Portugal sits at the bottom of Western Europe on a peninsula surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. In the 15th and 16th centuries, explorers set out from Portugal in boats to explore the world. They conquered parts of Asia, Africa and South America, including Brazil. They amassed great wealth.
Portugal Facts For Kids
- Portugal is in Europe.
- Lisbon is the capital.
- They speak Portuguese.
- It’s famous for port wine.
- Has Europe’s oldest bookstore.
- The national symbol is a rooster.
- It’s known for Fado music.
- Ronaldo is a soccer star.
- Cork trees are common.
- Borders Spain to the east.
Portugal, renowned for its distinctive culture that captivates children’s curiosity, is a hub of music, dance, art, language, and cuisine. The Portuguese people’s passion for music and dance is most notably seen through Fado, a folk music genre known for its sorrowful melodies and poignant lyrics.
The art of tile painting, or Azulejos, is another captivating element of the Portuguese culture, with beautifully handcrafted tiles adorning buildings throughout the country. The Portuguese language, spoken by over 220 million global citizens, is a fundamental component of their cultural identity.
Portugal’s rich culinary heritage, featuring dishes such as Bacalhau (codfish) and Pastéis de Nata (custard tarts), offers a gastronomic adventure for those seeking to indulge in unique flavors.
As the capital of Portugal, Lisbon offers a plethora of captivating landmarks that are sure to enthuse young explorers. Among these is the Torre de Belém, a monumental fortress tower that previously served as a defensive structure against sea invasions and is currently a UNESCO World Heritage site standing proudly on the rim of the Tagus River.
The Lisbon Oceanarium also attracts families due to its status as one of the world’s largest aquariums, providing a home for a diverse range of marine life including sharks, rays, and penguins.
The Lisbon Zoo, hosting over 2,000 animals, is another must-see destination. For those interested in history and architecture, the Jerónimos Monastery, another UNESCO World Heritage site, is an exemplar of the Manueline architectural style that is unique to Portugal, offering a glimpse into the country’s rich past.
Porto City Guide
Porto, also referred to as Oporto, holds the title of Portugal’s second-largest city, renowned for its captivating architecture and scrumptious cuisine. The city’s fame is further amplified as the birthplace of Port wine, a factor that draws in global tourists.
An integral part of Porto’s charm is its historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, characterized by narrow cobblestone streets and time-honored buildings. The city also caters to younger visitors through attractions like the enchanting Livraria Lello, considered one of the world’s most beautiful bookstores, and the Sea Life Aquarium which allows close encounters with captivating marine life.
Offering numerous parks and gardens, Porto ensures an enjoyable outdoor experience for children. Furthermore, the city is the proud home to FC Porto, one of Portugal’s foremost football clubs, making it an appealing destination for budding sports enthusiasts.
The Algarve in Portugal, renowned for its splendid beaches, is a top pick for family vacations. Children, in particular, will relish the adventure of traversing the vast array of over 100 distinctive beaches spread across a 200-kilometer coastline.
The region’s beaches are renowned for their captivating landscapes, characterized by golden sands, clear, turquoise waters, and majestic cliffs. During low tide, beachgoers can explore intriguing caves and rock formations on some of the beaches. The most frequented beaches in the Algarve include Praia da Marinha, Praia da Rocha, and Praia de Benagil.
Besides swimming and creating sandcastles, children can also participate in water sports such as surfing and paddleboarding. Staying until dusk is highly recommended in the Algarve, as the region is synonymous with striking sunsets that paint the sky with hues of pink and orange.
Portugal’s culture is enriched by its captivating cuisine, which offers a fascinating exploration for kids. Its wide-ranging and flavorsome food owes its distinct taste to Portugal’s historical maritime expeditions.
The most renowned Portuguese dish is ‘Bacalhau’, a salted and dried cod recipe that boasts hundreds of variations. Sardines also form a vital part of the Portuguese diet, typically grilled and accompanied by potatoes and salad.
Those with a penchant for sweets will be thrilled by Portugal’s array of desserts such as the mouth-watering ‘Pastel de Nata’, a custard tart. An interesting fact for kids is that Portugal stands as one of the leading cork producers globally, with a significant portion used in wine bottles, particularly for its famous Port wine.
History of Portugal
Portugal, one of the oldest countries in Europe with a history dating back thousands of years, gained its independence in the year 1143, making it nearly nine centuries old. The country boasts a rich historical tapestry woven with the adventures of world-renowned Portuguese explorers such as Vasco da Gama and Ferdinand Magellan, who made significant contributions during the Age of Discovery.
Portugal also has a controversial past, being the first European nation to participate in the transatlantic slave trade in the 15th century. In more recent history, the 20th century saw Portugal transition from a dictatorship to a democracy in a peaceful revolution, famously known as the Carnation Revolution of 1974.
