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Portugal - Enviornment

Portugal Environment

Portugal lies immediately west of Spain, and is buffeted along its southern coast by the Atlantic Ocean. To its west and southwest lie the islands of the Azores and Madeira, far out in the Atlantic. It measures just 350mi (560km) north to south and a paltry 135mi (220km) from east to west. The northern and central regions are heavily populated and characterised by rivers, valleys, forests and mountains - the highest range is the Serra da Estrela, peaking at Torre (6540ft/1993m). The south is less populated and, apart from the rocky backdrop of the Algarve, much flatter and drier.

The lush landscape of the north is rich viticultural country but also features corn, potato and rye. The central and southern regions are less green, yet they support corn oaks, olive groves, vineyards, and orange and fig trees, and are a delight in spring when the almond blossoms are in full bloom.

Portugal's climate is temperate. The country is generally warm from April to October, though somewhat less so in the north, while the southern region of Algarve can experience uncomfortably hot temperatures in midsummer. During winter, the north receives plenty of rain and temperatures can be chilly. Snowfall is common in the mountains, particularly the Serra da Estrela range.

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