Portugal is the oldest nation state in the Iberian Peninsula and one of the oldest in Europe (independent since 1143). Portugal has left a profound cultural, architectural and linguistic influence across the globe, with a legacy of around 250 million speakers of Portuguese. It is a developed country with an advanced economy and high living standards.


Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic, is a country located in the Iberian Peninsula, in southwestern Europe. It is the westernmost country of mainland Europe, being bordered to the west and south by the Atlantic Ocean and to the north and east by Spain. Its territory also includes the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, both autonomous regions with their own regional governments. The official and national language is Portuguese.


Portugal has developed a specific culture while being influenced by various civilizations that have crossed the Mediterranean and the European continent; several influences were also introduced when the country played an active role during the Age of Discovery. Portugal is home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, ranking it 9th in Europe and 18th in the world.


Traditional architecture is very distinctive. After a Romanesque period that lasted until the 13th century, Portugal developed a sumptuous, Gothic Portuguese style of architectural ornamentation in the 16th century, called the “Manuelino” style. It’s characterized by the profusion of maritime elements, and was then followed by the “Pombalino” style of the 18th century. Some examples: the Belém Tower and Alcobaça monastery.


Portuguese literature, one of the earliest western literatures, developed through texts as well as songs. Until 1350, the Portuguese-Galician troubadours spread their literary influence to most of the Iberian Peninsula. Luís de Camões, adventurer and poet, (c. 1524–1580) wrote the important epic poem “Os Lusíadas”. Modern Portuguese literature is represented by authors such as Almeida Garrett, Camilo Castelo Branco, Eça de Queirós, Fernando Pessoa, Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, António Lobo Antunes and Miguel Torga. José Saramago (1922 – 2010) is particularly popular and distinguished since he won the 1998 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Music and Dance

Portuguese music encompasses a wide variety of genres. The traditional one is the Portuguese folk music, which has deep roots in local customs. Its typical instruments are bagpipes, bass drums, tambourines, accordions, the small guitar (cavaquinho) and the Portuguese guitar. The Portuguese folk music has as its most renowned genre the “Fado”, a melancholic urban music originated in Lisbon in the 19th century. It’s associated with bohemian environments, with the Portuguese guitar and with “saudade”.


Portuguese cuisine is very diverse and it’s associated with the Mediterranean diet. Each region has its own typical food made with the most different ingredients, such as cattle meat, sausages, fresh fish, seafood and cheese (for example Serra da Estrela, Azeitão and São Jorge). Portuguese wines are also renowned. Wines from Douro, Dão and Alentejo are very famous, as well as sweet Porto and Madeira wines. In the confectionery area, there is an enormous variety of traditional and convent like recipes. Pastéis de Nata or Pastéis de Belém (cream tarts) are very famous throughout the world.