Destination Fun Facts: Portugal

Posted on 26 January 2024 By Nomvelo Masango

Boasting stunning beaches, rolling hills and a vibrant culture, Portugal is a great destination for those seeking a fun-filled and unforgettable vacation. The holidaymakers’ haven in southwestern Europe is filled with plenty of interesting attractions and activities to explore and enjoy.

Porto, Portugal

Photo: Daniel Seßler/Unsplash

If Portugal is somewhere on your bucket list, these fun facts may come in handy:

One of Europe’s oldest nation-states

Portugal is one of the European continent’s oldest nation states. In 1139, the country appointed King Afonso Henriques as its king.

Moreover, Portugal’s Lisbon is also reported to be four centuries older than Rome.

Lisbon, Portugal. Image credit: Diego Garcia

A surfer’s paradise

Portugal boasts 800km of Atlantic coastline. It also has a temperate climate all-year round. As such, it is the go-to destination for surfers. In fact, the official Guinness World Record for the largest wave ever surfed took place in Portugal’s Nazaré in October 2020.


Image: Nick Karvounis /Unsplash

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Portugal is home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Majority of these are cultural sites and play a pivotal part in the country’s tourism. Thus, it comes as no surprise that Portugal is one of the top 20 most visited countries in the world.

The country of tiles

In Portugal, the use of tiles to decorate floors and walls stems from way back. It  pleased the Portuguese kings and subsequently won pride of place in architecture from the 15th century.

Since then, buildings wrapped in tiles have become one of the country’s distinguishing marks. Interestingly, the use of tiles was originally adopted to protect the walls of houses from low temperatures and thus not for aesthetic purposes.

Today, azulejo tiles are commonly displayed in Portuguese homes, as well as train stations, restaurants, and fountains.

Sustainability and renewable energy

Azores Portugal

Photo: Martin Munk / Unsplash

Portugal is a country with a heavy interest in renewable energy. In fact, it is one of the first countries to set 2050 carbon neutrality goals.

In 2016, Portugal is reported to have ran on renewable energy powered by wind, sun and water for almost five consecutive days.

The destination was further ranked as the 4th green country in the European Union during 2020. This was across a number of environmental sustainability categories.

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