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STUDY IN portugal  - About portugal

General Information    |    Geography    |    Government    |    Communication

General Information


Area: 92,142 sq km (35,655 sq miles).

Population: 10,084,245 (July 2002 est.)
Population Growth Rate: 0.18% (2002 est.)
Population Density: 112.0 per sq km.

Capital: Lisbon

Ethnicity / Race: homogeneous Mediterranean stock; citizens of black African descent who immigrated to mainland during decolonization number less than 100,000; since 1990 East Europeans have entered Portugal

Language: Portuguese. English is widely spoken within the business community

Currency: The Euro is now the official currency of 12 EU member states (including Portugal). The first Euro coins and notes were introduced in January 2002; the Portuguese Escudo was still in circulation until 28 February 2002, when it was completely replaced by the Euro. Euro (€) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of €500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of €2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents.

Religion: Roman Catholic.

Time: GMT (GMT + 1 from last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October).

Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50Hz. 110 volts in some areas and 220 DC in parts of the south. Continental two-pin plugs are in use.

Health: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over 1 year of age arriving in (or going to as a destination) the Azores or Madeira, if coming from infected areas. However, no certificate is required from passengers transiting through Funchal, Porto Santo and Santa Maria.

Customs: Portugal is a country of astonishing beauty and diversity, not to mention clear blue skies and friendly, courteous people. Pick any destination and the view from your window might be a rugged stretch of windswept coastline (Cabo do São Vicente, Castelejo, Cabo Espichel), a pristine beach where fishermen mend their nets beside brightly painted sardine boats (Albufeira, Bordeira, Praia do Camilo) or a cobbled street overlooked by dazzling whitewashed houses with wooden balconies and red-tiled roofs.

Portugal is a land of infinite options. You can mingle with the crowds in one of the more sophisticated beach resorts or wander through the medieval quarters of historic cities like Lisbon, Porto, Braga or Coimbra. To explore the more remote beauty spots (car hire is relatively cheap, driving a delight) stay overnight in a romantic pousada – a converted farm, monastery or manor house enjoying a wonderful setting – an amazing bargain. If it’s an activity holiday you’re looking for, Portugal is one of Europe’s premier golfing destinations while the tennis schools are second-to-none. You could try your hand at big game fishing or horseriding, learn how to windsurf or water ski. Other unmissable experiences include Fado (Portugal’s answer to soul music), country fairs where centuries old folk traditions are lovingly reenacted, Port wine tastings and mouthwatering fish suppers. Portugal is a country ripe for discovery.

Communications: Country code: 351. Outgoing international code: 00





Location: Southwestern Europe, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Spain

Geographic coordinates: 39 30 N, 8 00 W

Total: 92,391 sq km
Water: : 440 sq km note: includes Azores and Madeira Islands
Land: 91,951 sq km

Coastline: 1,793 km

Maritime claims: contiguous zone: 24 NM
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM

Territorial sea: 12 NM

Climate: maritime temperate; cool and rainy in north, warmer and drier in south

Terrain: mountainous north of the Tagus River, rolling plains in south

Elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Ponta do Pico (Pico or Pico Alto) on Ilha do Pico in the Azores 2,351 m

Natural resources: fish, forests (cork), tungsten, iron ore, uranium ore, marble, arable land, hydropower

Natural hazards: Azores subject to severe earthquakes

Environment - current issues: soil erosion; air pollution caused by industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution, especially in coastal areas

Geography - note: Azores and Madeira Islands occupy strategic locations along western sea approaches to Strait of Gibraltar.





Government Structure: Since 1982, when the Military Council of the Revolution was abolished, Portugal has been formally governed by a directly elected President, who is head of state and appoints a Prime Minister and Council of Ministers. Legislation is handled by the unicameral 230-member Assembly which, like the President, is elected for a five-year term. Following constitutional amendments promulgated in 1997, the number of deputies will probably be reduced further to between 180 and 200. The Azores and Madeira are integral parts of the Portuguese republic, but since 1976 have had autonomous governments. Macau, now a Special Administrative Region of China, is governed by special statute (see Macau section).





Telephone: IDD is available. Country code: 351. Outgoing international code: 00. There are call boxes in most villages and all towns; there are also public telephones in many cafes and bars, from which international calls may be made.

Mobile telephone: GSM 900/1800 networks. Operators include:

Coverage exists across the whole country.

Fax: Available at fax bureaux and large hotels in major cities.

Internet: ISPs include Esoterica, which operates an Internet Access Center, and Telepac, Comnexo and Sonet. Internet cafes exist in all urban areas, and some post offices offer Internet facilities.

Telegram: There are telegram facilities at most major hotels. The public office at Praça dos Restauradores, Lisbon is open daily 0900-1800.

Post: Post offices (correios) are usually open Mon-Fri 0800-2200, Sat-Sun 0900-1800. The post office at Lisbon Airport is open 24 hours a day. Airmail to European destinations from continental Portugal and the Azores takes 3 days; from Madeira, up to 5 days. There are poste restante facilities at post offices throughout the country.

Press: Each region has its own Portuguese-language dailies. The English-language newspapers published in Portugal include: Anglo Portuguese News (Lisbon), and The News (Algarve).

Radio: BBC World Service (website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice). From time to time the frequencies change and the most up-to-date can be found online.


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