Portugal size: how big it is?

What is Portugal size? It depends. If you only consider the area, it stands for about 92 000 square km – to which corresponds 35 000 square miles. And that includes the Madeira and Azores islands, in the middle of the Atlantic.

If you love to compare, for instance, Portugal is about the size of the US state of Indiana, about 40% of the United Kingdom and we could fit the whole country 84 times in Australia!

Population

The country’s population is about 10 million inhabitants, with Lisbon, the capital, as the largest city (half a million), followed by Porto (200 000), Braga (136 000), Setúbal (120 000) and Coimbra (105 000).

Further, about 2/3 of the population lives in urban areas. Portugal has 159 cities, 581 small towns and 308 municipalities. And, rooting on its roman-catholic predominance, we can also list more than 3000 parishes.

All year round, the calendar is full of celebrations and festivities dedicated to all the patron saints and the Virgin and, in June, Lisbon host one of the big street parties on the planet, in honor of Santo António (Saint Anthony). You have to see it to believe it!

Coastline and food from the Sea

Portugal’s continental Atlantic coastline stretches for 837 km (about 520 miles) and includes some of the best sand and surf beaches in the world. But it also boasts amazing and dramatic cliffs and capes, including the westernmost point of Europe: the Cabo da Roca, standing 140m (460ft) above the sea.

Having the mighty Atlantic at the doorstep, no wonder the Portuguese cuisine is filled with sea flavors. We have amazing fish and seafood, and we eat it. A lot. Portugal is third largest consumer per capita, after Japan and Iceland, with 56Kg (123lb) per person each year.

Wine regions

And great food asks for what? Great wine. Portugal is home to 14 wine regions, on the mainland and the islands, including the Douro, known as the birthplace of Vinho do Porto, or Port Wine, and the oldest demarcated wine region in the world (1756). Reds, whites, roses, sparkling, fortified, we have them all, we drink them all and we sell them outside our borders. In 2020, the international markets bought 850 billion€ of Portuguese nectars.

Cork

What else is big in the Portugal? Ah, yes: Cork. The southern microclimate allows the country to generate 50% of the world’s production of this renewable and ecofriendly material, that goes a long way. Wine stoppers, of course, but also floors, walls, fashion items, furniture and even for the space industry. There are rockets in orbit made of Portuguese cork!

Easy travelling

The size of mainland Portugal is also a big plus when travelling. You can drive from the Algarve, in the South, to the Minho, up North, in about six hours, given that both regions are roughly 600km (370 miles) apart. If you are in Lisbon and want to go to Spain, two and a half hours and you are crossing the border. From Porto? One hour. But if you rather fly or use a train, all you have to do is choose. There are plenty of options, all of them affordable and reliable.

UNESCO Heritage sites

But doing Portugal in one stretch can be tricky. It’s easy to lose yourself in the landscape, the sea, the cities and the villages, the restaurants, the hidden paths, and the 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites that the country presents: Douro, Angra do Heroísmo (Azores), Tomar, Sintra, Elvas, Évora, Guimarães, Porto, Pico (Azores), Floresta Laurissilva (Madeira), Mosteiro de Alcobaça, Mosteiro da Batalha, Mosteiro dos Jerónimos e Torre de Belém (Lisbon), Vale do Côa, Universidade de Coimbra, Edifícios Reais de Mafra, e Santuário do Bom Jesus (Braga).

So, in your opinion, how big is Portugal?

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