Portugal is located at the western end of the Iberian Peninsula, and is washed by the Atlantic Ocean.
It’s a country of enormous diversity and unlimited holiday options. There are remote and picturesque villages with a long history, but also crowded summer beach resorts such as the Algarve.
Many tourists are drawn to Portugal for its pleasant climate and stunning beaches, but there is much more to this fascinating country.
The two main cities, Lisbon and Porto are also the most popular destinations,
The Algarve’s beautiful southern coastline is a common choice for all-inclusive tourists, while the western coast is quieter, with spectacular scenery, traditional fishing towns and charming beach resorts.
Portugal has many historical sites, from the Roman Empire to the Age of Exploration, when Portuguese navigators discovered sea routes around Africa and completed the first circumnavigation of the world. While Portugal is modern and developed, it retains a great deal of traditional culture, cuisine, music and dance. Portugal is home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
The peoples who inhabited the area left findings in caves at least 50,000 years ago. The Iberian Peninsula was an area rich in natural resources with forests and animal wealth, but also minerals such as gold, silver, copper, iron. The Celts and Iberians mixed with North Africans, Phoenicians and Greeks and as experienced sailors developed trade. The Romans later conquered and colonized most of the peninsula, wiping out all traces of the previous civilizations through genocide.
After the spread of Christianity, conflict between pagan tribes and Christians in the 7th and 8th centuries led the better organized Moorish Muslims to invade and gain control over most of the peninsula for seven hundred years.
In the late 9th century, the Christians of Iberia begin to reclaim their ancestral territory, with the creation and expansion of the Portuguese state as it is known today, as well as Spain to the east.
The Portuguese Empire was one of the longest-lasting empires in European history, lasting nearly six centuries from the conquest of Ceuta in North Africa in 1415, until the end of Macao rule in China in 1999.
It was created at the beginning of the Age of Discovery and its power eventually spread throughout the world, North and South America, Africa and various parts of Asia and Oceania. Among the navigators, Bartolomeu Dias rounded the Cape of Good Hope, Vasco da Gama reached India, Pedro Álvares Cabral reached present-day Brazil.
In 1755, the great Lisbon earthquake and subsequent tsunami devastated the capital of the Portuguese Empire.
Today, Portugal, although it has close ties with the Spanish people, has a distinct cultural and linguistic heritage. Portugal regained its independence from Spain in 1640
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