Discover Portugal

A beautiful country with an attractive investment climate

Portugal: Europe's Treasure for Visitors and Investors Alike 

Nestled at the westernmost frontier of the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal stands as a nation of rich history, vibrant culture, and promising opportunities. It is a place where the golden beaches of the Algarve meet the bustling streets of Lisbon, where ancient fortresses loom over modern businesses, and where a diverse terrain invites both tourists and investors to explore its wealth of resources. Portugal, though modest in size, is abundant in offerings. 

Portugal's history

The roots of Portugal's history stretch back to prehistoric times, seen in the ancient cave paintings at Côa Valley. 

The tapestry of Portugal's history is woven with the threads of successive civilizations that have crossed this ancient land. After achieving sovereignty in 1143 under King Afonso Henriques, Portugal embarked on an ambitious journey that transformed it into a global maritime empire during the 15th and 16th centuries. This era, termed the Age of Discoveries, saw Portuguese explorers like Prince Henry the Navigator, Bartholomeu Dias, and Vasco da Gama chart unknown territories, linking Europe with Africa, Asia, and the Americas, and establishing a trading empire that included spices, precious stones, and gold.

However, history wasn't always kind to Portugal. The 1755 Lisbon earthquake, one of the deadliest earthquakes in history, decimated the city and had profound economic and philosophical repercussions across Europe. The 19th century saw Portugal embroiled in the Napoleonic Wars, losing its wealthiest colony, Brazil, in 1822. Portugal later fell into a dictatorship under Salazar, whose Estado Novo regime lasted from 1933 until the Carnation Revolution in 1974. This bloodless coup transformed the country into a democratic republic and eventually led to its integration into the European Union in 1986, initiating a period of modernization and economic growth.

In 1986, Portugal's EU membership marked a significant economic and social transformation phase. 

Portugal's geography

Portugal, occupying a distinct geographical position on the Iberian Peninsula's western edge, enjoys a Mediterranean climate, marked by mild, rainy winters and warm, dry summers.  

Portugal's varied geography spans continental terrains, island archipelagos, and various microclimates. The mainland, divided into various provinces including Alentejo, Algarve, Beira, and Trás-os-Montes. The mainland's landscapes are diverse, from the rolling plains of the Alentejo to the mountains of the Serra da Estrela, Portugal's highest mainland point at nearly 2,000 meters. The coastline stretches over 800 kilometers, presenting spectacular cliffs dotted with picturesque villages, particularly in the renowned Algarve region. The dramatic end of the mainland is Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of continental Europe.

Portugal's rivers, including the Tagus and Douro, are lifelines creating fertile valleys within the nation's heartland. The Tagus River, Portugal's longest, splits the country into distinct topographical regions. North of the Tagus, the landscape is mountainous and wetter, while the south enjoys rolling plains and a drier climate. The country's highlands, such as the Serra da Estrela, offer skiing opportunities and panoramic vistas. The archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores extend Portugal's territory into the Atlantic, offering everything from whale-watching to hiking in volcanic landscapes, creating a paradise for geologists and nature lovers alike.

Portugal's economy

Portugal's economy is a dynamic confluence of various sectors. Traditionally anchored by agriculture, fisheries, and mining, the nation's economic landscape has evolved to embrace tourism, manufacturing, and, notably, technology. The country has become an innovation hub, with Lisbon hosting events like the Web Summit, the largest tech meet-up in Europe. Moreover, Portugal's Golden Visa program, competitive real estate market, and tax incentives present lucrative opportunities for global investors.

Tourism is a significant economic driver, with Portugal's cultural richness and natural beauty attracting visitors worldwide. The Algarve's golf resorts, Lisbon's Gothic cathedrals, and Porto's river cruises contribute significantly to the industry's success. The sector's growth has spurred developments in hospitality, gastronomy, and real estate, with significant impacts on the job market and regional development.

In recent years, Portugal has emerged as a leader in renewable energy and technology. The nation's commitment to sustainability is evident in its investments in wind and hydro power, with Portugal regularly running on 100% renewable production for days. The country's commitment to green energy has attracted substantial international investment, particularly in solar and wind energy, consolidating its status as a leader in sustainable practices.

