Portugal Political System, Famous People, Animals and Plants

By | January 15, 2023

Portugal: political system

According to COMPUTERMINUS.COM, Portugal is a parliamentary republic. The constitution came into force in 1976 and was last amended in 1997. The one-chamber parliament (Assembléia da República) with 230 members is elected every four years. The president is directly elected every five years; re-election is possible once. He appoints the Prime Minister, who heads a cabinet of 17 ministers. The general right to vote applies from the age of 18. See AbbreviationFinder for more information about Portugal politics, and acronyms as well.

The official name of the country is:

Portuguese Republic

National anthem

Based on flag descriptions by Countryaah.com, the national anthem of Portugal was written in 1891 by Henrique Lopes de Mendonça (1856-1931), the music was composed by Alfredo Keil (1850-1907). In 1910 it became the country’s official national anthem.

  • Check top-mba-universities for public holidays, sports events, UNESCO world heritage sites and major places to visit in Portugal.

In Portuguese

Heróis do mar, nobre povo,Nação valente, imortal,

Levantai hoje de novo

Os esplendor de Portugal

Entre as brumas da memória.

Ó Pátria sente-se a voz

Dos teus egrégios avós

Que há-de guiar-te à vitória.(Coro)Às armas! Às armas!

Sobre a terra, sobre o mar!

Às armas! Às armas!

Pela Pátria lutar!

Contra os canhões marchar, marchar!

Desfralda a invicta bandeira

À luz viva do teu céu

Brade à Europa à terra inteira

Portugal not pereceu!

Beija o solo teu jucundo

O oceano a rujir d’amor;

E o teu braço vencedor

Deu mundos novos ao mundo!


Saudai o sol que desponta

Sobre um ridente porvir;

Seja o eco d’uma afronta

O sinal de ressurgir.

Ráios d’essa aurora forte

São como beijos de mãe

Que nos guardam, nos sustêm,

Contra as injúrias da sorte.


In the English translation

Heroes of the sea, noble people;Brave and immortal nation.

Now the hour has come

to show Portugal’s splendor again.

From the fog of the past,

O Fatherland, we hear the voices of

Our venerable forefathers.

This should lead us to victory!(Refrain)To the weapons, the weapons;

On land and at sea!

To the weapons, the weapons;

To defend our fatherland!

To march towards the enemy guns!

Unroll the invincible flag

In the shining light of your heaven.

Europe and the whole world proclaim

that Portugal was not conquered.

Your happy fatherland is kissed;

From the ocean that mumbles with love.

And your conquering arm of discovery

has given the world new lands.


Greet the rising sun,

which shows a prosperous future.

Let the end of the past be

the signal for our new beginning.

The rays of this important beginning

are like the mother’s kisses, who

protect and support us in the

struggle against fate.


Portugal: writer and poet

Gil Vicente (around 1465 – around 1536)

playwright. He wrote about 44 plays for the court of Johann III.

Luis de Camoes (1524-1580)

national poet. His most important work is the verse epic “The Lusiads”, a mythical seafaring legend that he wrote while exiled in India.

Camilo Castelo Branco (1825-1890)

Writer. He has published around 100 works, including poems, dramas, reviews and novels.

Teixeira de Pascoais (1877-1952)

Writer. Pascoais became known as the author of essays, poems, and biographies of early Church Fathers such as Paul, Augustine, and Jerome.

Jose Maria Eca de Queiroz (1845-1900)

Author. He became known as a chronicler of the Lisbon Belle Epoque. His best known work is “The Maias”.

Fernando Pessoa Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935)

Writer. He is named as the most important representative of Portuguese modernism. Among other things, he wrote “Letters to the Bride” and “The Book of Unrest of the Assistant Accountant Bernardo Soares”.

Jose Cardoso Pires (1907-1998)

author. He wrote, among other things, “Highly praiseworthy dinosaur” and “Ballad from the dog beach”.

