Republic of Portugal Profile



General Facts:

Population10.46 million (2013)

Official Languages: Portuguese

Further  Languages: English,French,Spanish

South African Government:


Nine Provinces

Minho, Douro Litoral, Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Beira Alta, Beira Baixa, Beira Litoral, Estremadura, Ribatejo, Alto Alentejo, Baixo Alentejo and Algarve.

Area: 92,212 km²


About Portugal

Portugal is a southern European country on the Iberian Peninsula, bordering Spain and the Atlantic Ocean. Its oceanside location influences many aspects of its culture – salt cod and grilled sardines are national dishes, the Algarve’s beaches are a major tourist destination and much of the nation’s architecture dates to the 1500s-1800s, when Portugal had a maritime empire.


With over 800km of coastline, Portugal has you covered when it comes to beaches. Roughly half of Portugal’s border is formed by its long Atlantic shoreline, and there’s a beach for just about every taste – from tranquil moon-shaped coves to rocky shores pounded by raging surf; from kilometres of nearly untouched sand to party beaches where holidaymakers pack in like sardines. Portugal’s most famous beaches are in its southernmost province of the Algarve. Here you’ll find breathtaking cliffs, scalloped bays and sandy islands. For fewer crowds, cast your eye up the west coast; there are scores of great beaches and laid-back coastal towns from the Alentejo all the way to the Minho and the Galician border.

Read more: To View All Beaches Across Portugal

Crime & Security

In 2012, Portugal had a murder rate of 1.2 per 100,000 population. There were a total of 122 murders in Portugal in 2012.Portugal’s largest metropolitan areas Portugal’s largest metropolitan areas of Lisbon and Porto are the main sources of both petty crime and violent crime.are the main sources of both petty crime and violent crime. Portugal has a relatively low rate of violent crime, but low-level street crime is common. Petty thefts (muggings, purse snatching, vehicle theft, pickpocketing) occur frequently, particularly in the major cities. However Law enforcement is divided among several policing organizations and government ministries; each is competent, its staff generally well trained, and units reasonably equipped.
The emergency number is 112. (English speaking operators are available on request).
Maritime Police (plus pick-up boat service): 210 911 100
Maritime Police (24hrs emergency): 210 911 155/49

Currency: Portugal Euro

Emergencey Numbers
Medical emergency 115
Police – (polícia) 112
Fire Rescue 112
Forest Fires 117
Sea Rescue 214 401 919



The Portuguese currency is the euro (€). The country was one of the original member states of the eurozone. Portugal’s central bank is the Banco de Portugal, an integral part of the European System of Central Banks. Most industries, businesses and financial institutions are concentrated in the Lisbon and Porto metropolitan areas—the Setúbal, Aveiro, Braga, Coimbra and Leiria districts are the biggest economic centres outside these two main areas.[citation needed] According to World Travel Awards, Portugal is the Europe’s Leading Golf Destination 2012 and 2013.
Since the Carnation Revolution of 1974, which culminated in the end of one of Portugal’s most notable phases of economic expansion (that started in the 1960s), a significant change has occurred in the nation’s annual economic growth.[citation needed] After the turmoil of the 1974 revolution and the PREC period, Portugal tried to adapt to a changing modern global economy, a process that continues in 2013. Since the 1990s, Portugal’s public consumption-based economic development model has been slowly changing to a system that is focused on exports, private investment and the development of the high-tech sector. Consequently, business services have overtaken more traditional industries such as textiles, clothing, footwear and cork (Portugal is the world’s leading cork producer), wood products and beverages.
In the second decade of the 21st century the Portuguese economy suffered its most severe recession since the 1970s resulting in the country having to be bailed out by the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund. The bailout, agreed to in 2011, required Portugal to enter into a range of austerity measures in exchange for funding support of €78 billion. In May 2014 the country exited the bailout but reaffirmed its commitment to maintaining its reformist momentum. At the time of exiting the bailout the economy had contracted by 0.7{ce0b6caa7330d264a99bf2274397ea9acfae37cef65c53e30483c64cdf027e65} in the first quarter of 2014, however unemployment, while still high had fallen to 15.3 percent.


Education in Portugal
The educational system is divided into preschool (for those under age 6), basic education (9 years, in three stages, compulsory), secondary education (3 years, compulsory since 2010), and higher education (subdivided in university and polytechnic education).



Portugal’s colonial history has long since been a cornerstone of its national identity, as has its geographic position at the south-western corner of Europe, looking out into the Atlantic Ocean.Since the 1990s, along with a boom in construction, several new waves of Ukrainian, Brazilian, people from the former Portuguese colonies in Africa and other Africans have settled in the country. Romanian, Moldovans, Kosovar and Chinese have also chosen Portugal as destination. Portugal’s Romani population, estimated at about 40,000.
In addition, a number of EU citizens, mostly from the United Kingdom, other northern European or Nordic countries, have become permanent residents in the country (with the British community being mostly composed of retired pensioners and choosing to live in the Algarve and Madeira).



Despite being relatively restricted to an Atlantic sustenance, Portuguese cuisine has many Mediterranean influences. Portuguese cuisine is famous for seafood. The influence of Portugal’s former colonial possessions is also notable, especially in the wide variety of spices used. These spices include piri piri (small, fiery chili peppers) and black pepper, as well as cinnamon, vanilla and saffron. Olive oil is one of the bases of Portuguese cuisine, which is used both for cooking and flavoring meals.



