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A country of surprising history, and hidden secrets within it, Portugal might not be famous in recent decades.

However, a small country situated on the western coast of the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal is becoming the most visited countries of Europe and a tourist attraction for an infinite number of reasons.

Talk about beaches, traditional cuisine, soccer, lively people, idyllic climate, affordable travel costs, and exceptional landscape it’s not only becoming a tourist spot. Rather a lot of people are thinking to move and settle into Portugal permanently.

From the landscapes you saw to the sights you view, the food you ate, to the waves you rode, Portugal is one of the finest places in Europe to visit and settled in.

Let’s have a look at a variety of other reasons for Portugal becoming extraordinarily popular from an underrated country in the European belt.

Spectacular landscapes

From the rocky and towery mountains in the north to the spectacular beaches in the south, Portugal is enriched with the places that usually don’t turn up on the maps but are there as a hidden secret for all the tourists to have a visit and explore the delightful beauty of nature.

Old fashioned charm with contemporary sophistication, Portugal is both classic and distinctly modern. It’s a paradox that attracts visitors from all across the globe.

The country’s iconic cities are where modern life buzzes with the ancient landscapes referring to the past.

From amazing scenes from the top of the mountains to the largest underwater world, Portugal is unique in every sense.

From the oldest bookstore of the world to Europe’s largest bridge, Portugal has a variety to offer to its visitors.

From hidden cities secret to the shores of the noisy water striking the surface will leave you in awe.

Idyllic climate

One of the major reason people chooses Portugal over any other European country is its uniform weather throughout the year.

Most of the EU countries experience extreme hot to extreme cold conditions. While on the other hand, cool sea breezes in summers and pleasant comparatively warm wet winters make Portugal a desirable place for all the expats and tourists to visit and settle in Portugal.

Traditional Cuisine

One of the prominent factors of Portugal’s popularity is its simple and delicious cuisines.

Be it the seafood, meat, or vegetables, the food is relatively simply cooked following the basic ingredients rather than complicated sauces used in its neighboring countries like France, Italy, or Spain.

Moreover, Portugal is highly affordable when it comes to food.

One unique feature of Portuguese cuisines is seasoned food, i.e. they cook what is in according to the season.

One of the specialties of Portuguese food is potatoes cooked in a variety of ways. Pastéis de Nata is the signature Portuguese dessert, an egg tart pastry dusted with cinnamon.

Other famous Portugal cuisines include Bifana, Bacalhau, Squid, and Sardines.

As for drinks, Portugal is known to be the world’s biggest consumer of wine per capita.

Portugal’s most famous export is the wine which is known to be the national drink also.

Moreover, the world’s oldest wine-producing regions and a candidate for UNESCO World Heritage Site is the Douro Valley is another popular feature for Portugal.

Language

One of the reasons for Portugal’s popularity is its native Portuguese language which is known to be the official language of nine other countries.

Having 220 million native speakers of this language, it’s the sixth most spoken as a first language.

Soccer

Every time we think about Portugal, the very first thing that comes to mind is Cristiano Ronaldo.

Yeah, he isn’t just a player of Portugal; rather he is a world-renowned legend.

Football might be the popular sport played in Portugal but Cristiano Ronaldo has become a brand associated with football representing Portugal all across the globe.

Even interested in soccer or not the whole world recognizes him.

Apart from him, Portugal is known to produce great players of all times in the Soccer field. Eusébio, Luis Figo, Paulo Sousa, and Paulo Futre are some of the greatest names in the history of Portugal soccer.

Standard of living

With such a growing and confident economy, Portugal is known to be the hub for all the business tycoons and investors from all across the globe.

Innovations, talented people, leading companies are building it a new country and a startup hub in the whole of Europe.

The combination of good infrastructure and a high-quality economy with massive technology as compared to other parts of Europe makes Portugal quite attractive for starting up the business and investing in here.

The strong capability of exports, well-educated workforce and the low-cost base is an eye-opener for all the business starters to invest in Portugal.

Cost of living

Living in Portugal is highly affordable as compared to other parts of Europe.

From food to the residence, fueling to healthcare, Portugal offers you the cheapest rates comparatively.

Moreover, Airfares are relatively low and stopovers are free for domestic as well as international flights.

Music

Fado is known to be the soul of Portuguese music.

This specific genre was recognized and originated in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, and is often played in Pubs, cafes, or restaurants, and other public areas presenting a soothing effect to the environment.