This revolution earned its name from the symbolic act of civilians inserting carnations into the barrels of soldiers’ rifles as a gesture of peace, making it a truly remarkable and interesting historical event.
Famous Portuguese People
As the origin of numerous renowned and influential figures, Portugal, a nation celebrated for its abundant culture and history, has made significant contributions to the world stage. This includes the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, a world-class soccer player hailing from Madeira, whose triumphs in the sport have propelled him to global fame.
Portugal’s historical impact is further exemplified by the accomplishments of Vasco da Gama, the first European to establish a maritime route to India, which left an indelible mark on global history. The country’s literary prowess shines through figures such as José Saramago, the recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Literature. The accomplishments of these individuals underscore the immense talent and potential that this extraordinary country consistently produces.
Situated in Southwest Europe, Portugal captivates with its diverse geographical features that serve as a rich educational resource for kids. As the westernmost country of mainland Europe, Portugal is flanked by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south, and Spain to the north and east.
The country’s landscape is bisected by its primary river, the Tagus, creating distinct geographical regions. North of the Tagus, the terrain ascends into mountains towards the interior, punctuated with plateaus and river valleys.
Conversely, south of the Tagus, the Alentejo region’s plains transition into the Algarve, renowned for its striking cliffs and sandy coves. Beyond the mainland, Portugal’s territory extends to the Atlantic archipelagos of Azores and Madeira, celebrated for their verdant landscapes and volcanic roots. Portugal’s unique geographical location and diversity offer kids studying geography a thrilling journey of exploration and discovery.
Portuguese, the official language of Portugal, is globally recognized as the 6th most spoken language with a native speaker base exceeding 220 million. Its influence extends beyond Portugal to other nations such as Brazil, Angola, and Mozambique, a consequence of historical connections.
Portuguese, primarily rooted in Latin as a result of Roman settlers’ impact around 2000 years ago, also incorporates elements of Arabic in its vocabulary, reflecting the Moorish occupation of the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages.
Renowned as one of the world’s top wine producers, Portugal boasts a diverse and thriving economy, further distinguished by its dominance in global cork production, accounting for half of the total supply.
The nation’s economic vitality extends to a strong manufacturing sector, with particular emphasis on automotive and machinery production. In recent years, Portugal’s economy has also witnessed a surge in the technology sector, becoming a nurturing ground for numerous thriving tech startups.
Additionally, the country’s rich historical heritage, stunning landscapes, and inviting climate make tourism a significant pillar of the economy, drawing millions of visitors annually. Despite its geographical size, Portugal’s economy is a testament to robust versatility, underpinning its consistent growth and development.
Today, though, Portugal is one of the poorest countries in Western Europe. The country was ruled by the dictator, Oliveira Salazar, from 1932 to 1970. Portugal won its freedom in 1974. Many people here farm using traditional methods, such as plows pulled by oxen. Other people grow cork oak trees to harvest oak. Portugal produces more cork than any other country.
Fun Facts about Portugal for Kids
- Lisbon is the capital city of Portugal.
- The president of Portugal is Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.
- Portugal has 35,502 square miles of land.
- 10,609,000 people live in Portugal.
- The official language of Portugal is Portuguese.
- 98 percent of people in Portugal are Christian. Most of them are Catholic.
- Portugal has a multiparty democracy.
- 95 percent of adults in Portugal can read.
- People in Portugal can expect to live 81 years.
- At 2351 m Mount Pico is the tallest mountain in Portugal.
- The Tagus river is the longest river in Portugal at 1,038 km.
- There are no active volcanoes in Portugal.
- On November 1, 1755 Lisbon was struck by a massive 8.5 – 9 magnitude earthquake. Because the records are old it is estimated that anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 people lost their lives.
- The capital Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in Europe.
- Vasco da Gama Bridge is the longest bridge in Europe at a length of 17.2 km.
- Port (wine) is the Portuguese national drink.
- Lavender is the national flower of Portugal.
- Peninsula: a portion of land attached to a larger landmass that juts out into a body of water.
- Explore: to look at something in a careful way to learn more about it.
- Conquer: invade and defeat another area, country or group of people
- Amass: gather, collect, save
- Wealth: money, riches, resources
All About Portugal Video for Kids
Check out this cool video all about Portugal for kids:
This is a video presentation of the tourist, natural and cultural attractions and the activities you can do in Portugal.
Question: Where do people live in Portugal?
Answer: Most people live along the coast, in the large city of Lisbon.
Map of Portugal
Here’s a map of the country of Portugal and all its cities and villages. Zoom in to get into street level or zoom out to see other countries around Portugal! You can see the terrain, but also see the roads, images of the buildings and even take a 3D tour through the streets of the cities of Portugal, as though you are actually there!
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