Sun. May 19th, 2024

Are you wondering what Portugal is famous for? Find out what makes this small southern European country special and the main things it is known for.

But then, what is Portugal famous for?

Portugal is known for many things, from beaches, culture, and food, that attract many visitors year after year. There are many famous landmarks in Portugal that the more distracted traveler may have missed, including medieval castles and other architectural wonders.

What is Portugal known for?
Portugal is known for its rich history

With a population of around 10 million people, Portugal is often overshadowed by its next-door neighbor, Spain. However, because of its former colonies, especially Brazil, the Portuguese language is one of the most widely spoken in the world. While many Portuguese speak good English, you will win some hearts if you learn some basic sentences or words – like thank you or you’re welcome in Portuguese.

So here are the main things Portugal is famous for.

1- Portugal Is Famous For The Great Navigations

Portugal started the great navigations in the early 15th century, with the need to expand its commercial routes, among other reasons.

It started exploring islands that were later annexed to the country, such as Madeira and the Azores, right in the middle of the Atlantic. It then conquered different places in Africa, some of which became Portuguese colonies, including the archipelago of Cape Verde in 1444, then San Tome and Principe in 1471.


In search of a new route to the East, it successfully crossed the Cape of Good Hope, at the southernmost tip of Africa, and in 1498 Vasco da Gama arrived in India. Two years later, another navigator, Pedro Alvares de Cabral, arrived in the Americas, in present-day Brazil. In the same year, the Portuguese arrived in Newfoundland (Canada) and Madagascar (which they named San Lorenzo Island).

By 1542, the Portuguese had arrived and settled in places Melaka (Malaysia), Moluccas (Indonesia), Timor, Japan, and China, setting a stronghold in Macao.

2- Blue Tiles (Azulejos)

Azulejos are basically ceramic tiles, usually square, and have a glazed side. These tiles are used to decorate the interior and exterior of churches, palaces and other buildings.

They are a heritage from the Moorish period when the Moors were settled in the Iberian Peninsula.

What To Do in Porto Portugal - Sao Bento Station

The use of azulejos used to be a display of importance and wealth. These beautifully decorated tiles can depict religious stories, historic moments, or Portuguese royalty. When visiting Lisbon, you will see many historic buildings with their facade decorated with azulejos. In the city of Porto, one of the most beautiful azulejos walls can be found at Sao Bento Station and Capela das Almas (the Chapel of the Souls).

If you want to learn more about the Portuguese blue tiles, you can go on a full-day tour from Lisbon. You will learn about and taste some Portuguese wine and also learn about the history of azulejos and see how they’re made.

3- Portugal Is Known For Fado

Fado, a very local music genre, is another thing that Portugal is famous for. Unlike music genres from Spain or Brazil – countries that Portugal is often associated with – Fado is a melancholic music style.


The name means fate, and many of the lyrics talk about the hardships of life. If you’re not familiar with this famous Portuguese music style, it’s worth going to one of the many Fado concerts in Lisbon, Porto or other parts of the country.



Fado is sung in a nostalgic, almost crying manner, and is accompanied by a guitar. The most famous Fado singer is Amalia Rodrigues (1920-1999), but nowadays many singers have revived the style and brought it back to the mainstream charts in Portugal. Among these, Mariza is one of the best-known Fado singers in the country and overseas.

4- Beaches

What is Portugal known for? For its beaches! Located on the Atlantic coast, the country has around 559 miles (900 kilometers) of coastline and an abundance of beaches.

That makes Portugal one of the most sought-after summer destinations in Europe, with travelers from the whole continent seeking the warm weather and the beautiful beaches, most of them with gold sand, some with white sand, and other hidden beaches, only accessible from the water.

Portugal is known for its beaches
What is famous about Portugal? Its beaches!

Tourists mostly from the UK, Germany and the Netherlands flock to Portugal from May to October for the sunny weather. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to go to the beach even by mid-November, although the water temperature is much colder this time of the year.

The most famous beaches in Portugal are located in the Algarve, in the south of the country. In the north of Portugal, places like Vila Nova de Gaia and Matosinhos, both outside Porto, and Viana do Castelo, are alternative beach places with fewer tourists.

5- Portugal Is Famous For Football/Soccer

That’s correct, Portugal is known for its soccer (football in Europe). The sport is the biggest passion of many Portuguese and the country, considering its small size, is home to a few champions.

The country’s main soccer teams are Benfica, Sporting Lisboa, and F.C. Porto. They’re known as “The Big Three”. The Portuguese national football team won the UEFA in 2016 and has fared very well in the latest FIFA World Cup tournaments.

What is famous about Portugal? Soccer/Football!
The Portuguese are crazy about their football/soccer

I was in Portugal during the World Cup 2018 and could see how passionate they were, with streets in Porto’s Old Town decorated in homage to their national team.

Portugal is also famous for its football players: among some important names, I can mention Luís Figo, Rui Costa, Eusébio, Fernando Chalana, and the one and only Cristiano Ronaldo. World-famous football manager José Mourinho, who managed Benfica, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Roma is from Setúbal, a city 30 miles (48 kilometers) from Lisbon.



By Lala