Antonio Lobo Antunes (born 1942), writer. His works include “Elephant Memory”, “Fado Alexandrino” and “Don’t go so fast into this dark night”. In 2000 he received the Austrian State Prize for European Literature ”.

Jose Saramago (born 1922)

author and Nobel Prize winner. His most famous works are “Hope in Allentejo” and “The Memorial”.

Agustina Bessa Luis (born 1922)

author. Among other things, she wrote “Die Sybille”.

Lidia Jorge (born 1946)

author. Her best-known works are “Paradise Without Borders” and “The Soldier’s Blanket”.

Eugénio de Andrade (1923-2005)

poet. He wrote mostly prose. In 2001 he received the highest Portuguese literary award, the Prémio Camões

Maria Isabel Barreno (born 1939)

Writer. She wrote, among other things, “The Nun and the Monk” and “The Lord of the Isles”.

Almeida, Visconde de Garrett(1799-1854)

Writer and poet. He wrote mainly political, historical and critical works.

Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen (1919-2004)

Writer. In 1999 she received the highest Portuguese literary prize. Her works include “Islands”, “Sea Day” and numerous children’s books.

Fernando Namora (1919-1989)

Writer. His works include “Sunday Afternoon” and “Chaff and Wheat”.

Portugal: doctors and scientists

Cristobal Acosta (1515 – 1594)

Doctor and healer

Mário Corino da Costa Andrade (1906 – 2005)


Antonio R. Damasio (born 1944)


Pedro Nunes (1502 – 1578)

Mathematician and astronomer. He mainly dealt with navigation at sea.

António Caetano de Abreu Freire Egas Moniz (1874-1955)

neurologist and Nobel Prize winner from 1949.

Portugal: architects and builders

Alvaro Siza (born 1933)

Architect. His internationally renowned buildings include the lido in Leça da Palmeira, the “Bonjour Tristesse” residential building in Berlin and the university library in Aveiro.

Eduardo Souto de Moura (born 1952)

Architect. Among other things, he designed the “Cinemas House” in Manoel de Oliveira, the center for photography and the cultural center in Porto.

Fernando Luís Cardoso Meneses de Tavares e Távora (1923-2005)

Architect. His buildings include the “Gondomar” monastery, the large lecture hall of the University of Coimbra and the “Torre dos 24” in Porto.

Portugal: visual artists

Pedro Calapez (born 1953)

Modern painter

Nuño Gonçalves (1425 – 1492)

Renaissance painter

Mário Chichorro (born 1932)

Painter and architect

Rui Palma Carlos (born 1947)

Painter and architect.

Portugal: musician and writer


Amalia Rodrigues (date of birth uncertain; d. 1999)

Fado singer.

José Afonso (1929-1987)

Singer and composer. The song Grândola, Vila Morena, composed and forbidden by him, was the signal for the soldiers and civilians to rise up against the Salazar dictatorship, which evoked the Carnation Revolution.

João Domingos Bomtempo (1775 – 1842)

Composer, pianist and conductor. He founded the Lisbon Conservatory in 1835.

Emmanuel Nunes (born 1941)

Composer and professor of composition in Paris.

Carlos Paredes (1925 – 2004)

Composer and internationally famous guitar player.

Marcos António Portugal (1762-1830)

Composer. He wrote mainly church music.

José Antonio Carlos de Seixas (1704-1742)


Francisco d’Andrade (1859-1921)

opera singer.

Cristina Branco (born 1972)

Fado singer.

Carlos do Carmo (born 1941)

Fado singer.

Jorge Chaminé (born 1956)

opera singer.

Alfredo Keil (1854-1907)

Composer. Among other things, he composed the Portuguese national anthem.

Alfredo Marceneiro (1891-1982)

Fado singer.

Dulce Pontes (born 1969), pop singer.


José Saramago (1922-2010)

Saramago was a novelist, poet and storyteller, as well as an atheist and communist. In 1998 he received the Nobel Prize in Literature. He died on June 18, 2010 on the Canary Island of Lanzarote.