Simultaneously, the tech industry is booming, with increases in entrepreneurship opportunities, favorable business policies, and a growing digital nomad community. But also the agricultural sector, especially cork production (Portugal produces about 70% of the world's cork), olive oil, and wine, remains vital. The maritime economy is resurging, emphasizing sustainable fishing, aquaculture, and new forms of marine resources.

Portugal's culture and traditions

Portugal's culture is an intricate blend of influences reflecting its historical encounters and maritime spirit. Literature is celebrated, with book fairs and literary festivals held throughout the year. The country's literary tradition is illustrious, featuring poets like Luís de Camões, whose epic "The Lusiads" recounts Portugal's Age of Discoveries, and Fernando Pessoa, known for his heteronyms and philosophical writings. José Saramago, a Nobel Laureate, is one of the many writers who have shaped the Portuguese literary canon. Saramago's legacy lives on through the José Saramago Foundation, which promotes literature, culture, and human rights. The Lello Bookstore in Porto, considered one of the most beautiful globally, is a testament to the country's literary culture. 

Portugal culture has a captivating blend of traditional practices and contemporary trends. The country is renowned for Fado music, a melancholic genre that speaks to the soul of Portugal and expresses the concept of "saudade" (a unique sense of longing). It is part of UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage, deeply entwined with Portuguese identity. But Portugal's musical heritage goes beyond Fado. It's also the birthplace of the world music genre "World Beat," initiated by the band Madredeus, and has a thriving contemporary music scene.

Culinary arts are another cultural cornerstone, with iconic dishes like Bacalhau (salted cod), various seafood stews, and the infamous Pastéis de Nata (custard tarts). Portuguese cuisine, influenced by various global flavors, emphasizes a variety of spices and ingredients. Portugal is also a wine connoisseur's paradise, famous for its Porto and Vinho Verde wines. Portugal's gastronomy is a highlight for any visitor. From the numerous ways to prepare codfish to the Alentejo's rich, meaty dishes and the famed port wine, the country's culinary delights reflect its regional diversity and maritime traditions.

Festivals play a significant role in Portuguese community life, with Carnaval and Santo António being notable examples. Religious festivals, like Fátima's pilgrimage, underscore the country's strong Catholic heritage. Music festivals like Lisbon's NOS Alive and Porto's Primavera Sound showcase diverse genres. Traditional folk music, including Fado, 

The country's architecture is a feast for the eyes, featuring Manueline, Baroque, Romanesque, and Gothic styles. 

Moreover, Portugal's artisanal crafts, like Azulejos (ceramic tiles), are celebrated worldwide. Traditional arts continue to thrive, with Calçada Portuguesa (mosaic pavement art) beautifying the streets. Handicrafts also hold a special place in Portugal's cultural heritage, with each region offering something unique: the Arraiolos rugs, the colorful ceramics of Caldas da Rainha, and the intricate filigree jewelry typical of the north.  

Portugal is also home to a bustling cinema scene and hosts several international film festivals. The country's strong football culture, with clubs like FC Porto, Sporting CP, and SL Benfica, ignites national pride and unity.

Places to visit in Portugal

Portugal caters to every traveler. History enthusiasts revel in the palatial wonders of Sintra, while the waves of Nazaré are a haven for surfers. The Algarve's pristine beaches are perfect for sun-seekers, whereas the Douro Valley appeals to those wishing to experience Portugal's wine country. Urban adventurers find solace in Lisbon's nightlife, Porto's culinary scene, or the student-driven vibrancy of Coimbra. Off the mainland, Madeira and the Azores serve as idyllic retreats for nature lovers.

Portugal offers a plethora of experiences. History buffs can explore the architectural marvels of the Jerónimos Monastery and the Castelo de São Jorge. The coastal town of Cascais, the enchanting village of Óbidos with its medieval walls, and the sanctuary of Fátima, one of the most important Catholic pilgrimages, are must-visits.

For a touch of nature, the National Park of Peneda-Gerês with its stunning waterfalls and the Ria Formosa lagoon in the Algarve are perfect. The caves of São Vicente offer a subterranean adventure. Art enthusiasts will adore the Berardo Collection Museum and the MAAT in Lisbon for contemporary art.

