Portugal is a southern European country on the Iberian Peninsula, bordering Spain. Situated on the Atlantic Ocean has influenced many aspects of Portugal's culture. The Algarve's beaches are famous all over the world, and much of the nation’s architecture dates to the 1500s–1800s – when Portugal was a maritime superpower. Salt cod and grilled sardines are national dishes.
Portugal’s history is thought to extend as far back as 1000 BCE to the seafaring Phoenicians, who settled in the southern coast. The reality is that human habitation dates back much earlier. Megalithic ruins of stone circles, dolmens and menhirs have been dated to 4000-2000 BCE and cave paintings to 18000-13000 BCE (found near Evora in the Alentejo region). Over time, Portugal has been colonised by Celtic tribes, Romans (found in Evora in the Alentejo region and near Coimbra in the Beiras region), Vandals, Visigoths and Arabs (Moors). The Moors ruled Christian Portugal from 711 until they were overthrown in the 12th and 13th centuries. Moorish influence is felt in the Algarve and Lisbon coast regions. In the 15th century, Portugal pioneered the world in exploration seeking a sea route to India which monopolised the lucrative spice trade. Portugal went on to establish many colonies and create its own monopolies, discovering Brazil in 1500, which became it’s richest colony.
Its fascinating and rich history offers the intrepid traveller an unforgettable trip.