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Portugal Geography
 
 
 

General

The westernmost country of Europe, Portugal occupies the greater portion of the western littoral of the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal has an area of 92,391 sq km (35,672 sq mi), including the Azores (Açores) Archipelago, and Madeira and Porto Santo. Comparatively, the area occupied by Portugal is slightly smaller than the state of Indiana.

Bordered on the north and east by Spain and on the south and west by the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal has a total boundary length of 3,007 km (1,868 mi), of which 1,793 km (1,114 mi) is coastline. Portugal's capital city, Lisbon, is located on Portugal's west coast.

Portugal exhibits sharp topographic contrasts. Although the north is largely lowland or land of medium altitude, the distribution of highlands is unequal north and south of the Tagus (Tejo) River. From north to south, the principal mountain ranges are the Peneda (reaching a maximum height of 1,416 m/4,646 ft), Gerêz (1,507 m/4,944 ft), Marão (1,415 m/4,642 ft), Montemuro (1,382 m/4,534 ft), the Açor (1,340 m/4,396 ft), and Lousã (1,204 m/3,950 ft), all north of the Tagus. The uplands of Beira, traversed by the Tagus on its way to the sea, contain Portugal's highest peak, Estrêla (1,991 m/6,532 ft). Westward lies the low coast of the Beira Littoral. The Tagus and Sado basins lie adjacent to the hilly area of Estremadura and rise to the hills of Alentejo on the east. The interior lowland of lower Alentejo, farther south, is limited by the hills of Algarve. The south coast, from the mouth of the Guadiana to Cape St. Vincent, is mainly steep, but northward from Cape St. Vincent to the Tagus, including the great Bay of Setúbal and the estuary of the Tagus, the coast is low. North of the Tagus, it rises steeply toward the hills of Sintra, beyond which is a low coast of dunes interrupted by the marshes of Aveiro. Beyond the mouth of the Douro River, the coast is steep all the way to the Spanish frontier and the mouth of the Minho River. The larger rivers – the Minho, the Douro, the Tagus and the Guadiana – all rise in Spain. The Douro has the longest course in Portugal (322 km/200 mi).

Marked seasonal and regional variations within temperate limits characterise the climate. In the north, an oceanic climate prevails: cool summers and rainy winters (average rainfall 125-150 cm/50-60 in annually), with occasional snowfall. Central Portugal has hot summers and cool, rainy winters, with 50-75 cm (20-30 in) average annual rainfall. The southern climate is very dry, with rainfall not exceeding 50 cm (20 in) along the coast. In Lisbon, the average temperature is about 24°C (75°F) in July and 4°C (39°F) in January. The annual mean temperature in Portugal is 16°C (61°F).

Overview

Location
Southwestern Europe, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Spain

Geographic coordinates
39 30 N, 8 00 W

Map references
Europe

Area
total: 92,391 sq km
land: 91,951 sq km
water: 440 sq km
note: includes Azores and Madeira Islands

Area - comparative
slightly smaller than Indiana

Land boundaries
total: 1,214 km
border countries: Spain 1,214 km


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