Politicians and rulers

  • Henry of Burgundy (1069 – 1112), Count of Portugal from the House of Burgundy.
  • Alfonso I the Conqueror (1109 – 1185), first king of Portugal from 1139 to 1185. He drove the Moors out of Portugal.
  • Sancho I (1154-1211), King of Portugal from 1185 to 1211.
  • Alfonso II (1185-1223), King of Portugal from 1211 to 1223.
  • Sancho II the Monk (1207-1248), King of Portugal from 1223 to 1248.
  • Alfons III (1210 – 1279), King of Portugal from 1248 to 1279.
  • Dionysius (1261-1325), King of Portugal from 1279 to 1325.
  • Alfonso IV (1291-1357), King of Portugal from 1325-1357.
  • Peter I (1320-1367), King of Portugal from 1357 to 1367.
  • Ferdinand I (1345 – 1383), King of Portugal from 1367 to 1383. He was the last King of Portugal from the House of Burgundy.
  • Leonore Teles de Menezes (1340-1386), wife of King Ferdinand I and ruler in 1383.
  • Johann von Avis (1357 – 1433), regent from 1383 and king of Portugal from 1385 to 1433. He was the first king of the house of Avis.
  • Edward I (1391-1438), King of Portugal from 1433 to 1438.
  • Alfonso V (1432-1481), King of Portugal from 1438 to 1481.
  • John II (1455 – 1495), King of Portugal from 1481 to 1495.
  • Emanuel I (1469 – 1521), King of Portugal from 1495 to 1521. During his reign, the sea route to India was discovered and colonies were established in the Indian Ocean.
  • Johann III. (1502 – 1557), King of Portugal from 1521 to 1557.
  • Isabella of Portugal (1503-1539), wife of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.
  • Sebastian I (1554-1578), King of Portugal from 1557 to 1578.
  • Heinrich I (1512 – 1582), King of Portugal from 1578 to 1580. He was the last king of the House of Avis.
  • Philip I (1527-1598), son of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, and Isabellas of Portugal. He was King of Portugal from 1580 to 1598 and, as Philip II, King of Spain, the American colonies, the Netherlands, the Free County of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Sicily and the Duchy of Lombardy. He was the first king from the House of Habsburg in Spain.
  • Philip II (1578 – 1621), King of Portugal from 1598 to 1621 and as Philip III. King of Spain, Naples and Sicily.
  • Philip III (1605 – 1665), King of Portugal from 1621 to 1640 and King of Spain, Naples and Sicily. He was the last king from the house of the Spanish Habsburgs.
  • John IV (1604 – 1656), King of Portugal from 1640 to 1656. He was the first ruler of the House of Braganza.
  • Alfonso VI (1643 – 1682), King of Portugal from 1656 to 1682. However, he only ruled until 1667, after which his brother Peter II took over the reign.
  • Peter II. (1648 – 1706), King of Portugal from 1682 to 1706. However, he ruled from 1667.
  • John V (1689-1750), King of Portugal from 1706 to 1750.
  • Joseph I (1714-1777), King of Portugal from 1750 to 1777.
  • Peter III (1717 – 1786), King of Portugal from 1777 to 1786.
  • Maria I (1734 – 1816), wife of Peter III. and Queen of Portugal from 1777 to 1816. However, she was incapacitated in 1792 and her son Johann VI. represented. From 1815 to 1816 she was also officially Queen of Brazil.
  • Johann VI. (1767 – 1826), King of Portugal from 1816 to 1826 and Brazil from 1816 to 1822. However, he ruled from 1792.
