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Portugal is a country in Southwestern Europe, bordered on the South and West by the Atlantic Ocean, and on the North and East by Spain. Occupying about 16 percent of the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal has a total area of 35 672 square miles, and a population of slightly more than ten million people.The Portuguese capital is Lisbon, other major cities include Braga, Coimbra, Évora, Faro, Guimarães, Porto, Setúbal. Besides mainland Portugal, the country also includes the archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira. Despite its small size, the country displays a great diversity of geographic features, creating a contrast between plain areas (mostly in the South) and extremely mountainous zones (in the Northern half). As a member of the European Community and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), Portugal plays a greater role in both European and world affairs than its size would suggest. Nonetheless, it is one of the poorest countries in Western Europe.

Hospitality Networks

to be added.

Other Accomodations - Outros Alojamentos

Hotels – Hotéis

to be added.


[English] Portugal has many quality and affordable hostels. You can find a comprehensive list with reviews here.

[Português] Portugal tem muitos hostels de boa qualidade e baratos. Podes encontrar aqui uma lista abrangente.

Youth Hostels - Pousadas da Juventude

[English] Click here for the list of Portuguese youth hostels.

[Português] Clica aqui para uma lista com todas as pousadas de juventude em Portugal.

Camping – Campismo

to be added.

Emergency List

Portugal uses the general European Emergency Number 112. This number can be dialed from any landline or mobile in order to reach the emergency services (ambulances, fire-fighters and police).

Portugal usa o Número Europeu de Emergência 112. Este número pode ser ligado a partir de qualquer linha fixa ou telemóvel para contactar os serviços de emergência (ambulâncias, bombeiros e polícia).

Forest Fires

Dial 117 to connect to firefighters in case of a Forest Fire.

Foreign Embassies




Credit Cards

  • American Express: 707 50 40 50 / 21 427 82 05
  • Mastercard: 800 811 272
  • Visa: 800 811 107



Airports Information


Timetables and prices


Buses Portuguese only.

to be expanded.

Other Practical Information


Since the 1st of January 1999, the Euro (€) has been the currency of the Eurozone, consisting of most members of the European Union, including Portugal.


The local current is 220 AC and the connection is made by a two-pin plug.

Traveller's from the USA will require a voltage converter.

Travellers from the UK will require a plug adapter and this is best bought in the UK as they are hard to find in Lisbon.

History of Portugal

Portugal emerged as a country in 1143, after a 15 year rebellion by Dom Afonso Henriques (Afonso I). Afonso Henriques defeated his mother Countess Teresa of Portugal, regent of the County (Condado) of Portugal and loyal to the Kingdom of Leon, at the battle of Sao Mamede (Batalha de Sao Mamede) near the town of Guimaraes, in June of 1128. Countess Teresa was imprisoned and exiled by her son, and died in 1130. Guimaraes is therefore known as the birthplace city of Portugal.

However the true test of an independent nation did not happened until 1385 when Joao Mestre de Avis (John of Avis) with the help of legendary supreme constable Nuno Alvares Pereira defeated the Castilians at the epic Aljubarrota battle where the Castilians outnumbered the Portuguese 6:1. John I (Dom Joao I) was crowned King of Portugal. John I along with his sons, Duarte (to became the King in succession), Henry The Navigator, and Afonso started the "Golden Decades" of worldwide discoveries (15th and 16th centuries). Following its heyday as a world power during the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal lost much of its wealth and status with the destruction of Lisbon in a 1755 earthquake, occupation during the Wars, and the independence in 1822 of Brazil as a colony.

In 1974, a left-wing military coup installed broad democratic reforms, which had the opposite effect. Too much freedom too quickly placed the country in total "democratic chaos" with union bosses, corrupt politicians, and left-wing and right-wing extremists taking turns plundering the country, and lead to the implementation of disastrous economic and labor plans.


The staple diet is one of fish, meat, vegetables and fruit. Although Portugal's waters abound with fresh fish, the dried, salted codfish known as 'bacalhau', often imported, is considered the national dish. In some countries, at Christmas time, people eat turkey, in Portugal people eat boiled 'bacalhau', with olive oil, potatoes, grain and cabbages.

