Portugal is the hidden gem of Europe and the Algarve is the hidden gem of Portugal. We know by now, the Algarve has a breath-taking coastline, best beaches of Europe, best golf courses of Europe… but what do you actually know of this beautiful country?
You have made the decision to spend your holidays to Portugal, or maybe even a longer period, or you live in Portugal?
Algarve Housing has put some social and geographical facts of Portugal, for you in a row.
Geography of Portugal
Portugal is situated in the south of Europe, at the western end of the Iberian Peninsula, bordering Spain on its northern and eastern frontiers, and with the Atlantic Ocean surrounding its southern and western frontiers. Its total size is 92 391 km2, including the islands of Madeira and the Açores, and 620 km2 of water.
Rivers in Portugal
Several rivers cross the country, mostly originated in Spain and dropping into the Atlantic Ocean. The main, primary ones, from north to south, are the Minho, the Douro, The Mandego, the Tagus and the Guadiana.
North of the Tagus River, the landscape is characterized by mountains intersected by deep valleys. The highest peak of 1993 m lies in the Serra da Estrela.
South of the Tagus, it is wide plains and rolling hills that make up the landscape, planted mostly with Mediterranean trees like the cork oaks, olive trees, figs, vineyards.
Climate in Portugal
Most of Portugal boasts a pleasant warm Mediterranean climate. Annual temperatures lie between 12°C and 13°C in the north of Portugal, and between 17°C and 18 °C in the south. The Algarve in the south of Portugal is drier and warmer than the north, the reason why this region is so popular with tourists.
The Portuguese population
The number of inhabitants of Portugal lies around 10,29 million (in 2018). Most live concentrated along the coast, especially around the capital, Lisbon, and the second major city, Porto. The regions of Alentejo, the interior area of the Algarve, Trás-os-Montes and Beiras have very low density.
Traditionally, Portugal is a country of emigration, with more than 5 million Portuguese people living abroad. In the last few decades, Portugal has received many immigrants from Brazil, Portuguese speaking African countries and eastern European countries. In the last few years, many northern Europeans have chosen Portugal as their base country.
Politics in Portugal
Portugal has been a Republic since the overthrow of the monarchy in 1910. It is only on April 25th
1974, with the Carnation revolution that ended a 22 year-long dictatorship, that the Democratic Republic was installed. A President is elected every 5 years as the chief of State and representing the Nation. He then appoints a Prime Minister, who is head of the Government and appoints the Council of Ministers.
Portugal is divided into seven regions: Porto and north; Center; Lisbon and Tagus Valley; Alentejo; Algarve; the Madeira islands; and the Azores islands. These, in turn, are divided into 18 districts for the sake of administration.
Religion in Portugal
The predominant religion in Portugal is Christianity. 81% of the nation is Catholic, although most do not practice very actively. However, it is a very common tradition to have your children baptized, to marry in church and to receive the Last Rites.
Economy in Portugal
Portugal joined the European Community in 1986 and since, has increasingly diversified its economy, turning it into a more service-based economy. Especially tourism has increased lately.
Over the past decades, the government has privatized many state-controlled firms. The country’s economy was badly affected by the financial crisis in 2007-2008 but has since 2014 recovered significantly. However, struggles are still tangible, and the minimum wage was only 557 euros in 2017.
Algarve Housing hopes that with this bit of background information on Portugal, you become more aware of the country you have chosen as your destination.
Next article we will update you about the history of Portugal!
Enjoy your holidays in the Algarve!
Happy Holidays and have a super 2020!