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Celebrating the past, reinventing the future

Portugal is proud of its more than eight centuries of history.

Portugal was a pioneer of globalisation and has always praised cultural diversity. The Portuguese explored the oceans and have been connecting people since the 1500s.

A nation where family and friends rank high, Portugal is often defined as “a country of mild manners” and  is currently one of the top-4 safest countries worldwide. Understandably, the revolution that restored democracy in 1974 could only have been peaceful.

This richness of historical events and multicultural environment is an ever-present feature in all areas of art, traditions or lifestyle that assume particular differences across the country.

Whatever the place you choose to study, to do research, to work or to live, you will always find this heritage to discover and explore.

Little Big Things About Portugal

The History

The city of Guimarães was the birthplace of Portugal. Recognised as an independent nation in 1143, it is one of the oldest countries in Europe. After the country's mainland frontiers became settled in 1249, the monarchy ventured out overseas reaching Africa, India and Brazil, "giving new worlds to the world".

In 1820, Portugal became a constitutional monarchy and in 1910 was declared a Republic. A military dictatorship led to the “Estado Novo” in 1933. The "Carnation Revolution" restored democracy on the 25th of April 1974. To this day, Carnations remain a symbol of liberty.

In the aftermath, São Tomé e Príncipe, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and Cape Verde became independent nations, with whom friendship ties grew stronger, together with Brazil and East Timor, through the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP).

The Country

Portugal is home to slightly over 10 million inhabitants spread across the 18 districts of its continental territory, and the archipelagos of Azores and Madeira. Lisbon is the country's capital.

Portugal has been blessed with an extensive coastline washed by the Atlantic, the green fields of the North, the mountains of the Interior, the vast plains of the South, the sunny Algarve, the volcanic islands of the Azores, and the shear beauty of Madeira.

Located in the convergence of three continents - Europe, Africa and America - Portugal has always been a central point in international routes, which makes it easy to reach from almost anywhere in the world.

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The Climate

More than 3 000 hours of sunlight per year, an average of 8h of sunlight per day, which then translates into 70% of sunny days.

A climate this good is an invitation to go out. Exterior areas become extensions of home and work and provide the perfect backdrop for outdoor activities and to meet locals.

Don't miss out on making the most of it.

The Political System

Portugal is a democratic state based on the rule of law.

The head of state is the President of the Republic. The members of Parliament are elected by universal suffrage. The Government emanates from the Parliament and is headed by the Prime Minister, normally the leader of the most voted political party.

The Courts administer the justice, defending the rights and interests of the citizens.

Portugal is also a member of the European Union since 1986, and of various international organizations (United Nations, OECD, NATO, Council of Europe, among others).

The Economy

After joining the the European Union, Portugal benefited from considerable growth and economic development, throughout the 1990s, in part due to the funds spent on improving the infrastructures of the country.

Portugal is nowadays a modern economy, where the service industry has had an increasingly important role.

Portugal is ranked the 46th most competitive economy of 138 countries, according to the Global Competitiveness Index 2016-2017.

The Religion

Catholicism is the predominating religion, but religious freedom is the rule, which translates into the presence of many different denominations and places of worship.

There is a vast religious heritage to discover, with many catholic as well as Muslim and Jewish architectural monuments.


No travel through Portugal would be complete without fado.

Fado is the musical and poetic expression of the Portuguese identity arising from the harmonious blend of guitar and voice.

Amália Rodrigues was, in the last century, its great ambassador overseas, but the tradition of fado - either close to its roots or reinterpreted - is very much alive in the work of dozens of new musicians who are winning audiences around the world.


Tunas are a staple in academic festivities.

Dressed for the occasion and accompanied by traditional instruments, groups of students lend body and voice to a unique and contagious form of musical expression.

Not to be missed, specially during the month of May.

Why Portugal?


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