In many areas, meat is seldom eaten, although the Alentejo region is known for its pork and Trás-os Montes for cured meats. Breads and sweets - the latter a legacy of Moorish occupation - take a variety of forms, with many regional specialities.

Wine is the ubiquitous table beverage.


Portuguese culture is based on a past that dates from prehistoric times into the eras of Roman and Moorish invasion. All have left their traces in a rich legacy of archaeological remains, including prehistoric cave paintings at Escoral, the Roman township of Conimbriga, the Temple of Diana in Évora and the typical Moorish architecture of such southern towns as Olhão and Tavira.

Throughout the centuries, Portugal's arts have been enriched by foreign influences, including Flemish, French and Italian. The voyages of the Portuguese discoverers opened the country to Oriental influences and the revelation of Brazil's wealth of gold and jewels fed the Baroque flame in decoration.

Speaking Portuguese

Once in Portugal, the Portuguese will appreciate that you make an effort to speak their language.

Almost all Portuguese speak English and they also appreciate that you say "please" whenever you’re asking for something.


Portugal is a country essentially agriculturist, exporting 75 percent of its agricultural and cattle production.

The viniculture dominates the agricultural activities to the North of the Douro (where you can find the generous Porto wine) and, annually, about 15 million litres are produced.

Portugal is the biggest producer, in Europe, of cork oak and has, equally, a big importance in the olive oil production and exportation of canned food. The fishing industry is also important to the national economy.

The construction and steel industries have gradually increased along with the tourist industry, a precious source of foreign currency.

Member of the European Union since 1986, Portugal enjoys a healthy economic growth.

Places to see

North of Portugal







Viana do Castelo

Vila Real


Castelo Branco







Center / South













Portugal Guide


Basic Portuguese Phrases - just the basics, knowing these few words will help.

This article or its section is a stub. Please add some more info.


Following its heyday as a world power during the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal lost much of its wealth and status with the destruction of Lisbon in a 1755 earthquake, occupation during the Napoleonic Wars, and the independence in 1822 of Brazil as a colony. A 1910 revolution deposed the monarchy; for most of the next six decades, repressive governments ran the country. In 1974, a left-wing military coup installed broad democratic reforms. The following year, Portugal granted independence to all of its African colonies. Portugal is a founding member of NATO and entered the EC (now the EU) in 1986.

Portugal has become a diversified and increasingly service-based economy since joining the European Community in 1986. Over the past decade, successive governments have privatized many state-controlled firms and liberalized key areas of the economy, including the financial and telecommunications sectors. The country qualified for the European Monetary Union (EMU) in 1998 and began circulating the euro on 1 January 2002 along with 11 other EU member economies. Economic growth had been above the EU average for much of the past decade, but fell back in 2001-05. GDP per capita stands at two-thirds that of the Big Four EU economies. A poor educational system, in particular, has been an obstacle to greater productivity and growth. Portugal has been increasingly overshadowed by lower-cost producers in Central Europe and Asia as a target for foreign direct investment. The government faces tough choices in its attempts to boost Portugal's economic competitiveness while keeping the budget deficit within the eurozone's 3%-of-GDP ceiling.

The most important industries are textiles and footwear; wood pulp, paper, and cork; metals and metalworking; oil refining; chemicals; fish canning; rubber and plastic products; ceramics; electronics and communications equipment; rail transportation equipment; aerospace equipment; ship construction and refurbishment; wine; tourism.

The currency is the EURO since, on 1 January 1999, the European Monetary Union introduced the euro as a common currency to be used by financial institutions of member countries; on 1 January 2002, the euro became the sole currency for everyday transactions within the member countries.

Portugal's telephone system has achieved a state-of-the-art network with broadband, high-speed capabilities and a main line telephone density of 53% domestic: integrated network of coaxial cables, open-wire, microwave radio relay, and domestic satellite earth stations international: country code - 351; 6 submarine cables; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (2 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean), NA Eutelsat; tropospheric scatter to Azores; note - an earth station for Inmarsat (Atlantic Ocean region) is planned.

Portugal does not recognize Spanish sovereignty over the territory of Olivenza based on a difference of interpretation of the 1815 Congress of Vienna and the 1801 Treaty of Badajoz.

This data was collected on https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/po.html