Facing the Atlantic Ocean in South-Western Europe, Portugal enjoys a very warm climate for most of the year. This makes it an extremely popular destination with holiday makers along with backpackers exploring Europe who want to enjoy some sunshine.
Portugal officially became an independent state during the Christian reconquest which begun around the 5th century AD. It prospered into a strong, wealthy nation, reaching its heyday in the 14th and 15th centuries, although it lost much of this when Lisbon was destroyed by an earthquake in 1755.
Today Portugal has a population of just over 10 million people and over half a million of them live in the capital, Lisbon. The land is extremely varied. Along with its famed coastline there is an amazing mountainous area in the north and plains in the south.