The Portuguese health system is characterized by three coexisting systems: the National Health Service (Serviço Nacional de Saúde’, SNS), special social health insurance schemes for certain professions (health subsystems) and voluntary private health insurance. The SNS provides universal coverage. In addition, about 25{ce0b6caa7330d264a99bf2274397ea9acfae37cef65c53e30483c64cdf027e65} of the population is covered by the health subsystems, 10{ce0b6caa7330d264a99bf2274397ea9acfae37cef65c53e30483c64cdf027e65} by private insurance schemes and another 7{ce0b6caa7330d264a99bf2274397ea9acfae37cef65c53e30483c64cdf027e65} by mutual funds. The Ministry of Health is responsible for developing health policy as well as managing the SNS.



People with disabilities are protected by law against discrimination in employment, education, access to health care, or the provision of other state services, and the government effectively enforces the law. The law also mandates access to public buildings and ensures that the laws are adhered to. No legislation covers private businesses or other facilities.


Police Disability

The Polícia de Segurança Pública (Public Security Police), abbreviated as PSP, is the national Portuguese police force. Part of the Portuguese security forces, the mission of the PSP is to defend Republican democracy, safeguarding internal security and the rights of its citizens. Despite many other functions, the force is generally known for policing urban areas by uniformed police officers, while rural areas are normally reserved for the National Republican Guard (GNR), a gendarmerie force. Due to their high visibility, the PSP is recognized by the public as the “police” in Portugal.



The armed forces have three branches: Navy, Army and Air Force. They serve primarily as a self-defense force whose mission is to protect the territorial integrity of the country and provide humanitarian assistance and security at home and abroad. As of 2008, the three branches numbered 39,200 active personnel including 7,500 women. Portuguese military expenditure in 2009 was $5.2 billion, representing 2.1 percent of GDP. Military conscription was abolished in 2004. The minimum age for voluntary recruitment is 18 years.

Hotels & Accommodation

Portugal has a beautiful range of Hotels and Accommodation. The Portuguese Government formed the Pousadas of Portugal in order to preserve many historic and culturally important buildings by converting them into luxury hotels with elegant accommodation.





Political System

Politics in Portugal takes place in a framework of a semi-presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister of Portugal is the head of government. Portugal has a multi-party system. The President of Portugal is the executive head of state and has several significant political powers, which he exercises often. Executive power is exercised by the Council of Ministers. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Assembly of the Republic. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. Since 1975, the party system has been dominated by the social democratic Socialist Party and the liberal conservative Social Democratic Party.


Water supply and sanitation Culture of Portugal

The Water supply and sanitation services in Portugal have seen important advances in access to services, technologies used and service quality over the past decades (1980s–1990s), partially achieved thanks to important funds from the European Union. Nevertheless, sanitation still remains relatively low in mountain rural areas and some people have their own sources of water controlled by municipalities.


Visual arts

Portugal has a rich history in painting. The first well-known painters date back to the 15th century – like Nuno Gonçalves – were part of the Gothic painting period. José Malhoa, known for his work Fado, and Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro (who painted the portraits of Teófilo Braga and Antero de Quental) were both references in naturalist painting.

Culture of Portugal 

Belém Tower is a typical example of Portugal’s unique Manueline architecture. Portugal has developed a specific culture while being influenced by various civilizations that have crossed the Mediterranean and the European continent, or were introduced when it played an active role during the Age of Discovery. In the 1990s and 2000s.



Portugal is known to be the best Golfing Destination. Fourteen of Portugal’s courses are rated in the top 100 best in Europe. But its most famous sport is Soccer, The legendary Eusébio is still a major symbol of the greatest Portuguese football player in history. World Player of the Year winners Luís Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo are among the numerous examples of other world-class legendary football players born in Portugal and noted worldwide. Portuguese football managers are also noteworthy, with José Mourinho, André Villas-Boas, Fernando Santos,Carlos Queiroz and Manuel José among the most renowned.


Travel Tips

Portugal is a beautiful place to visit, although no serious crime takes place their is a high rate of theft such as pick pocketing, purse snatching. Tourist attraction areas are where is most likely to take place mainly in places like Porto and Lisbon, most of the time it happens at night.


Places To Visit…..

Belém Tower
The Douro River
Pena Palace 
Oceanário de Lisboa
Ria Formosa
Biblioteca joanina
Casa da Música
Sintra National Palace


Portugal has good internal transport networks and flight connections with Europe, it remains relatively isolated compared with other western European countries with few rail or bus routes going outside of the country. Portugal’s fast economic growth with increasing consumption and purchase of new automobiles set the priority for improvements in transportation, and  a national railway system that extends throughout the country and into Spain.



Public Transport

Tram Train– rattling through the narrow streets of Lisbon and Porto. Click Here for more.
Metro Train. Click Here for more.
Bus Transportation. Click Here for more.
Taxi Hire. Click Here for more.


Portugal’s Airlines

Aeroporto de Lisboa – International
Aeroporto do Porto – International
Faro Airport – International
Funchal – International
All Airlines


Visa Application

YellowFever Helpline  –




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