  • Peter IV (1798 – 1834), King of Portugal in 1826 and from 1822 to 1831 under the name of Peter I Emperor of Brazil. He abdicated in 1826 in favor of his daughter Maria II as King of Portugal and in 1831 in favor of his son Peter II as Emperor of Brazil, but ruled as regent on behalf of his minor daughter Maria II from 1831 to 1834.
  • Maria II da Gloria (1819 – 1853), Queen of Portugal from 1826 to 1828. She ruled from 1837 to 1853 at the side of her husband Ferdinand II.
  • Michael I (1802-1866), King of Portugal from 1828 to 1834.
  • Ferdinand II. (1816 – 1885), King of Portugal from 1837 to 1853. He was the first ruler of Portugal from the House of Saxons Coburg and Gotha.
  • Peter V (1837-1861), King of Portugal from 1853 to 1861.
  • Ludwig I (1838-1889), King of Portugal from 1861 to 1889.
  • Charles I (1863-1908), King of Portugal from 1889 to 1908.
  • Emanuel II (1889-1932), last king of Portugal from 1908 to 1910.
  • Joaquim Teófilo Fernandes Braga (1843-1924), first President of Portugal after the fall of the monarchy. He was President of Portugal from 1910 to 1911 and in 1915.
  • Manuel José de Arriaga Brum da Silveira (1840-1917), first constitutional president of Portugal from 1911 to 1915.
  • Bernardino Luís Machado Guimarães (1851-1944), President of Portugal from 1915 to 1917 and 1925 to 1926.
  • Sidónio Bernardino Cardoso da Silva Pais (1872-1918), Portuguese military dictator from 1917 to 1918.
  • João do Canto e Castro da Silva Antunes (1862-1934), President of Portugal from 1918-1919.
  • António José de Almeida (1866-1929), President of Portugal from 1919 to 1923.
  • Manuel Teixeira Gomes (1860-1941), President of Portugal from 1923 to 1925.
  • Bernardino Luís Machado Guimarães (1851-1944), President of Portugal from 1915 to 1917 and from 1925 to 1926.
  • José Mendes Cabeçadas Junior (1883-1965), President of Portugal in 1926.
  • António Óscar de Fragoso Carmona (1869-1951), President and Dictator of Portugal 1926-1951.
  • António de Oliveira Salazar (1889 – 1970), dictator of Portugal from 1932 to 1968. Salazar established a military dictatorship called the “New State”, which was only dissolved after his death by the so-called Carnation Revolution. Despite the dictatorial regime, Portugal was admitted to the United Nations in 1955 under Salazar’s rule.
  • Francisco Craveiro Lopes (1894-1964), President of Portugal from 1951 to 1958.
  • Américo de Deus Rodrigues Tomás (1894-1987), President of Portugal from 1958 to 1974. Tomas was overthrown during the Carnation Revolution and had to leave the country.
  • António Sebastião Ribeiro de Spínola (1910-1996), provisional president of Portugal during the Carnation Revolution. After a failed coup attempt in 1975, he had to leave the country.
  • Francisco da Costa Gomes (1914-2001), President of Portugal from 1974 to 1976.
  • António dos Santos Ramalho Eanes (born 1935), President of Portugal from 1976 to 1986.
  • Mário Soares (1924-2017), founder of the Portuguese Socialist Party in 1973 and President of Portugal from 1986 to 1991 and from 1991 to 1996. He played a major role in the democratization of the country.
  • Jorge Fernando Branco de Sampaio (born 1939), President of Portugal from 1996 to 2006. He was actively involved in the resistance against the Salazar dictatorship and joined the Socialist Party after the Carnation Revolution.
  • Aníbal António Cavaco Silva (born 1939), President of Portugal since 2006.
  • José Manuel Durão Barroso (born 1956), Prime Minister from 2002 to 2004 and President of the European Commission since 2004.

