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Portuguese Is the Official Language of Nine Countries

Over 236 million people worldwide are native Portuguese speakers. Portuguese is the official language of Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Angola, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Principe, Sao Tome, and Equatorial Guinea. Portuguese is also spoken in Goa (India), Macao, and East Timor.

Portugal Is the Oldest Country in Europe

Portugal has had the same defined borders since 1139, making it the oldest nation-state in Europe. Afonso Henriques was proclaimed the first King of Portugal in 1139, and the country remained a kingdom for almost 800 years thereafter until a successful 1910 revolution by the Portuguese Republican Party.

The Oldest Bookstore in the World Is in Portugal's Capital

Bertrand bookstore, or Livraria Bertrand, was established in 1732 and is located in Lisbon, Portugal's capital city. This makes it the oldest still-operational bookstore in the world. Moravian Bookshop, the next oldest, opened in Pennsylvania in 1745.

Portugal Is the Largest Cork Producer in the World

Portugal produces 70% of the world's cork exports. This makes sense, as the country also boasts the world's largest cork forest. The primary importers of Portuguese cork are Germany, the U.K., and the U.S.

One of the Oldest Universities in Europe Is in Portugal

The University of Coimbra was established in 1290, making it one of the oldest universities on the European continent. The school now has over 20,000 students and has been named an official World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It was founded by King Dinis, a monarch remembered for his contributions to Portugal's literary and agricultural legacies.

Portugal Has the Second-Longest Bridge in Europe

The Vasco da Gama Bridge in Lisbon is 7.6 miles (12.3 kilometers) long. It was the longest in Europe for about 20 years until the Crimean Bridge was opened in Russia in 2018.

Portugal and England Have the Oldest Diplomatic Alliance in the World

The Anglo-Portuguese Alliance was signed in 1373 and is still in force to this day. Both countries have entered wars to defend the other. Notable examples include the United Kingdom entering the Iberian Peninsular War and Portugal entering World War I. Talk about having someone's back!

Portugal Is One of the World's Top Surf Spots

Portugal has a coastline that spans 497 miles (800 kilometers) and it's known to have 364 days of surf per year. This makes it a popular destination for surfers and beach-goers from all over the world.

Portuguese Fado Music Is an Intangible Cultural Heritage

Fado (fate in Portuguese) is a genre of music that originated in urban Lisbon sometime before 1820. Fado is a mournful and heart-touching style of folk music typically sung by common people and passed down through generations orally. The musical genre was added to the World's Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2011 by UNESCO.

Portugal Was the First Colonial Power to Abolish Slavery

Despite having been heavily involved in the Atlantic Slave Trade, Portugal abolished slavery all the way back in 1761—that's half a century before Britain, France, Spain, or the United States.

The Portuguese Invented Piri-Piri Sauce

Piri Piri, also known as African Bird’s Eye Chili, is grown in many African countries, including Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. However, some important culinary Portugal facts note that it was actually the Portuguese who invented the famous Piri Piri Sauce, after discovering the ingredient during the colonial period. The ingredients of the sauce include the chilies themselves, plus garlic, onion, lemon juice, paprika and more. Nowadays, Piri Piri chicken is a very popular and delicious Portuguese dish.

Portuguese food

Portuguese cuisine is fairly simple but delicious, and the country has caught worldwide attention with its fresh ingredients, Mediterranean touches, and comforting combinations. In the Algarve, be sure to try frango assado, otherwise known as chicken piri-piri, grilled fish (especially sardines), or one of the many recipes for bacalhau (salted cod).

Castles and cathedrals

Like all of Portugal, the Algarve is sprinkled with beautiful castle ruins, museums, and stunning cathedrals. A couple of the most popular include the reddish Silves Castle and the Sé Cathedral in Faro. Silves, in general, is a charming town with many historical landmarks that visitors can explore over the course of a day.

Roots deep in tradition and culture

Part of the allure of travelling is experiencing a different and unique culture, and the Algarve has held strong onto its own. Hints of Portugal’s maritime past and influence during the Age of Discoveries is still visible in various forms, from the fortifications to museums and long-standing fishing markets. Medieval buildings and even some homes still reflect styles introduced by the Moors centuries ago. The Algarve is also an excellent location where tourists can taste culture in the form of traditional cuisine and liquor such as medronho.

Now that you know some facts about Portugal, why not come and visit to confirm these claims for yourself…?