-establish total sovereignty and independence during the Portuguese Restoration War that resulted in the establishment of a new dynasty and a return to the previous separation between the two crowns and empires.

The 1755 Lisbon earthquake, French and Spanish invasions, and the loss of its largest territorial possession abroad, Brazil, resulted in both the disruption of political stability and potential economic growth as well as the reduction of Portugal's international status as a global power during the 19th century. After the overthrow of the monarchy in 1910, a republic was established that was then followed by a dictatorship. With the Portuguese Colonial War and the Carnation Revolution coup d'état in 1974, the ruling dictatorship was deposed in Lisbon and the country handed over its last overseas provinces in Africa; the last overseas territory, Macau, was handed over to China in 1999.

Portugal is a developed country, and has a very high Human Development Index. It is the 14th most peaceful and the 13th most globalized country in the world, and has the world's 19th highest quality of life. It is a member of the European Union (joined the then EEC in 1986, leaving the EFTA where it was a founding member in 1960) and the United Nations; as well as a founding member of the Latin Union, the Organization of Ibero-American States, OECD, NATO, Community of Portuguese Language Countries, the European Union's Eurozone, and also a Schengen state.

Official language

Portuguese

Currency

Euro

Electricity

230 volts, 50 cycles

Shopping

Portugal shopping provides you with irresistible temptations. Small roadside stands along the Algarve coast offer a dazzling array of ceramics and the small antiques shops in cities like Lisbon, Porto and Évora are like mini museums. Although great bargains are rare the quality of the merchandise is very good. Lisbon is a logical choice for most things, although Porto is worth a visit for silver and its wines. Madeira is well known for its embroidery. Glazed tiles called Azulejos in Portuguese for the color blue are found throughout the country as well as hand-woven rugs, hand-knit sweaters and intricate embroidery.

Useful information

The Vasco da Gama Bridge in Lisbon is the longest bridge in Europe with 17,185 m (56,381 feet) In 2006, Portugal established the world's first commercial wave farm (the Aguçadora Wave Park) to produce electricity.