Official Name: República Portuguesa
Government: Parliamentary Partycracy – “A pseudo democracy where people do not elect representatives directly instead voting for a Party. The parties appoint its representatives via pre-formed lists usually consisting of party cronies, family, friends and favor-givers.” (Source: Portugal.com)
Regions: Portugal is divided into 18 districts and 2 autonomous regions (Azores and Madeira). The 18 districts are: Aveiro, Beja, Braga, Braganca, Castelo Branco, Coimbra, Evora, Faro, Guarda, Leiria, Lisboa, Portalegre, Porto, Santarem, Setubal, Viana do Castelo, Vila Real, Viseu.
From a tourist’s perpective, Portugal’s main regions are: (1) Porto and the North, (2) Center, (3) Lisbon and Tagus Valley, (4) Alentejo, (5) Algarve, (6) Azores Islands, (7) Madeira Islands.
Population: 10.32 Million
Language: Portuguese (official), Mirandese (official, but locally used)
Tipping Etiquette: It’s customary to leave a tip of 10% on restaurant bills. Taxi drivers can be tipped by rounding the fare up to the nearest 5 Euro.
Water Quality: Historically, Portugal has had a poor reputation in terms of its water quality control. However, between 1993 and 2004, the coverage of safe drinking water increased dramatically. CDC says, “Most travelers do not need to take special food or water precautions [in Portugal] beyond what they normally do at home.” (Source). That being said, when we stayed with some local families during our trip, they always filtered the tap water using a Brita water filter.
Something Interesting: Portugal is the oldest nation-state in Europe. The country’s borders have barely changed since 1139.