Things to do - general

Portugal is a country with a rich and diverse history. Throughout the centuries, many civilizations left a mark in the territory; from the Greeks and the Celts to the Romans and the Moors, this rich heritage is evident in the wealth of historical monuments throughout our country. Portugal boasts of loads of heritage sites selected by UNESCO. There is countless number of Portuguese treasures scattered throughout the country and for the history buff, none can be more majestic than the numerous monuments and castles that tell the tale of this country’s extensive history. It is Portugal’s rich history that makes it such a unique country, and there is nowhere better to soak this up than in the old cities of the interior.

Visa requirements

Visas for Portugal are not required by all nationals referred to in the chart above. Nationals of Australia, Canada and the USA can stay for up to 90 days without a visa (USA citizens must have at least six motnhs' validity on their passports).

Languages spokenPortuguese
Currency usedEuro
Area (km2)35,603 sq mi

Sports & nature

The outdoor activity scene is rapidly expanding, with many regions now offering paragliding, abseiling, rap jumping, rafting, canyoning, caving, mountain biking and 4WD expeditions. There’s most scope in the mountain areas – notably the Serra da Estrela and Peneda-Gerês parks – and on the major rivers (Douro, Mondego and Zêzere), but many of the smaller natural parks and reserves also have local adventure outfits. It’s always worth contacting operators in advance, since activities are sometimes only for groups and are always heavily subscribed at weekends and during summer holidays.

Culture and history info

The culture of Portugal is the result of a complex flow of different civilizations during the past millennia. From prehistoric cultures, to its Pre-Roman civilizations (such as the Lusitanians, the Gallaeci, the Celtici, and the Cygnets, amongst others), passing through its contacts with the Phoenician-Carthaginian world Roman period (see Hispania, Lusitania and Gallaecia), the Germanic invasions and consequent settlement of the Suebi and Buri (see Kingdom of the Suebi) the Visigoth (see Visigothic Kingdom), Sephardic Jewish, and finally, the Moorish Umayyad invasion of Hispania and the subsequent expulsion, during the Reconquista, all have made an imprint on the country's culture and history.

The name of Portugal itself reveals much of the country's early history, stemming from the Roman name Portus Cale, a Latin name meaning "Port of Cale" (some argue that Cale is a word of Celtic origin - Cailleach-Bheur her other name; the Mother goddess of the Celtic people as in Calais, Caledonia, Beira. She was the one who, with a hammer created mountains and valleys; the one who hid in stones and trees - Mother nature), later transformed into Portucale, and finally into Portugal, which emerged as a county of the Kingdom of León see County of Portugal) and became an independent kingdom in 1139. During the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal was a major economic, political, and cultural power, its global empire stretching from Brazil to the Indies, as well as Macau and Japan.

Portugal, as a country with a long history, is home to several ancient architectural structures, as well as typical art, furniture and literary collections mirroring and chronicling the events that shaped the country and its peoples. It has a large number of cultural landmarks ranging from museums to ancient church buildings to medieval castles, which testify its rich national cultural heritage. Portugal is home to fifteen UNESCO World Heritage Sites, ranking it 8th in Europe and 17th in the world.



PORTUGAL SMALL GROUP TOURS Experience the Portuguese lifestyle with a small group of 12/14 travelers More info