With its miles of stunning coastline and picture-postcard cities, towns and villages, Portugal is the perfect holiday destination.
But it’s so much more than that.
It’s a fantastic place to live. And it’s an excellent place to do business. Here are some interesting facts to help you understand a bit more about this small but mighty country.
1 – Portugal is a top tech destination
Increasing numbers of companies, including Deloitte, Nordic tech company Reaktor, British group Kantar and German-based Digitall, are choosing to set up shop in Portugal due to its robust technological infrastructure, an innovative environment and “competitive business scene” that has seen the successful launch of several startups such as Farfetch and Feedzai.
2 – Portugal’s population is increasingly diverse
The 2021 census showed that foreigners make up 5% of Portugal’s total population (10,344,802), an increase of 40% from 2011.
Emigration from Portugal is also high. In 2015, around one in five people born in Portugal were living outside their country of birth – that’s around 20% of the population.
3 – Portugal is the EU’s biggest producer of bicycles
Demand for bicycles across Europe is booming. And with pandemic-related supply chain issues shifting the focus to more local production, Portugal has reaped the rewards, becoming the EU’s biggest producer of bicycles (based on data available), producing an outstanding 2.6 million in 2020.
4 – Portugal is the 4th safest country in the world
The Global Peace Index 2021 ranked Portugal 4th safest country in the world, just behind Iceland, New Zealand and Denmark, and therefore the second safest country in the EU.
5 – One of the oldest universities in Europe is in Coimbra
Academically speaking, Portugal was ahead of the curve. The University of Coimbra was established way back in the year 1290.
6 – Portuguese is the official language of 9 countries
If you ask most people where Portuguese is spoken, apart from Portugal, most would say Brazil, the largest ‘Lusophone’ country in the world.
But many people don’t know that, as a result of Portugal’s colonial history, Portuguese is also an official language in Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Angola, São Tomé and Príncipe and Equatorial Guinea. And it’s spoken in Macao (China), East Timor and Goa (India).
Over 236 million people worldwide speak Portuguese as their native language. This makes the Portuguese language a very useful one to learn.
7 – Portugal and England have the world’s oldest diplomatic alliance
The Anglo-Portuguese alliance was signed back in 1373 and is still going strong.
8 – Portugal is progressive
Considering the country was ruled by a harsh dictatorship for half of the 20th century, it’s a pretty liberal place. It was the 6th country in Europe to legalise same-sex marriage, doing so in 2010.
And it was ranked 4th out of 49 countries in the 2021 Ilga-Europe Rainbow Country Rankings.
9 – People in Portugal don’t carry much cash
Portugal’s ATM system is extensive and advanced. In fact, there are 166 ATMs per 100,000 people (the second highest number in the EU). You can do anything from buying train tickets to donating to charity through the ATMs here. On top of that, card payments are very widespread and becoming ever more widely used.
10 – Portugal is leading the way with renewable energy
This western European country is blazing a renewable trail. In fact, in 2021, renewable energy supplied 59% of the electricity consumed in Portugal (26% from wind, 27% from hydro, 7% from biomass and 3.5% from solar power).
Portugal was also the fourth European country to go coal free, well in advance of the 2030 deadline.
11 – Portugal produces half of the world’s cork
When you pop open a bottle of port, the cork is almost certainly home-grown. About half of the world’s cork is produced in Portugal, and, as you might have guessed, its most popular use is for stoppering wine bottles. We’ll drink to that!
12 – Porto and Lisbon are among the 37 best cities in the world
TimeOut ranked Porto and Lisbon among the 37 best cities in the world, with Porto taking 9th place and Lisbon 21st. The cities are commended for their strong food, art and culture scenes, exciting collectives and collaborations and community vibes.
The very best thing: the people
While all these facts are very interesting, we think the best thing about Portugal is really its people. Humble and welcoming, they’re open and receptive to new people, ideas and businesses. Yet another great reason to invest in Portugal.