The Fado music contains the message of hope and the new beginning after going through the tough phase of life.

What is the BEST investment?

In these enduring times we often ask ourselves: what is the BEST investment now? What will I do next? What is the way out?

Did you know that EUROPE has the BEST Healthcare system, which can grant you and your family the help and assistance you need in t of sickness?

Did you know that despite all the difficulties in the world EUROPE is still a SAFE PLACE to LIVE?

Did you know that EUROPE has the BEST EDUCATION SYSTEM in the world, granting your children the opportunity to grow?

Invest in a NEW RESIDENCY or CITIZENSHIP

This is the best investment you can make today. As a result of this investment you and your family will be able to live a healthy, safe life where your children can thrive and grow, where they can learn in the BEST schools at the lowest cost.

Benefits of Schengen Passport

By acquiring a Schengen Passport and thus, Citizenship you will have the following benefits:

  • Live in any of the 27 European Union countries
  • e-visa to US and Canada
  • World-class education system
  • State of the Art healthcare system

where your children can thrive and grow, where they can learn in the BEST schools at the lowest cost.

Benefits of Schengen Residency

By acquiring a Schengen Residency you will have the below benefits:

  • Travel without borders within the EU zone
  • Live, work and study in your country of residence
  • Enjoy the education and healthcare of the country

Why Schengen?

Schengen is a term used to describe those countries within the European Union which grant the Freedom of Travel. These countries have been recognized as the highest security standards countries and thus, the residents and citizens of these countries can enjoy privileges other EU member states don't.

5 Popular Immigration Myths That Are Just That

Emigrating to a more lucrative country is commonplace. It is just that it's becoming difficult as the generations pass. With new rules, changes in mindset, and the difference in political opinion, the world is an ever-changing place. However, immigration is and will never be something people do not do anymore. We all know someone in our friends and extended families that emigrated from one country to another.

We have a certain amount of fear and a general idea that emigration has its share of problems. Unfortunately, emigrating is romanticized in the movies and become plot points, so there are many misconceptions about it. If you are from Asia or India, you know this Sanjay Dutt movie 'Naam' about a man trying to get into a country illegally. Some other films in the eighties and the nineties glorified the myth of bogus travel agents and fake job rackets in foreign.

These myths are dangerous, as they stop populations from moving on to a better life. Here are some myths that people believe in and lose out on the best thing that can happen to them.

The Whole World is a Dragnet of Crime

Action movies of the nineties popularised this myth because they wanted a script that had crime and foreign locations. So, we grew up thinking that every country had drivers in inconspicuous cars at the airports, waiting to prey on young and old and drive them off to a location unknown. One cannot deny that criminal elements exist all around the world, but common sense tells us not to go anywhere with strangers- even in our area, city, and country! Also, any person or family emigrating will have a complete system in place and will make all efforts to stay inside it, so to say. So, we will leave international kidnap and rescue bids to where they are best settled - on the silver screen.

The Police Is on Perpetual Crackdown Mode on All Kinds of Immigrants

Illegal Emigration is a headache - and it is a headache for all nations, poor as well as the rich ones. Yes, there is a dedicated department for illegal immigrants, but there's no country with an All-Points Bulletin at all times, looking to swoop down on immigrants of all kinds - in other words, nobody's going to put you in an unmarked car and haul you to deportation just because you look different.

You are 'Inside' a Country

Nothing can be farther from the truth. If international travel were a hassle, the movie industry would not be living out of a suitcase. Almost every country - apart from the usual suspects - have open borders, and it is not a daunting task to communicate or travel between countries. Also, legal immigrants have access to a robust legal system that supports them all the time.

Immigration is Expensive

There are costs to immigration, yes, but if you do it right, the amount will be exactly right and very much affordable. For example, do you know that you can immigrate to a country and become its naturalized citizen if you can show that you can start a business and give employment to ten people? And you get the money invested back as well, after a certain period? With the correct support and information, immigration becomes a concrete process that is just a matter of dedication, time, and a little bit of money spent.

There's No Support

If you plan to immigrate, you are not on your own. Several organizations and companies offer you well-informed and complete support to meet your dream of settling in a country of your choice and preparing a future for your children and family. These organizations do not just act as travel agents. They give you end to end support for emigrating from your country to the country of your choice.

These are five myths that you should not believe if you are looking to emigrate. Yes, there are some risks to emigrating, but there is nothing that you cannot handle with informed decisions and research.