Actors, directors

  • Maria de Medeiros (born 1965), actress and director. You could see them in “Siblings”, “Henry and June” and “My Life Without Me”, among others.
  • Lúcia Moniz (born 1976), singer and actress. Among other things, she played in “Love Actually”.
  • João César Monteiro (1934-2003), director, screenwriter and actor.
  • Manoel de Oliveira (born 1908), director. He shot, among other things, “I’m going home”, “On the banks of the river” and “Cannibals”.


  • Pedro Mascarenhas (1484-1555), navigator and explorer. He discovered the Mascarene archipelago, which was named after him and which includes the islands of Mauritius, La Réunion and Rodrigues.
  • Vasco da Gama (1468 – 1524), navigator and discoverer of the sea route to India.
  • Fernando Magellan (1480-1521), navigator and explorer. He discovered one of the first straits of the sea from South America and Tierra del Fuego, the Strait of Magellan. In 1521 he also discovered the Mariana Islands and the Philippines.
  • Bartolomeu Diaz (around 1450-1500), navigator and explorer. He was the first to sail around the southern tip of Africa.
  • Afonso de Albuquerque (1453-1515), politician and navigator.
  • Pedro Álvares Cabral (around 1467 – around 1526), navigator. He is considered to be one of the discoverers of Brazil.
  • Diogo Cão (died around 1486), navigator and explorer.
  • Duarte Pacheco Pereira (around 1469 – 1533), navigator, astronomer and geographer.
  • Francisco Marto (1908-1919), witness to an apparition of the Virgin Mary. He was beatified in 2000 together with his sister Jacinta Marto (born 1910), who also witnessed an apparition of Mary.


  • Hadi Al Somayli (born 1976), track and field athlete. He won Olympic silver in the 400 m hurdles in 2000.
  • Khaled Al Eid (born 1969), show jumper. Al Eid won the bronze medal in show jumping in Sydney in 2000.
  • Luís Figo (born November 4, 1972) football player. The popular soccer player played for internationally renowned clubs and received numerous awards. Figo was named Europe’s Footballer of the Year in 2000 and World Footballer of the Year in 2001. At the 2004 European Championships, he and his team were vice-European champions. He played for Real Madrid until the end of the 2004/2005 season. Since summer 2005 he has been playing in the traditional Italian club Inter Milan.
  • Eusébio da Silva Ferreira (born January 25, 1942) football player. In the 1960s he had a major impact on European football. He reached a first high point in his career when he was voted Europe’s Footballer of the Year in 1965. He was known for his spectacular shots, his fine dribbling and the enormous basic speed.Due to a serious knee injury, he ended his career in 1974 at the age of 32, but is still active as an official and advisor for Benfica and as a representative for football in Portugal.
  • Manuel Rui Costa (born March 29, 1972) football player. He was considered a national hero after he scored the decisive penalty in the 1991 junior world championship against Brazil and Portugal became junior world champion. In 1993 he was called up to the Portuguese national football team, where he and Luís Figo belonged to the “golden generation” of Portugal.After Portugal lost the European Championship in 2004, he said goodbye to the national team.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo (born 1985)Ronaldo was born on February 5, 1985 in Funchal, Madeira. Cristiano Ronaldo was voted European Footballer of the Year in Europe that year and World Footballer that same year. He has been playing for Real Madrid since 2009.

Theologians and philosophers

  • Luís Cabral de Moncada (1888-1974), legal philosopher.

Portugal: animals


In certain regions of Portugal you can meet wild goats, red deer, wolves, foxes and lynxes.

The two species of predator, the Ichneumon, the only European mongoose, and the gorse are noteworthy. The latter was already worshiped as a cat-like deity in ancient Egypt.

The small spot genet is the only European species that can be found in France as well as Portugal.

With an average height of around 100 cm, the bushy and ringed tail alone accounts for 45 cm.

The fur is gray or brown with a black patch pattern. The pointed muzzle is typical. In addition to mice and birds, their prey also includes insects and fruits.

Bats are the only native mammals on the islands, and other animals such as dogs, cats and cows have been introduced.


Geckos and agamas are most common in Portugal, but the bright green emerald lizard is also hard to miss. With a body length of around 50 cm, the emerald lizard is one of the four largest lizards in the world, even if 2/3 of them are on the tail. Their diet consists of insects, spiders, worms and snails.

