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Portugal General information

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General Information

Portugal is the country lying along the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula in south western Europe. It is bordered on the East and North by Spain, and on the West and South by the Atlantic Ocean. Occupying about 16 percent of the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal has a total area of 35 672 square miles, occupied by ten million people.
Despite its small size, the country displays a great diversity of geographic features, creating a contrast between plain areas and extremely mountainous zones.
Until the 1970s, Portuguese overseas territories included the Cape Verde Islands, Sã?o Tomé and Prí?ncipe, Portuguese Guinea, Angola and Mozambique (all in Africa), Macau (in Asia) and Timor (in Oceania). Of these, by the late 20th century, only Macau remained a Portuguese dependency, now under China’s dependance.
As a member of the European Community and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), Portugal plays a greater role in both European and world affairs than its size would suggest. Nonetheless, it is one of the poorest countries in Western Europe.
Total area: 92 389 sq km (including Madeira and Azores)
Land: 91959 sq km
Water: 430 sq km
Land use: 26 percent arable land; 9 percent permanent crops; 9 percent permanent pastures; 36 percent forests and woodland; 20 percent other.

Weather: maritime temperate; cold and rainy on the north coast, warm and dry on the south coast.
Terrain: Mountainous north of the Tagus river, rolling plains in south.

Portugal General information

Portugal is a small country where you can get almost everywhere by train or bus, or of course by car. There should be no need to fly if you're not in a hurry.

The Algarve is Portugal's southernmost province, bounded by the Atlantic ocean, the mountains of Caldeirao and Monchique and by the River Guadiana, it possesses a character distinct from the rest of Portugal. Dominated for 500 years by the Moors, they named the land Al Gharb - the western land. In search of fertile land they found an area warmed by the Gulf Stream with 3,000 hour of sunshine a year - more than the Costa Brava, Mallorca of the French Riviera - ideal for their orange groves, vineyards, almond and olive orchards.
Much of the Moorish influence can still be seen today in the region's architecture, music and language. There are more than 100 miles of rugged coastline with magnificent tide washed golden sand beaches or tiny hidden coves.
The Algarve has been most successful in retaining its particular character, you will find Portuguese fishermen working unconcerned on the beach alongside holidaymakers, or venture inland and you will be surprised to find this is still an undiscovered, unspoilt part of the world where old traditions still survive. In addition to excellent entertainment the Algarvian cuisine is delightful with plentiful supplies of fresh meat and sea food and year round availability of superb fruit and vegetables all washed down with local wine.

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