Portugal Country Information


According to topschoolsintheusa, Portugal is a monolingual country. The official language is Portuguese. Portuguese is spoken approx. 184 million people on three continents. This language has similarities with Spanish, both of them are derived from Latin.

However, Portuguese differs significantly from Spanish in terms of pronunciation and grammar.
The vocabulary of the Portuguese language was enriched by Arabic and German words, as well as the vocabulary of the languages ​​of the Asian peoples, with whom the Portuguese explorers and traders came into contact. The most significant work of medieval Portuguese literature is the epic poem Lusiada (1572), written by Luis de Camões. It tells of the Portuguese geographical discoveries and glorifies Portugal and its people.


Portugal in its history and traditions is a Roman Catholic country; almost 94% of its inhabitants profess Catholicism. However, the church is separated from the state and does not receive direct financial support from it. Less than 1% of the inhabitants are Protestants. There are Jewish communities in Lisbon and Porto (200 thousand people). About 5% of the country’s inhabitants recognize themselves as atheists.

State system and politics

From 1926 to 1974 in Portugal there was a conservative dictatorial regime of the so-called. “new state”. In fact, the country was ruled for 36 years by António de Oliveira Salazar, who served as prime minister.
He banned all political organizations except the National Union he founded, and sought to control the entire population through a network of youth organizations, veterans’ associations, and other institutions officially supported by the state. Salazar made extensive use of propaganda and censorship, and suppressed dissent with the help of the secret police. During the dictatorship of Salazar and the six-year rule of his successor, Marcel Caetano, the ever-increasing costs of maintaining power in the recalcitrant African colonies led to the impoverishment of most workers and peasants in Portugal itself. At the same time, the profits from the colonies went to a small commercial, industrial, and landowning oligarchy. By many measures, Portugal was the poorest country in Western Europe.

On April 25, 1974, a group of young officers who made up the Movement of the Armed Forces (ICE) and opposed the endless wars in Africa and the repressive policies at home, overthrew the Cayetana regime and formed an interim government. The officers demanded negotiations with representatives of the liberation movements, an end to the existence of the police state and censorship, the formation of political parties, and the holding of elections to the Constituent Assembly within a year after the transition to civilian government. The initial two-year transition period was accompanied by political instability.
During this time, six provisional governments were replaced, attempts were made to carry out two coups d’état (one was inspired by the right forces, the other by the left); The country was engulfed in strikes and demonstrations. Nevertheless, on the first anniversary of the Rose Revolution, the Portuguese elected a Constituent Assembly, which drafted a constitution that came into force on April 2, 1976.

State structure

In contrast to Salazar’s corporate regime, the state system provided for by the 1976 constitution was based on democratic principles with elements of socialism. The legislature is a unicameral parliament (Assembly of the Republic), consisting of 250 deputies elected in general elections for a four-year term.

The Assembly adopts laws and approves the budget. Executive power is divided between the president and the government headed by the prime minister. The president is elected in a general election for a term of five years and cannot be re-elected for a third term. The president’s powers include the appointment and removal of the prime minister and other ministers, and he can veto bills passed by parliament.

The government determines the policy of the country, forms the budget and exercises control over public administration. From 1976 to 1982, there was a State Council under the President, which was subsequently replaced by three new bodies: the Constitutional Court, the Advisory State Council, headed by the President and staffed by political and public figures, and the Supreme Council of National Defense.

In 1989, a series of amendments to the 1976 constitution were adopted: the goal was to build a “free and just society that cares for others,” instead of the previous wording – “building a classless society.” A clause was introduced allowing the sale of previously nationalized companies and a new course for agricultural reform was set. Some articles of the constitution were revised in 1992.

The head of state is President Georges Sampaio (since January 1996).
The head of government is Prime Minister Antonio Gutierres (since October 1995).
The President is elected by the population for a term of 5 years (the next elections are in January 2006).
Parliament– unicameral Assembly of the Republic, elected by the population for a term of 4 years. The leader of the party with the majority in parliament usually becomes prime minister.

Portugal has a centralized system of government. The continental part of the country is subdivided into 18 administrative districts. Smaller administrative units are municipalities and parishes.

Time difference
Portugal is 2 hours behind Estonia.

Car rent

The road network is generally decent and the choice of car rental companies is wide. The age of the driver must be at least 21 years old, to drive part of the car groups 23 years old and the driver’s license must be valid for at least 1 year. Rental prices starting from 480 CZK/day in the lower summer season and up to 630 CZK/day in the high season, in July-August. Gasoline costs 0.9-1.10 euros per liter. The highest speed limit is 90 km on roads and 120 km on highways. Between cities, some sections of highways are paid.


Very good opportunity for an active and sporty holiday. There are even 30 good quality golf courses in the region. You can practice various water sports (surfing, diving, sailing, water skiing) and fishing. It is possible to go hiking, horseback riding, play tennis. Various boat trips on the Algarve coast are popular. From the port of Portimão, ships leave both to the western side of Lagos and to the eastern side of Carvoiero. The range of possibilities is wide, from a trip of just a couple of hours to a one-day cruise with meals and drinks.


The climate of the southern part is Mediterranean – mild winters and hot, dry summers. In the north, winters are colder and summers are hotter. The onset of warmer nights and sea water only in June is due to the geographical location. The lower part brings the average temperature, which is usually lower in the first half and higher in the second half of the month.

Portugal Country Information