A special feature that it has in common with some other lizard species is that it can actively detach its tail from its body in a dangerous situation. This wriggles for around 20 minutes and thus distracts the robber from the fleeing lizard. After a while the tail grows back, but then it can no longer be separated. The green lizard inhabits mostly dry terrain with a lot of sunlight, meadows with bushes, scree slopes, light hedges and rocky slopes.

The European chameleon, on the other hand, can hardly be distinguished from its environment due to its inconspicuous camouflage color, and you have to have a very close look to be able to recognize it on a branch.

The sea turtles on the coasts of Portugal are also a specialty.

Gironndian smooth snake

The Gironndian smooth snake (Coronella girondica) belongs to the genus of smooth snakes. It becomes about 60 to 80 cm long. There are no subspecies of this type of snake.

Their coloration varies from gray to clay to reddish-brown, with the back being covered with irregular cross bars.

In addition to Portugal, the snake is also found in Spain, southern France, Italy, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.

Horseshoe snake

The horseshoe snake (Hemorrhois hippocrepis) has a length of about 1.70 m. A special feature are a series of small labels that separate the eye from the shields of the upper lip.

The top is black and has a slightly bluish shimmer. A series of regularly arranged yellow or maroon spots form a kind of chain pattern.

There are two black cross bars on the head, one between the eyes and a horseshoe-shaped one behind it, which is what gave the species its name.

Their underside is yellowish or orange in color, each with a row of black spots on the side and now and then another one in the middle

There are the following subspecies of the snake Hemorrhois hippocrepis hippocrepis and Hemorrhois hippocrepis nigrescens.

Besides Portugal, the horseshoe snake can also be found in Spain. She also lives in Italy, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.

Grass snake

The grass snake (Natrix natrix) can be recognized by the layman by two yellow to orange crescent-shaped spots. When threatened, it plays itself dead with its tongue hanging out.

The snake can be found in Ireland and some islands almost all over Europe up to Norway, Sweden and Finland.

In Asia it occurs as far as southern Siberia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia. Also in Iran and Turkey. In northwest Africa it occurs in Morocco and Algeria. There are 15 subspecies of the species Natrix natrix.

A detailed description of the snake can be found at Goruma here >>>

Stair snake

The stair snake (Rhinechis scalaris) can be recognized by its dark longitudinal stripes on the back. It reaches a length between 1 m and a maximum of 1.60 m.

It occurs throughout Portugal as well as in Spain and the south of France. There are no subspecies of the snake species.

Viper snake

Viper snake (Natrix maura) reaches a length of about 70 to 90 cm – in rare Feller also of 100 cm.. From the snake there are no subspecies.

Their relatively broad head is recognizable from the trunk. Your body has a brownish or gray basic color with a yellow, reddish or olive green tint.

On the back there are two rows of staggered dark spots that can merge into bars or a zigzag strip.

The snake can easily be mistaken for the adder. But if you look closely, you will see that the viper snake, unlike the adder, has round pupils.

In addition to Portugal, they can be found in Spain, France, Italy, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.

European lizard snake

The European lizard snake (Malpolon monspessulanus) reaches a length between 130 and 180 cm – it is seldom longer. The females are significantly smaller with a length between 90 and 130 cm.

Because their fangs are far back, a bite usually does not result in a venom injection.

In addition to Portugal, it occurs in Spain and the coastal regions of France, in northwest Italy and in Morocco.

A detailed description of the snake can be found at Goruma here >>>

Hood Natter

The hood snake (Macroprotodon cucullatus) is a rather small Schlänge with a length between about 40 to 50 cm – cm rarely 60th

It is light gray, gray brown or reddish brown with fuzzy dark spots on the back and the flank, which can also form stripes.

In the neck there is a noticeable dark spot (“hooded spot”) which tapers to the front and back and can occupy a large part of the neck or the head.

In addition to Portugal, the snake can be found in southern Spain, Italy, Morocco, the Western Sahara, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, as well as Israel.

