I wrote an article covering interesting facts about Porto, so it seemed only fair to give Portugal’s capital some love too.
Here are some things you might not know about Lisbon.
In my post Interesting facts about Porto I mentioned that many street names in Portugal take the date of pertinent historical events.
As well as dates, such as 31 de Janeiro and 25 de Abril, many people’s names also pop up again and again on street signs, buildings and monuments. So in this post I decided to do some delving to see who these famous folks were.
I mentioned a while back that I was going to write about the relationship between Portugal and Spain, and given I’ve just returned from a visit to the neighbours over the border (San Sebastián to be precise, lovely spot), I thought it was a good time to put this post together.
On my travels I’ve heard comments along the lines of “I haven’t been to Portugal, but I went to Spain”, as if the two countries were one and the same, and “Do they speak Spanish in Portugal?”, suggesting the lines may be a little blurry, particularly for those outside Europe (they officially speak Portuguese in Portugal, in case you were wondering). While Portugal and Spain share a common 1200-kilometre border on Western Europe’s Iberian Peninsula, they are distinctly different countries, yet have shared a lot of history over the years.
Let’s take a look.
Since arriving in Portugal I’ve been fascinated by the country’s bridges, which appear to have been built with a ‘go big or go home’ attitude and could make even the slightest acrophobia sufferer recoil in fear. Hence, I thought I’d look into four notable cross-river engineering feats in the major cities of Lisbon and Porto. In its usual surprising way, Portugal has a few world firsts up its sleeve, as well as some interesting links to other internationally recognised structures … and a roller skating royal.
Street graffiti in Albufeira: 25 April forever
The 25 April (25 de Abril in Portuguese) is a national holiday in both Australia and Portugal for important yet different reasons. Read on to find out why.
As mentioned in my post A brief history of Portugal, Portugal’s economy once thrived. As incredibly skilled seafarers, the Portuguese went about securing a lion’s share of the world economy from the 15th century, trading everything from timber to spices to precious stones across the globe. As the longest-lived modern European colonial empire in history, the Portuguese Empire held up for almost six centuries.
If you weren’t otherwise occupied eating glue or staring out the window, you’ll likely recall being introduced to a chap named Ferdinand Magellan in primary school.
You may also recall Magellan was from Portugal and was the first person to lead a voyage around the globe.
While you may not have given it a great deal of thought, Portugal has a rather interesting history. In particular, Portugal lays claim to the world's first global empire (duly noted as a Guinness World Record and mentioned in my previous post), and the country’s largely successful world domination plans significantly shaped the world we live in today.
Life is one big holiday in Portugal.
Between monitoring the surf, watching football and consuming copious amounts of port flowing freely from the Douro Valley, the Portuguese simply don’t have time to do much else.
Well, that’s how the stereotype goes anyway.
But little Portugal might surprise you. For a pint-sized country sitting unassumingly in Europe’s far west, it’s got a few accolades to its name and certainly punched above its weight throughout history.
top Portugal travel blog to follow right now by The Culture Trip (2017)
The Portugal Wire is the blog of Australian travel writer and photographer Emily McAuliffe.
Things you might not know about Portugal
A brief history of Portugal
Who was the first person to sail around the world? (Hint: he was Portuguese ... and then he wasn't)
A quick overview of Portugal's economy
25 April: a shared day in history for Australia and Portugal
Portugal's bridges: go big or go home
Portugal and Spain: same same but different?
Interesting facts about Porto
Traditional Portuguese food: what to eat and drink in Portugal
Who are they? Famous names on the streets of Portugal
Interesting facts about Lisbon
Uncovering Porto's secret gardens
Lonely Planet Instagram takeover: sharing some of my favourite hidden spots in Portugal