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Summary: Portugal is in southwestern Europe, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, to the west of Spain, and is mountainous north of the Tagus River, with rolling plains in south. One of the world's seafaring powers during the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal has become a diversified and increasingly service-based economy since joining the European Community.
Capital: Lisbon
Time Zone: DST +0100 UTC
Population: 10,524,145
Languages: Portuguese, Mirandese
Power: 230 V, 50 Hz
Currency: Euro - Currently 1 EUR € = 1.4607 USD $
Climate: Portugal has a maritime temperate climate that leaves the country cool and rainy in the north, and warmer and drier in the south.

Lisbon: Often compared to San Francisco in the United States, Lisbon is a juxtaposition of urban sophistication and antique charm. See the historic port of Belem and the huge Praca do Comercio waterfront market, as well as Castelo de Sao Jorge with its free admission in the Alfama district.

Faro: In the capital of the Algarve region, you can find beaches, nightlife, and Moorish buildings along the coastline. You can still see the scars from a catastrophic tidal wave in 1755, however, sights like the eerie Capela de Ossos, or Chapel of Bones decorated with the remains of more than 1200 previous monks, and the Carmo Church are some of the architectural highlights that make up the landscape.

Oporto: Located at the mouth of the Douro River and the Douro Valley, Porto, locally called Oporto, is Portugal's second largest city, and features a lot of wine bars serving food and port, the country's namesake wine. Shop in the Ferreira district, the cosmopolitan center of Porto, or see some of the museums or churches before setting sights on a nice glass of port served with your meal to enjoy.


Internet Spaces: Many cities have Internet Spaces, which are normally located in the town center, run by the City Hall, and provide free access to the Internet.

Azulejos: These are traditional handpainted Portugese tiles, and can be found all over the country. Normally blue and white, they can be found in churches, public buildings, and for sale in local shops.

When To Visit: About six weeks before Easter, Carnaval is celebrated, making a huge appearance with parades and parties, similar to celebrations across other parts of the world.

Food: Cod is one of the traditional staples, along with varieties of caldo, a mixed broth, and sopa de marisco, shellfish soup, and the traditional caldeirada fish stew. Port is the primary wine recognized, but Portuguese white wines are also excellent.

Tipping: The standard tip of 5-15 percent is fine, but check the bill and round up to the next whole Euro as the service charge is normally included. Cab drivers expect an extra 10 percent.

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