Portugal: A Lucrative Business Opportunity Waiting for You

Setting up a business in any country has its fair share of dots and dashes to cover. But what matters is the returns that you get after going through all the hoops of setting up a business in a foreign country. Some countries are famous for their food, others are popular for their art, so on and so forth. Today, people looking for a better, more comfortable life can immigrate to any country in the world, as the options are several. The country of Portugal is one of them. Here are five simple reasons why:

It is a Tourism Spectacle:

Portugal is the oldest nation-state in Europe. Its origins date back to the 10th century. So, several ancient structures are tourism spectacles. Any country that has a successful tourism industry is a great business opportunity. From simple businesses to accommodations to slightly complicated ones like the restaurant business - Portugal is an excellent option for all.

Lucrative Market for Innovative Products:

Portugal has a high living standard and promises a luxurious life experience for anyone who decides to live in the country. it has a GDP per capita of 77% of the EU28 average. High living standards and a developed country mean that Portugal is a lucrative market for new businesses, startups, and innovative ideas in every sphere of business. Since 2011, it has fallen a bit in terms of richness, but it is still one of the most developed countries in the world. In 2016, it had a surplus. The average salary in Portugal is 910 euro and the minimum wage is 635 euros.

A Luxurious Life:

In 2005, Portugal was the 15th best place to live in the world. Research shows that Portugal is ahead of other technologically advanced countries like Germany, France, and South Korea.

Home to Global Brands:

Portugal has technical prowess that few possess. It is home to brands like Volkswagen and Peugeot. The automobile industry is one of the major industries that give rise to some secondary and tertiary industries as well.

Big on Industries:

Portugal has the perfect mix of small and large businesses. It is the largest supplier of copper and supplies tungsten, tin, and uranium majorly. It is also turning out to be a major supplier of lithium. If you are looking to invest in the metals market, getting inroads into the Portugal market makes sense.

A Welcoming Culture:

Portugal is particularly welcoming towards the LGBTI community. It now has a non-discriminatory clause and has also added sexual orientation to the Constitution. It has legally adopted same-sex adoption and same-sex marriage back in 2010.

Big on Tourism

Portugal is home to some popular tourist locations as well. People interested in ancient architecture and the quaint lifestyle of a Portugal village routinely visit the countryside. Countries like India, which were Portuguese colonies once upon a time, have tourist spots in the country that are popular for the Portuguese architecture and props.

Some of the popular tourist spots here are Algrave, Nazare, Oceanario De Lisboa, the Furnas Lake, the Peneda-Geres National Park, and many more. When the tourism market in a country is lucrative, it creates several business opportunities.

These are some reasons why Portugal is a major lucrative business opportunity today. The country welcomes immigrants. If you are looking for a comfortable, luxurious lifestyle and looking for options, make it a point to check out Portugal.

Immigrating to another country and setting up a business there is not difficult but you need to go through the correct channels that give you the correct information and assist you to set up a comfortable, luxurious life in Portugal.

Immigrate for Indians: What to Know

Immigration for Indians today is a simple, hassle-free task, provided we hire the correct people and go through the perfect channels. Today, many countries welcome Indians to tour, study, set up a business, and even emigrate. If you are looking for Immigration for Indians options and what to know what the process should include, read this article.

Why Immigrate to Portugal?

Though several countries welcome Indians, immigration to Portugal is one of the most lucrative aspects. Portugal has a growing economy, several markets, and submarkets to set up a business in, including the most lucrative travel business.

Portugal is fast becoming a go-to immigration location for India, adding to the otherwise traditional destinations like the Middle East. Interestingly, Portugal has a growing Indian population because of the Portugal colonization of the country some 200 years ago. Today, you will see several people of Indian descent in the Government and administration as well, with many Indians emigrating to Portugal in 1961 when the Portuguese Government allowed Indians to immigrate to Portugal. Today, there are more than ninety thousand people of Indian origin living in Portugal.

Portugal has a population of about 10 million people with a GDP of about 237,618 USD. In 2019, the growth rate of GDP was about 2%. More than sixty percent of the population is urban as well, which means the country is a perfect location for starting up small businesses and experimental businesses.

Portugal is a very lucrative country for anyone looking to start a tourism business. The tourist number is ever increasing. Portugal has seen an increase of about seven percent in the number of tourists’ arrivals since 2018.

All this spells well for people who are looking to set up new businesses and experiment with startups. Also, there is always a place for one of a traditional business to set up shop in Portugal.

