General Information

Capital: Lisbon

Official Language: Portuguese 

Religion: ~85% Christian (80% Catholic)

Government: Unitary semi-presidential constitutional republic

Legislature: Assembly of the Republic

Area: 92,212 km2

Location: On the Mediterranean Basin in Western Europe; On the Iberian peninsula

Population: ~10,352,000

Climate: Mediterranean climate in the south, central interior and Douro river valley; A temperate maritime climate in the mainland highlands and mountains; A semi-arid climate in the far south and a warm desert climate in the Selvagens Islands

  • Portugal is one of the warmest countries in Europe

Geography: The north is mountainous while the south has rolling plains

  • Portugal is the westernmost country in Europe, located on the Iberian peninsula. 
  • It’s bordered to the west and south by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the north and east by Spain
  • Portugal has two archipelagos - the Azores and Madeira - which form two autonomous regions with their own regional governments.
  • Portugal is home to the world’s largest cork forest. 


  • GDP: $432 billion (2022 estimate)
  • Currency: Euro
  • Portugal is a developed country with an advanced economy. 
  • Main exports: clothing, footwear, machinery, chemicals, cork
  • Main trading partners: Spain, Germany France, UK, Angola
  • Portugal is the world’s largest cork producer, with >70% of the cork exports coming from the montados (cork oak forests) of the country.
  • The Port of Lisbon is one of Europe’s largest container ports along the Atlantic coast.
  • Tourism is a very important part of the Portuguese economy, it is one of the 20 most-visited countries in the world. 
  • Since Portugal joined the EU in 1986, it has moved from being a primarily agrarian economy to growing large industrial and service sectors.

Doing Business

  • English is widely spoken in business communities, although smaller family businesses might speak Portuguese exclusively.
  • When addressing colleagues, it is customary to use their title and their full name. 
  • Portuguese businesses are very hierarchical in structure. All final decisions are made by the head of the company. This can make for some drawn-out decision making. 
  • Businesses often take a two hour afternoon lunch, between 1 and 3PM. Also, time is flexible in Portugal - don’t be surprised if colleagues or business partners show up late for meetings or events, but that doesn’t mean you can.
  • It’s important to establish a rapport with Portuguese business partners through small talk and getting to know one another personally.
  • Portugal is a member of the EU, UN, the Schengen Area and the Council of Europe (CoE).
  • As of 2019, Portugal is ranked 39th on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Rankings

History & Culture

  • Portugal is one of the oldest countries in Europe.
  • The Phoenicians settled in Lisbon around 1200BC.
  • Portugal had one of the longest-lived maritime and commercial empires in the 15th and 16th centuries.
  • Brazil was colonized and ruled by Portugal for over 300 years, which is why most people in Brazil speak Portuguese.
  • Portuguese is the sixth most-spoken language in the world.
  • The Pasteis de Nata, a custard tart, originated in Lisbon. The family who makes them in the Belem district has kept the original recipe a secret since the 19th century. 
  • Port Wine is produced exclusively in the Douro Valley, a UNESCO Heritage Site. It is Portugal’s national drink and most famous export. 
  • Portugal is home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 


Trafalgar.com 17 Fun Facts About Portugal: https://www.trafalgar.com/real-word/fun-facts-about-portugal/ 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portugal - Portugal - Wikipedia

https://www.amorim.com/en/cork/cork-oak-forest - Amorim: Cork Oak Forest

https://www.worldtravelguide.net/guides/europe/portugal/business-communications/ - World Travel Guide - Portugal

https://www.veem.com/library/how-to-do-business-in-portugal/ - Veem: Doing Business in Portugal

March 15, 2023