Welcome to the land of sun-kissed beaches, delectable pastries, and a rich history that spans over centuries. Portugal is a country with so much to offer beyond its world-famous port wine and Cristiano Ronaldo. From its vibrant culture to its fascinating traditions, there are a plethora of fun facts that make this nation stand out.
Whether you’re planning a trip or just curious about this stunning country, this article is here to share some of the coolest facts you never knew about Portugal.
So, grab a pastel de nata and get ready to be surprised!
Basic Things To Know About Portugal
Before delving into details, some basic information about Portugal will be helpful. For example:
- The type of government in Portugal is a parliamentary democracy, and the ruling party is Social Democrat Party (Partido Social Democrata).
- The country covers an area of 92,391 square kilometers and a coastline of 1,793 kilometers.
- One of the interesting facts about Lisbon is that it’s the biggest city and capital of Portugal.
- The 2022 estimate of the country’s population is more than 10,240,000.
- Portuguese people make up around 95 percent of the country’s population.
- Roman Catholics make up 81 percent of the population, and Christians make up 3.3 percent.
- The international phone access code of Portugal is +351.
Find other interesting facts about Portugal below.
Portugal Ranks Among the 5 Most Peaceful Countries in the World
According to the Global Peace Index (GPI), Portugal ranked the fourth most peaceful country in the world in 2021. The ranking was made among 163 countries worldwide.
Portugal Has the Biggest Waves To Be Surfed in the World
Portugal is known for its high tides that make it suitable for surfing and surfing competitions. Especially Nazaré is quite popular with its huge waves and its world records. The biggest surf wave here reached 23.77 meters. For this reason, Portugal offers great surf spots for surfers. Beginner and advanced-level surfers can also enjoy these surfing spots.
A.k.a. “The Country Of Tiles”
One of Portugal’s cultural facts is that tile is an important element of Portuguese culture. Called “azulejo” in Portuguese, the tiles in Portugal have a history that dates back to the 14th century. These blue ceramic tiles were used to decorate the outside surfaces of houses, buildings, and monuments. They’re also used to decorate streets, restaurants, and train stations as well. The original aim to use tiles, however, was to protect houses from cold weather.
In Lisbon, there’s also the National Tile Museum that portrays the history and development of tiles in Portugal.
One of the Lisbon facts about tiles is that the country has forbidden demolishing buildings of which the façade is covered with tiles.
The Vasco Da Gama Bridge is The Longest Bridge in Europe
Facts about Lisbon Portugal include The Vasco da Gama Bridge. As can be understood, the bridge is named after Vasco da Gama. He was a Portuguese explorer to have discovered the sea route between India and Europe.
It was opened for use in 1998 in Lisbon. At that time, it was the longest bridge situated in Europe. The length of the bridge is 17 kilometers, and it’s now the second-longest bridge in Europe. The first one is now the Crimean Bridge. Still, the Vasco da Gama Bridge ranks as the longest bridge in the European Union.
The Birth Rate Here is Below the EU Average
Regarding Portugal’s facts and figures, it’s useful to mention the birth rates in the country as well. The birth rate in Portugal stood at 7.7 percent according to data from 2021. This makes Portugal have one of the lowest rates of birth in the European Union. It’s also clear to see that the rates have been decreasing since the 1950s. Accordingly, there occurred certain proposals of incentives from parties. One of them for example is a proposal for free childcare for children until the age of one.
Portugal is Among The Oldest Nations in Europe
In terms of being a European nation-state, Portugal is the oldest country. Its borders have not changed since 1139, and it became a republic in 1910. As one of Portugal’s history facts, Lisbon is a city that is older than Rome by four centuries.
Portuguese Language is Not Spoken Only in Portugal
You see, Portugal facts are a bit more than you can imagine! The Portuguese language is also the official language of
- Cape Verde
- Equatorial Guinea
- Sao Tome
- Principe, and
- Guinea Bissau.
What’s more, the number of native Portuguese speakers is believed to be more than 235 million, globally. Due to this wide range of speakers, Portuguese ranks as the sixth most spoken language in the world.
Lisbon Houses the Oldest Operating Bookstore in the World
One of the fun facts about Lisbon is that it houses Livraria Bertrand which is the oldest bookstore in the world. Because of this feature, it has the Guinness world record. The bookstore is located in Chiado, and it was founded in 1732 by Peter Faure. Back then, the Portuguese intellectuals met in this place. So, it’s an important part of the culture in Portugal.
After 2010, the bookstore’s branches were opened in different places in Portugal as part of the Porto Editora group. So, visiting Livraria Bertrand is one of the fun things to do in Lisbon, after learning this interesting fact about the bookstore.
Other Portugal Fun Facts
Well, this article has covered many weird facts about Portugal. Yet, don’t think that these facts are only limited to the ones above.
In the below list, you can find other Portugal fun facts that may surprise you when you read them.
- It’s known that Portugal is the first country to abolish slavery. Portugal abolished slavery in 1819.
- As one of the hottest countries in Europe, Portugal has certain regions that have around 300 sunny days a year. So, one of the fun things to do in Portugal would be to enjoy the sunshine when you visit the country.