Introduction to Portugal

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007 at 12:00 am

PortugalPortugal is a coastal country located in the southwest of Europe. Its mainland is situated on the Iberian Peninsula and has only one nation to border it which is Spain.

If one looks to the east and north, they will only see the border of Spain around them encompassing a total of 1,214km of borders. Even though this is the total number of kilometers for the border with Spain, Portugal does not acknowledge the border from the delta of the River Caia to the delta of the River Cuncos since 1801’s occupation of the Olivença region by the Spanish Kingdom. This territory, even though it is under Spanish occupation, remains part of the country of Portugal and no boundaries are henceforth acknowledged in this area.

Portugal is bordered on the west with a 1,793km coastline along the North Atlantic Ocean. Portugal also is in charge of the Atlantic islands of Azores and Madeira Islands, which are tactical locations along western sea approaches to the Strait of Gibraltar which is between the Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea. All in all, the nation has an section of 92,391 km² of which 91,951 km² is land and 440 km² water.

The climate in Portugal can be classified as Oceanic in the north and Mediterranean in the south. This is considered to be one of the warmest European countries, with an annual average temperature of 13 °C (55 °F) in mainland Portugal in the north and 18 °C (64 °F) in the south. The Madeira and Azores Atlantic archipelagos have a more limited temperature range. Spring and summer are sunny, whereas autumn and winter tend to have rainy and windy days.

There are occurrences of extreme temperatures in some North-Eastern parts of the country in winter. It has been known to reach -12 °C in those areas. While in the South-Eastern parts in summer the temperatures have been known to soar up to 44 °C. Sea coastal areas are milder in climate, affording the people varying temperatures which are between -2 °C on some coldest winter mornings and 37 °C on some of the hottest summer afternoons.

The mainland of Portugal is divided by its primary river, which is the Tagus. The northern landscape is mountainous in interior areas, with plateaus indented by river valleys. The south, which is located between the Tagus and the Algarve (the Alentejo), highlights mostly rolling plains and a climate which is a bit warmer and drier than those in the cooler and rainier northern regions. The Algarve, separated from the Alentejo by mountains, enjoys a Mediterranean climate like southern Spain. There are times that snow happens on some cold winter days in the northern interior of the country. However it is a rare event in the south.

Because of the varied climates and conditions that can be found in Portugal, it makes for a good starting off point to grow grapes and produce excellent wine. There are climate conditions which will be just right for you to grow excellent grape varieties. Because of this, Portugal makes for a good country where you can grow grapes on the best vines in optimal climates.