Britain's official friendship with the Portuguese goes back all the way to 1386 and the Anglo-Portuguese Treaty of Windsor. The Treaty still stands, making the Portuguese Britain's oldest international allies. More recently that friendship has become more personal. They gave us José Mourinho, we gave them Jasmine Harman (for a while, anyway). Today, around 30,000 Britons ocially live in Portugal, according to the Foreign and Commonwealth Oce, and a very similar number of Portuguese are in the UK, according to the Oce for National Statistics.
Many more of us are there on extended holidays, tempted by hot summers, warm winters, year-round golf, white-washed villages, blue and white tiles, secret coves hiding picture-perfect sandy beaches and crashing Atlantic waves, serious eating with thick steaks and amazing seafood, café culture with creamy custard tarts (pasteis de nata) washed down with a cup of bica (espresso).
All of this, from genuinely welcoming people and resorts that just feel a bit more unspoilt and friendly than some countries. Like the UK, as a seafaring nation Portugal has been adventurous and open to foreign influences. It had a global empire that lasted for 600 years and spread the Portuguese language to 250 million people in places like Brazil, Cape Verde and Macau. In recent years it has become a forward-thinking and liberal country - gay marriage was legalised in 2010 - and it is a member of the EU and Nato.
Economically, Portugal got itself into all sorts of trouble before the global nancial crisis and needed bailing out. However, while other nations still languish, Portugal is slowly emerging as a condent, reliable and industrious nation. It has been creative in solving its problems, showing the world how to attract international buyers via its "golden visa" and tax-friendly policies, for example, which are gaining new residents from countries as France and China.
Yet the basic appeal of Portugal still lies in its laid-back Mediterranean-style culture with warmth and style.
For more information about the popular areas as well the property market and useful information on the buying process in Portugal - download our new buying guide to Portugal here >>>