18 Districts of Mainland Portugal

First, let me say that the image above displays the wine regions for the most. The actual 18 mainland regions, as there are two others for the islands, are displayed towards the end of this post. Both images are educational.

When I started this blog, I said that I was going to chart my progress in fulfilling my dream of moving to Portugal, or more precisely, I wrote “ I decided to share my experiences on this new venture in life and basically tell it like it is, as the story unfolds”. This remains my intention where the difficulties, as and when discovered, shall be written of. This posting is about more than a simple dilemma of living either here or there within Portugal. It is about making the correct long-term life changing decision, so as not to waste untold money and time. And more to the point, not screw-up my future big time, at worst.

So Where am I Going

Where do I intend finally living once the big day comes? The truth of the matter at this moment, is that this so-called concern remains unresolved. I am not disappointed, flummoxed or depressed that this is so, but more joyful of this situation as it provides me with far greater time to savour the exuberance of anticipation and fate. To my mind, there is a tremendous degree of satisfaction in researching anything, and this includes, where one may live in future days.

I think that it is only right I understand the country where I intend living to the best of my ability. With more knowledge, the eventual move should be more fruitful and result in greater success. Also, I’m sure, with more familiarity, I shall develop a superior appreciation and, hopefully in the future, be more capable of dealing with and discussing issues better. It may seem that this is not important. To me it is.

It is interesting looking at Portugal and understanding the various areas and divisions which have in actual fact confused me to some extent due to historical changes. At the most basic level there is Norte (North), much cooler and very green where within is Aveiro, Beja, Braga, Porto, Viana do Castelo, Vila Real. Central Portugal with Castelo Branco, Coimbra, Guarda, Leiria, Santarém, Viseu. Next is the Alentejo area housing Beja, Évora, Portalegre. This parts can be much drier in many places. Right at the bottom is the Algarve Region where you have Faro much favoured by expats and those with holiday homes. And finally, the Lisbon Region where within is Lisbon, Setúbal.

There are 18 districts to mainland Portugal and 2 autonomous regions and in some respects, this causes me a problem, if I should be so foolish as to call it a problem, following my above statement. It is not the fact that these areas exists, but more, in which one to reside. It could be thought that it would be simple to select an area based on a few basic requirements. For me, this is not proving to be the case for an assortment of reasons, both practical and near personal.

For those in a similar situation to myself, it should be borne in mind that it is all to easy to purchase property and far from, to sell it. I made this mistake before and truly learnt that location, location, location really does matter more than many realise.

Getting back to these 20 area, if transportation was not an issue, I’m sure that Madeira would be high on my list if not my first choice. Madeira could well be followed closely by The Azores. Even then, it is very feasible that on closer inspection, idyllic locations such as these, would reveal pitfalls and again, hamper my decision and create more indecisiveness.


Magnificently Diverse

Perhaps initially, geographically, Portugal needs to the considered as a whole to appreciated what really is offered. As a county, I honestly feel that it is a place that ought to satisfy all but the most difficult of persons. With its many regions, Portugal ought to stimulate one visually with the greatest of ease and climatically, fulfill the desires of all but the extremist. Culturally, a great deal is offered also where that is another topic for a later time. Mainland Portugal is far from a large country with just 89,015 km2 and has a shrinking population of 10,047,083 million give or take at this time. Compared to London at 1,572 km² and 8.174 million. These figures, I find amazing and perhaps it accounts for the more relaxed way of life.

From North to South Portugal is some 420 miles that range from lush green mountainous forests to visually engaging flat and terraced plains with rivers, lakes and valleys between. To my mind, paradise from an aesthetic point, even when considering the Alentejo area otherwise known as the breadbasket of Portugal where the sight of a lone tree can become enchanting when simply appreciated for its very existence.

Climatically, Portugal again excels in what she offers. Having said this, it is all too often seen that people who visit the likes of Portugal and the land of illegal builds and lost hope – Spain, appear to think the Sun shines 360 days a year and that temperatures remain warm throughout the year. Not so. Forgetting Spain, and with reference to Portugal alone, those 20 regions vary hugely in weather patterns and even within a single region there can be great differences where microclimates can and often do exist within even smaller area. The image here illustrates well.

I can’t take the high temperatures for any great length of time and therefore, it would be my intention to take this into account and place it high on my list. Madeira I mentioned earlier. The weather there seems as near to perfect as possible. Coimbra, Santarem, Castelo Branco are on my shorter list at the moment, but who knows, that could and may well change.

My job now is to research in much greater depth the 18 districts of the mainland.

  1. Lisbon
  2. Leiria
  3. Santarém
  4. Setúbal
  5. Beja
  6. Faro
  7. Évora
  8. Portalegre
  9. Castelo Branco
  10. Guarda
  11. Coimbra
  12. Aveiro
  13. Viseu
  14. Bragança
  15. Vila Real
  16. Porto
  17. Braga
  18. Viana do Castelo
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