Alentejo, known for its traditional cuisine and historic towns, is an off-the-beaten-path gem. For an island escape, Madeira's Laurisilva forest and the Azores' geothermal hot springs beckon.

Portugal's landmarks cater to a myriad of interests. The Mosteiro dos Jerónimos in Lisbon, a masterpiece of the Manueline architectural style unique to Portugal, is a must-see, along with the nearby Tower of Belém. The city of Évora, a UNESCO World Heritage site, offers a journey through time with its Roman Temple and medieval walls.

The Douro Valley, also a UNESCO site, is not only the birthplace of port wine but a region of outstanding natural beauty. For relaxation, the thermal baths at São Pedro do Sul have been in use since Roman times.

For art aficionados, the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon houses a diverse collection. The vibrant street art scenes in Lisbon and Porto, where old buildings serve as canvases for modern artists, present a contrast to the historic settings.

Portugal's tourism palette is rich. History enthusiasts revel in centuries-old sites like the University of Coimbra, while Lisbon's Oceanário, one of the world's largest aquariums, fascinates marine lovers. Sintra's landscape, with its fairytale palaces like Quinta da Regaleira, contrasts with the stark beauty of the Alentejo's ancient dolmens and menhirs.

Porto's historic Ribeira District, a UNESCO site, offers colorful buildings and narrow streets, while the nearby Livraria Lello inspires literary fans. Adventure seekers find haven in Algarve's Albufeira for water sports and Madeira's Levadas for unique hiking experiences.

Art enthusiasts enjoy Lisbon's Gulbenkian Museum's vast collection, while contemporary art lovers flock to the Berardo Collection Museum. The annual AgitÁgueda Art Festival is famed for its colorful umbrellas, and the Óbidos Vila Natal transforms the medieval town into a Christmas wonderland.

Why Invest in Portugal?

Portugal's horizon has never been more inviting for investors. The country combines stability with opportunity in a European context, making it an attractive destination for international capital. Here are several compelling reasons why investors are turning their attention to Portugal:

  • Strategic Location: Portugal's position on the western frontier of Europe offers logistical advantages. It provides direct access to the European market and acts as a gateway between the Americas and Africa. This is particularly beneficial for trade, import, and export businesses.
  • Favorable Tax Regime: Portugal's tax incentives, such as the non-habitual resident (NHR) regime, offer substantial tax reductions for a ten-year period to new residents, particularly retirees or those with high-value professions. Additionally, the "golden visa" program provides residency permits to non-EU investors, which has been particularly successful in attracting real estate investment.
  • Innovative Technology Scene: Especially in cities like Lisbon and Porto, there's a booming technology and startup scene. Supported by a range of incubators and accelerators, Portugal is nurturing a growing number of tech entrepreneurs and startups. The Web Summit, one of the largest tech conferences in the world, now calls Lisbon home, underscoring the country's position in the global tech landscape.
  • Real Estate Potential: The real estate market in Portugal has witnessed significant growth, with promising returns on investment. The demand for property, driven by both local and international investors, continues to rise, particularly in prime locations such as Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve. New developments and the rehabilitation of older properties present attractive opportunities for investors.
  • Quality of Life: With its mild climate, high safety ratings, rich cultural heritage, excellent healthcare system, and high standard of living, Portugal offers an attractive environment for expatriates and retirees. This quality of life attracts a skilled workforce from around the world, creating a diverse and multilingual talent pool.
  • Sustainable Energy and Tourism: Portugal's commitment to renewable energy and sustainable tourism offers investment opportunities in green technology, eco-tourism, and conservation projects. The country's aim to become carbon neutral by 2050 requires significant investment in sustainable infrastructure and technology.
  • Supportive Government Policies: The Portuguese government actively encourages foreign investment through various schemes, grants, and incentives. There's a clear focus on innovation, industrial strategy, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
  • Education and Research: Portugal has made substantial investments in education and research, resulting in a growing number of highly skilled professionals and researchers. Initiatives like the Portugal 2020 program aim to bolster innovation, development, and knowledge-based investments.

In conclusion, investing in Portugal offers a blend of stability, growth potential, and quality of life that's hard to match. The country welcomes investors with a friendly business environment, skilled workforce, and strategic access to key global markets, making it a compelling proposition for anyone looking to invest in Southern Europe.