Any surfer knows that Portugal is a wonderful surfing destination. But then again, with 586 miles (953 km) of coastline and a lovely weather all year round, there wasn’t really any doubt there.
But how much do you know really about Portugal? We’re here to reveal 20 interesting facts about Portugal so that the next time you’re hitting the waves, you are a bit more knowledgeable about this superb European country.
1. Portugal is one of the most popular surfing destinations in the world. Some of the most beloved beaches can be found in Nazaré, home to some of the biggest waves ever surfed, but also Algarve, Ericeira, Cascais and many, many more.
2. Talking of biggest waves, Nazaré is the place where Garret McNamara surfed the biggest wave in 2011 and then again in 2013. We’re not suggesting you try your luck there because that’s insanely dangerous, but the place is visually stunning!
3. There are thousands of surf schools in Portugal! Surfing is so popular in this country, that surf schools are popping up all the time. If you’re just getting into surfing or you want to improve your surfing skills, a surf camp in Portugal will be a wonderful experience.
4. Portugal is a renewable energy maven! In 2016, the country ran for four days straight on renewable energy alone. In 2013, renewable energy made up for 23% of the country’s electricity and in 2015, the figure rose to a whopping 48%.
5. Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in Europe – it is even older than Rome! People have been living in and around the capital since 1,200 BC.
6. Mainland Europe’s most western point is Cabo da Roca, Portugal. The city’s sea cliffs and granite boulders are stunning and a must-see!
7. Portugal is also the oldest nation-state in the Old Continent. In 1139, the Kingdom of Portugal came to life.
8. Portugal’s most famous drink is Port wine, which is a type of fortified wine produced in the Douro Valley. It’s sweet and red and it will knock you off your feet if you’re not careful.
9. The traditional Portuguese music, Fado, has been declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage.
10. Portuguese is the official language of 6 countries: Portugal, Cape Verde, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe, Brazil, Angola, and Guinea-Bissau and the co-official language of Macau, Equatorial Guinea and East Timor.
11. Mirandese is the co-official language of Portugal, alongside Portuguese. It was officially recognized in 1998 and it is spoken in the municipalities of Vimioso, Mogaduro and Miranda do Douro.
12. According to UNESCO, the Portuguese language is, after English, the fastest-growing European language.
13. One of the most devastating earthquakes in the world took place in Portugal in 1755, November 1st. It measured a magnitude of 9.0, and it was followed by even more disasters, such as a tsunami and fires. Around 275,000 people died and close to 90% of the country’s buildings were destroyed.
14. The weather is fine, fine, fine! Portugal has a Mediterranean weather and some parts of the country average 300 days of sunshine per year. If that sounds a bit like heaven, it’s because it is heaven!
15. Same sex marriage is legal in Portugal and has been since 2010. It was just the 6th country in Europe and 8th in the entire world to do so, at that time.
16. The bookstore Livraria Bertrand, in Portugal, was launched in 1732 and it is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest and largest bookstore chain in Portugal. It is also the oldest bookstore in the world that is still open!
17. The Vasco da Gama Bridge is the longest bridge in Europe and it’s located in Lisbon, Portugal’s capital. The bridge’s total length is 7.6 miles (12.3 kilometers)!
18. The origins of the famous Piri Piri sauce is Portuguese! The hot sauce was invented in Portugal, so if you plan on visiting the country, make sure you grab a few bottles. The sauce is quite hot and they will last you a lifetime!
19. The Portuguese love their fish! Apparently, the country has Europe’s highest fish consumption per capita, and it is among the top four in the entire world!
20. Portugal has some of the cleanest beaches in the world. In 2015, almost 300 beaches and 15 marinas were awarded the Blue Flag status, which is the most recognized standard for sustainable tourism, safety, water quality and general environmental responsibility.
We highly recommend a surf camp in Portugal, so go over to our website and choose from hundreds of offers!