Since their fangs are far back, a bite usually does not result in a venom injection and their venom is relatively harmless to humans.

North Iberian adder

Despite its name, the North Iberian adder (Vipera seoanei) is not an adder, but is a separate species from the genus Vipera.

The snake can be found in northern Portugal across northern parts of Spain to the outer southwest corner of France. The effect of its bite is comparable to that of an adder.

There are the following subspecies of this snake: Vipera seoanei seoanei and Vipera seoanei cantabrica.

The animal is between 50 and a maximum of 70 cm long and resembles the adder with its zigzag pattern (wavy band) on the back. Their venom has roughly the same effect as the adder.

A detailed description of the snake can be found at Goruma here >>>

Inverted-nosed viper

The inverted-nosed viper (Vipera latastei) becomes about 40 to 60 cm long – rarely longer. Like the adder, it has a zigzag pattern (wavy band) on its back.

In addition to Portugal, it occurs in Spain, northern Morocco, northern Algeria and northwestern Tunisia. There are two subspecies of the snake: Vipera latastei Latastei and the Vipera latastei gaditana.

Their poisonous effect is comparable to that of the adder.

A detailed description of the snake can be found at Goruma here >>>

More poisonous animals

Scorpions are particularly common in the interior of the country and should not be underestimated, even if their bite is not life-threatening..

The puffer fish (fugu) that can be found in the waters around the Azores is very poisonous. He has a compact, round body shape and no scales. The nerve poison is created by the microorganisms it consumes, the Pseudomonas bacteria, which in turn produce the poison.

It only becomes dangerous if it is prepared incorrectly, as the poison paralyzes the nerves and dies from the resulting respiratory or cardiac arrest. Since the brain is not attacked, one remains conscious the entire time.

In Japan it is considered a delicacy and is only prepared in restaurants by specially trained chefs.

In the water there is the Portuguese galley, a species of jellyfish whose very long tentacles contain a very strong poison that can even lead to death


Migratory birds are more common in Portugal, and they are particularly common in the Azores.

There are numerous species of eagles and vultures, such as the golden eagle in coastal areas, other birds are the somewhat pale pink flamingos, bee-eater, blue nack and hoopoe.

The great bustards, which are also represented in Portugal, belong to the order of the crane birds and are very shy and sensitive to disturbance birds. They live in steppe areas that have remained originally or in areas used for agriculture.

But despite this closeness to humans, you rarely see them, not least because of the inconspicuous coloration outside of the courtship. Both males and females have brown-black patterned plumage and a light gray head and neck. The main difference between the two is in size. The males weigh 8-16 kg, while the females weigh just 3 – 5 kg.

However, during courtship the male changes significantly. Its underside is colored white, and this is turned upside down, so that it finally turns into a white pile of feathers. The great bustard’s diet includes buds, shoots, leaves, seeds, but also mice, lizards, grasshoppers and other small animals. Despite a relatively wide distribution, the great bustard is on the red list. A main reason for the massive decline is the industrialization of agriculture.

The birds are particularly numerous in the Algarve in southern Portugal. Cormorants and various species of gulls live here, including the black-headed gull. These can often be seen on coasts, where they breed in “laughs”, which is what earned them their name. In the breeding season from spring to summer, you can recognize them very well by the black hood on the head, which is otherwise by a black spot The beak and legs of the smallest of the most common seagulls are red. Black-headed gulls breed in colonies in the reeds or in calm, stagnant waters, and they can often be seen foraging in freshly mown or plowed fields They look for earthworms, beetles and larvae. They also feed on crabs and small fish. The black-headed gull is widespread almost everywhere and is only absent in theAntarctica.

Ringed plover with the two characteristic black bands on its neck hibernates here and is a rather inconspicuous bird. Other species are the silk and gray herons, the stilt, black-tailed godwit and white storks.

And of course numerous songbirds and corvids live here

Water world

The Azores, which are part of Portugal, are considered to be the most fish-rich areas in the world. Barracudas, groupers and puffer fish are not uncommon here. There are pike, trout, perch and carp in the lakes and rivers.

