Total area: 92 072 km²
Population: 10.6 million (January 2012)
Portugal is situated at the south-west point of Europe and also includes the Madeira and Azores archipelagos in the Atlantic Ocean. Mainland Portugal occupies an area of 88,889 km2. It is 218 km wide and 561 km long. It has 832 km of Atlantic coast and a 1,215 km border with Spain.
The Azores are situated in the Atlantic Ocean between Europe and North America. They have an area of 2,355 km2 and consist of nine islands - São Miguel and Santa Maria in the Eastern Group, Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico and Faial in the Central Group and Flores and Corvo in the Western Group. It takes about two hours to get from the Azores to mainland Portugal by plane.
The Madeira Archipelago has an area of 741 km2 and lies in the Atlantic Ocean about 500 km from the African coast and 1,000 km from the European continent (1½ hours flying time from Lisbon). It consists of the islands of Madeira and Porto Santo and the uninhabited Desertas and Selvagens islands, which are nature reserves.
Portugal has a population of about 10 million. The population density is at its greatest in Lisbon, the capital and its suburbs, where about 1.9 million people live. The second largest city in Portugal is Oporto in the north. Generally speaking, there are more people living in the country’s coastal regions than in the inland areas.
Portugal is a country with a rich history of seafaring and land exploration. Portugal's history has had a lasting impact on the culture of the country: one can easily sense oriental and moorish influences in its architecture; likewise the arts and Portugal's deep cultural heritage are quite evident in its path through the ages.
Over the past 3,000 years, a multitude of cultures has left their imprint on the country's culture and formed its villages towns and cities. In the 15th century, Portugal’s maritime explorers led by Vasco da Gama discovered new territories, leading to the accumulation of an overseas empire.
Portugal has a warm and sunny climate, with mild winters. Summer temperatures in the Algarve can top 30°C (86 ºF), and the mercury climbs in the Alentejo and Alto Douro too, with temperatures recorded as high as 47°C (116.6 ºF) in the Alentejo. In the northwest weather is milder and damper, so a small umbrella would not be a bad idea. Up to 2000mm of rain can fall annually (the national average is 1100mm).
Tourism Portugal receives around 13 mln overseas visitors annually, an impressive number, given it exceeds its local population by almost 1.5 times. The nationalities of visitors to Portugal generally vary, but most visits occur from neighboring SPAIN, the UK and GERMANY.
When to go
Portugal’s high season runs from mid-June to mid-September, when temperatures across the country average around 27°C (80.6 ºF). In July and August it gets hot, particularly in the Algarve, the Alentejo and the upper Douro valley, where the mercury can climb to over 45°C (113 ºF).
If you’d rather skip the crowds (and the heat), consider a trip in spring, when the countryside is at its most verdant, or in autumn, when it’s still warm but the summer crowds have dispersed. During winter (November to March) the rains arrive, falling most heavily in the north and most lightly in the south (the Algarve gets near year-round sunshine), with a handful of places closing down. Travelling then, however, will net you substantial savings at many hotels, and you’ll see the country’s most traditional side.
It’s worth making a beeline for a Portuguese festival, particularly Carnaval in February or March, and Holy Week (the week before Easter) in March or April. Dates vary annually, so check with a turismo (tourist information office).
Festivities in Portugal
During the month of June, festivities dedicated to three saints known as Santos Populares (popular saints) take place all over Portugal. They are characterised by folk dance and music, particularly the traditional melancholy fado .
Each region of Portugal is distinct in its own right as each one offers traditional dishes made with various kinds of meat and seafood. More specifically in terms of seafood, the country is particularly well known for its one hundred ways of cooking cod.
Why visit Portugal and rent a Car from MisterHire.Com:
There are probably a thousand reasons for anyone to visit Portugal, but the best 5 come down to mesmerizing food, some of the best wines in the world, excellent and reliable weather conditions, a rich history and the variety of clean welcoming beaches.
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Renting a car in Portugal is an extremely popular choice for tourists, especially from places such as Faro Airport and the greater Algarve agea. Year after year it is rediscovering itself as one of the busiest and most popular destinations on the Iberian Peninsula. Whether it is exploring the Algarve coastline and sampling its mouth-watering seafood dishes, or find out more about Lisbon and further engage in its charming cultural character, the best way to do it is in one of our hire cars. We compare prices from hundreds of suppliers such as Sixt, Hertz, Budget and Thrifty to find you the cheapest rental price possible. As our purchasing teams do the work in securing the best local rental rates around, there is no need for you to waster hours of valuable time in front of computer screens. Book a rental car early with us in order to ensure availability of the selected car model, arrange all other details of your trip such as accomodation and flight and rest assure that for the car hire part, there will be a MisterHire.Com car waiting for you in Portugal!
Speed limits in Portugal for cars without trailers and motorcycles:
50 kph - in built-up areas
90 kph - on normal roads
100 kph - on roads restricted to motor vehicles
120 kph - on motorways