Five things you didn’t know about Portugal

Now you’ve probably heard of Portugal and its capital city, Lisbon.

Now you’ve probably heard of Portugal and its capital city, Lisbon. Maybe this is because of Cristiano Ronaldo (the footballer), or maybe because of the beautiful beaches and lovely weather.

Situated in Europe and bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, it is described as a peaceful nation over 92 km2 of land. With a population of 10.6 million people, the country thrives from seafaring and cultural history. From looking at pictures of Portugal, you can probably guess that it does good food, gives you a nice tan and has some very wealthy areas but there are some things that you just didn’t know.


Portugal saw the first ever hot air balloon flight. In 1709, a Brazilian priest elevated himself four meters above the ground in front the King and public (Okay so it might not be like today’s balloon rides but it was a start). However, the concept of a man flying was so alien that he was accused of witchcraft and was punished and killed. Poor guy.


Portugal held the largest ever firework display in 2006. A total of 66,326 fireworks were let off in Madeira on the 31st December (I bet a lot of noise complaints were made that night). Now just imagine if the UK held a show like this, it just wouldn’t be allowed without a curfew or some other kind of fun destroying order.

Fun detroying order

Have you ever wondered why foreign people are at the cashpoints for so long (it isn’t because they are shocked at their bank balance after a heavy weekend, no)? Well, Portugal doesn’t just have the typical cash machines, no, they have Multibanco. It is highly sophisticated, and allows you do to all kinds of things. You can buy fishing licenses, pay tax bills, book train tickets and all sorts of other things. However you can only imagine the queue on a Saturday morning.


Now on to food, yum! The Portugal Sardine fishery was the first in the European Union to be a “Certified Sustainable Seafood” in 2010. On May 29th, 2010, the Portuguese Sardinha Assada won the Guinness World Record for “The Most Seafood Prepared at an Outdoor Event” (and still currently holds the title). They prepared over 13,000 lbs. of roasted sardines alone! (Imagine the smell). Now this has got to be a reason in its own right to visit Portugal.


Now we’ve all hidden behind the sofa cushion when footage of bulls running down the street or being tormented in a ring, whilst hundreds of people watch, is shown on our televisions. Now, whilst bullfighting is still legal in Portugal, the act of killing the bull during the fight is not. So this means that the bull can still be teased, people can still be injured and they can still hurt the bull, right?

Either way I’m not a fan of the so called ‘sport’ and find it distressing. I’d rather be sitting at a beach café, eating sardines, thanks.

What do you think? Have you ever been to Portugal? What have your experiences been? Have your say in the comments section below, on Facebook or on Twitter.