Dolphins and whales, especially the sperm whale, can also be seen occasionally.

Octopuses and moray eels also live here. The above-mentioned Portuguese galley – a species of jellyfish – is dangerous.

Portugal: plants


Depending on the region, the number of trees in Portugal varies considerably. In the north of the country, deciduous tree species such as chestnut, English oak, holm oak, mountain ash and individual strawberry trees predominate.

In the south, Mediterranean vegetation dominates with evergreen hard-leaved plants, including laurel trees, some oak species and maritime pines.

The most widespread, however, is the cork oak, which plays a very important role economically. At higher altitudes you can go for a walk through pine and pine forests. In the southern coastal regions, various palm species offer an almost tropical picture, but only the dwarf palm is a native species.

Most of the trees growing here were once introduced to Portugal by the Romans, including the carob, laurel, almond, fig and pomegranate trees.


In the north of the country potatoes, rice, maize and rye are grown and in the south wheat, although all these products are used for personal consumption.

Wine is grown on the rather dry soils in central Portugal, from which the famous Portuguese port wine is made, which is one of the country’s few export hits.

The wood from pine or pine trees is primarily used in shipbuilding and furniture production, while the resin obtained from the trees is used to seal ships. The cork oak plays an essential role in the Portuguese economy, and its bark is used to make cork, insulating material, floor panels and wallpaper. A very well-known and popular Portuguese schnapps, the medronho, is made from the fruits of the strawberry trees found in the north of the country.

Medicinal plants

Lavender is part of the maquis formed by clearing and grows as a heavily branched and partially woody 20-60 cm shrub. The purple flowers can be collected in July and August. Used internally, they have a calming effect and are often recommended for restlessness and difficulty falling asleep. Lavender also has a diuretic and gas-inducing and antispasmodic effect. Applied externally, however, it is irritating to the skin. It is also said that lavender pillows are supposed to protect against moths in between washings.

Another plant of the maquis is thyme, which supports the digestion of fatty and heavy foods and has a cough-relieving and expectorant effect. The essential oil can also be used as a disinfectant. The Egyptians are said to have used the plant to embalm the dead. Externally, thyme is used for inflammation of the mouth and throat mucosa.

Introduced plants

Especially in the southern coastal area there are numerous trees that are not original for Portugal.

Most of them were once brought into the country by the Romans. Carob, almond, fig, laurel and pomegranate trees are among them, but the olive tree, which is native to the Middle East, is also believed to have been brought from the Romans.

Another tree introduced is the eucalyptus, which came to Portugal from Australia. However, the fast spreading of the tree causes more problems for the farmers than it brings benefits. The roots of the eucalyptus tree reach very deep into the earth and thus lower the water table, which in Portugal, which is already rather dry, has in part devastating consequences for agriculture.

More plants

Extensive clearing of the forests has meant that this original vegetation has been replaced by maquis.

This consists mainly of heather plants such as tree heather, lavender and rosemary bushes, thyme and mastic bushes. The rock rose, a dense shrub between 1 and 2 m tall and with an aromatic smell, is also part of the maquis.

The dark green leaves are less hairy on the top, but densely hairy on the underside and have a rolled edge. In very arid areas, plants that are resistant to heat and drought, known as xerophytes, such as agaves and ear cacti, thrive particularly well.

Together with Spain, Portugal is the only European country where agaves have found a home.

Characteristic of this plant are its thick-fleshed leaves and the short, compressed trunk. These properties serve on the one hand to store water and on the other hand counteract the lowest possible water loss and thus represent the perfect adaptation to the dry climate. Particularly interesting vegetation can be admired on the Azores.

Hydrangeas are typical of these islands and bloom almost everywhere. Orleander also grows here.

Bougainvilleas are very pretty to look at.

A large part of the original nature is in protected areas, especially the cliffs are under strict nature protection to protect seabirds.

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