Interesting Facts About PORTUGAL

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portugal fact

In 2018, Lonely Planet called Portugal one of the best countries to visit that year. Things like the scenery, the national cuisine, and the beaches were listed among the main factors of the country’s attractiveness. In addition, you can find at least 15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites there, as well as be amazed by the prices, which are relatively low for Europe, and enjoy the hospitality of the locals. All of these draw such a huge flow of travelers from all over the world that the country’s citizens asked the authorities to limit the number of tourists coming in.




1. The Portuguese like curvy girls and they have a totally different attitude toward the body

There is no such thing as body-positive here because all girls know from their very childhood that they should love their bodies and respect the bodies of other people. Cellulite, stretch marks, curviness — people here are not shy about these things and even show these features off. One of the most common outfits worn by women are short denim shorts and a belly-baring top.




2. Surnames in Portugal are quite complicated

Portuguese actress and model Victoria Guerra. Her full name is Victoria Deborah Lark Guerra.

 




3. Natural beauty is a priority

Girls who have moved to live in Portugal outline that local women pay much less attention to makeup and manicures. They look more natural and accept themselves the way they are. There are not many beauty salons in Lisbon and their services are not very diverse.

Here is what a Moscow girl who settled in in Portugal writes, “I went to a local beauty salon located across the street from my house to get my nails done before a wedding. They cut off my cuticle so much that I had to go to the wedding with swollen fingers. After that, I started to visit a Ukrainian salon where everything is top-notch. It is believed that the Slavs succeeded in this and can do nails much better. The prices for their services are almost the same as the prices for the same services in Moscow.”




4. Thanks to the Portuguese, those allergic to animals can try adopting a dog

5. They arrange colorful festivals and celebrations in Portugal that can even outshine Brazilian ones

Every year this country holds 3 carnivals. However, the Portuguese who decided to bring the style of Rio carnivals to their motherland missed one important thing: they are located in the Northern Hemisphere, while Rio-de-Janeiro is located in the Southern Hemisphere. That’s why, while gorgeous Brazilian women are dancing under the sun at 80°F, their Portuguese colleagues are having fun under the rain at 45°F.

Nevertheless, carnivals are the best time to visit Portugal because one can dive into the culture of the country, see a bright show, try various national dishes, and meet joyful local people. Also, every year on the 23rd of June the city of Porto holds the most colorful celebration in the country — the St. John Festival. One of this celebration’s main traditions is to hit each other on the head with a toy hammer or garlic flower.

 




6. This country has both the longest and the shortest bridges

Lisbon has one of the longest bridges in Europe — the 56,381 feet long Vasco da Gama bridge, which serves as a highway. This engineering structure has become a new symbol of the Portuguese capital. Also, there is a small creek flowing between 2 villages — the Portuguese village Várzea Grande and the Spanish village El Marco. The creek serves as a symbol for their borders. Here the 2 countries are connected by the El Marco bridge that is only 10.5 feet long, which makes it the shortest international bridge in the world.

7. This country has one of the cleanest beaches on the planet

Portugal is one of the 5 countries with many Blue Flag beaches. It is a famous international award for the exceptional quality and safety of bathing water. In recent years, Portugal has been overtaken by states with significantly longer coastlines.

Nonetheless, this country is one of the golden directions for retirement migration. In their golden age, wealthy Europeans come here because of the wonderful climate, low prices, and tax benefits compared to neighboring countries. Tourists love this country too: for its rich culture, delicious food, and the hospitable attitude of the locals.

 




8. The Portuguese speak foreign languages quite well

The main secret of this ability is that almost all foreign movies are broadcast both in cinemas and on TV in the original language with subtitles. The official language of the country is Portuguese. It is very close to the Galician language that is used in the north-west of Spain. Sometimes Portuguese is believed to be one of the dialects of the Galician language, other times, it’s vice versa.

As surprising as it might sound, many words in the Portuguese language are close relatives of Japanese words. This is explained by the fact that the Portuguese were the first to establish trade relations with the residents of the Land of the Rising Sun, and they quickly picked up different vocabulary from them. For instance, Japanese words like “pan” — “bread,” “koppu” — “cup,” and even “tempura” — ” seasoning” have Portuguese origins.




9. Portugal is among the countries that have a low childbirth rate

The low prosperity of the country as a whole is the main reason for this. State subsidies for a child are low, maternity leave is short, and taking care of a child is expensive. Having 3 or more children in a Portuguese family is a sign of their increased well-being. Parents have an easy-going attitude toward their offspring: kids are loved a lot, but parents let them go fast. Starting from 5 months, babies start their “adult” life in a kindergarten nursery.

10. It’s possible to treat your teeth and not go bankrupt here

There is a myth that dental care abroad is very expensive. But Portugal keeps prices at the minimum for level for Europe, however, sometimes the quality might not be that good. Portuguese doctors are often surprised if a filling in a tooth lasts for more than 5 years.




11. They have a serious relationship with football

Football for Portuguese people is like a religion. Traditionally, Lisbon is divided into 2 parts: one part of the residents root for the “SL Benfica” club, the other part roots for “Sporting.” Moreover, a serious struggle is also present between the clubs of Lisbon and Porto. It is noteworthy to mention that if the members of one family are rooting for different teams, when their clubs have a common game, the closest of relatives become rivals and often taunt each other.

Here is what a guy who visited this country noted, “Now for Christmas, it’s time to visit the family! Back to Portugal. Upon arriving, the very first thing I see on the airport’s monitor wasn’t the plane’s arrival schedule or the luggage belt schedule, it was a football match on Sport TV.”

12. The Portuguese are very shy when it comes to relationships

Both men and women behave quite modestly, especially when they are just starting to date. They rarely say “Eu amo-te” (“I love you” in Portuguese) and rarely express their emotions in public. It doesn’t mean that the Portuguese are not capable of love, it’s just that they express it differently. They do give compliments here, but they are quite scarce.

13. They have very peculiar wedding traditions

Putting money into a shoe is an old Portuguese wedding tradition that is still around. In order to help the newlyweds at the beginning of their family life, it’s customary to collect money for them at the wedding. For that, the bride’s shoe is passed from hand to hand and everyone can put inside as much money as they want. Another money ritual is to buy the right to dance with the bride.




14. Portugal is the world’s leading manufacturer of cork

The production of cork is very environmentally-friendly because it doesn’t require the destruction of trees. They use this material not just for producing corks for bottles, but also for creating various accessories like bags, gloves, phone cases, caps, and even shoes. What’s surprising though, is that cork is a very strong material, it can perfectly stand cold temperatures and rain because the process of processing natural raw materials is complex and multistage.

This is how the material for cork is collected.




15. The oldest working bookstore is in Portugal

The store is called Bertrand and it opened its doors in 1732. Even the strong earthquake that hit Lisbon in 1755 couldn’t make the store close. Bertrand is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. Of course, it has changed its interior many times but it’s still working. Another bookstore called Livraria Lello is considered to be one of the most beautiful stores in the world. It is rumored that this was this shop that became the prototype for the Hogwarts library in the Harry Potter series of books.

The interior of the Livraria Lello shop inspired JK Rowling when writing books about Harry Potter.

16. You can see graffiti on almost every corner here. Just look at this

 

Have you been to Portugal? In what ways have the customs and culture of this country impressed you?


 

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