Language: Portuguese

Climate: Portugal's climate varies considerably from one region to another and is influenced by the relief, latitude and proximity to the sea, which offers mild winters. Inland, nearer Spain, the winters are colder, although the temperatures are still mild compared to the rest of Europe. There is some snowfall mainly in the Serra da Estrela mountains. The summers are hot and dry, especially in the inland areas. Temperatures are slightly lower in the coastal areas, because of the influence of the sea. There are often warm, sunny days in autumn.

Time Zone: WET — Western European Time, AZOT — Azores Time

International phone code: 351

Currency: Euro

Capital: Lisbon

Transportation: Almost all major airlines fly to Portugal, as does the country's own TAP Portugal airline. There are cheap fares to be had from the no-frills airlines, like Aer Lingus, Monarch, easyJet and Ryanair. Trains reach most larger cities from Lisbon to Porto, Braga, Aveiro, Coimbra, Evora and Faro. Lisbon is connected to Madrid, Spain; Porto to VigoSpain; Vilar Formoso to Spain, France and the rest of Europe. Rail travel in Portugal is usually slightly faster than travel by bus, but services are less frequent and cost more. The immediate areas surrounding Lisbon and Porto are reasonably well served by suburban rail services. As the rail network is limited, so you may find yourself busing about to get anywhere off the beaten path. Rede Expresso is one of the largest inter-city bus companies. Roads are generally good, and you can reach all major cities with ease, either by motorway or by good, modern roads.

Gay Portugal

Gay rights in Portugal have improved substantially in the past decade and are now among the best in the world. While marriage equality is still out of reach, the Portuguese constitution prohibits any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation, making it one of the only countries in the world to enshrine a constitutional ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation.

There's a dynamic gay scene in Lisbon (including the annual Gay Pride parade, and one of Europe's largest queer film festivals), as well as Porto, and the main tourist cities of the Algarve, like Faro, Lagos, Albufeira and Tavira. Other smaller cities and regions such as Aveiro, Leiria, Coimbra, Braga, Évora and Madeira have more discreet gay communities.