All this makes Portugal a perfect option for immigration for Indians. However, there are some aspects that everyone should look at, before deciding to immigrate to any country, let alone Portugal.

The Business Aspect of Portugal Immigration

One major issue one faces while deciding to immigrate is the aspect of setting up a business. Since you are in a different country, you might take time to read up on the rules and regulations on setting up a business.

But there's an option for that too, nowadays. You will see consultants setting up a business that you can then run, whenever you are comfortable - these are called turn-key business. You must do little more than turn the key at the door to begin running it, once all of it in place.

You can research for such consultants online and then decide which of them is the best for your requirements and fit your budget.

Here is a simple checklist to find out whether the immigration consultants you are dealing with are the real deal or not:

  • Find out how many years they have been in business.
  • Find out about their other clients, both individual and corporate. The Internet has a lot of information about businesses, so use it well.
  • Read their reviews. Several websites offer reviews of businesses. Visit them, read what others have to say about them, and you will get a better idea of how they deal with their clients.
  • Find out if they specialize in the country you are looking to immigrate. Specialization helps because then the consultants know the process like the back of their hand

There are some consultants available that provide you these services as well, but you would need to carry out proper research. You would first need to check out which type of business you'd like to open up and in which segment. You could choose from manufacturing, retail, service providing, so on and so forth. You will then need to search for consultants who have experience setting up a business in the segment that you wish to do business in.

To begin with, one should look at the various immigration laws that are in place. Different countries have a different set of rules. A particular country might have a set of rules for a specific country. So, you need to know the kind of paperwork, the complete process, and the exact timelines.

If you are planning to immigrate, you might also need to set your finances in order. Some countries require the person to have a certain amount of money in their bank account before they can approve their immigration. You do not want to endure problems during your immigration process. So, one good option is to talk to an immigration consultant.

The immigration consultants know the ins and outs of the business and will have the tips and tricks to create a smooth immigration process for you. Several times, one gets overwhelmed just by looking at the amount of paperwork one would need to look at to ensure successful immigration. If you think you are one of them, it's a good idea to hire an immigration consultant or take the services of an immigration consultancy.

You will find several immigration consultants in India, local and online. However, you will need to check their experience and their specialization. Some immigration consultants specialize in immigration to certain countries. So, you would need to gather all this information before you decide to go ahead with an immigration agent.

One of the many aspects of moving to another country is setting up a visa as well. In India, you will see several Visa agents with relevant experience. If you are not sure, search online for 'visa agents near me' and it will pop up all the visa agents in your vicinity.

In some cases, you might look for the best immigration service to Europe from India. You can search online, and you will get a list of immigration services. Make sure that you research them and go ahead only when you are sure that they are genuine.

These are some of the aspects that you should know for immigration for Indians. We wish you the best of luck in your immigration requirements.

Student Immigration: All You Need To Know

Student immigration is one of the most common types of immigration that you will see. Every year, thousands of students looking for a better education pursue the courses that they wish to, out of their country. Most people prefer student immigration because it is a simple, hassle-free process and one of the best chances for a person to visit and spend time in a foreign country in a legal, transparent manner.

Student immigration is the perfect opportunity to learn about the culture of another country. You also get a hands-on approach to the people of the country and get to know them when you interact with them in the school or college.

In several cases, young individuals visit and stay in another country to pursue studies. In many cases, they begin their career there, and in a couple of years, their immigration is a formal process. If you are looking for student immigration options, read this article to know more.

To begin with, you need to keep an eye out for the various educational fairs that happen before the start of the academic year. You get a lot of information about the student immigration process during these fairs. In India, several colleges and educational institutes hold education fairs and invite foreign universities to speak to potential students.

Check the customs and culture of the country that you plan to study in, as well as the weather. You need to make sure that you will be comfortable and 'at home' in the country that you plan to visit and stay for a couple of years. Another important aspect that many ignore, is whether they will be comfortable with the weather conditions in the country that they are planning to immigrate to.

One aspect of student immigration is that you should find out whether your country recognizes the degree and college university that you intend to study. Otherwise, you might complete your higher education in a foreign country, but the degree won't have the required value in your home country. Also, do some solid research about the college. Though student immigration is hassle-free, there are several scammers around, and cases of fake universities are rampant.

Further, studying in a foreign country is an expensive process. You have several types of charges to pay, apart from education. You will have the accommodation charges, lifestyle expenses, and other such expenses that will be out of pocket. Many countries do not allow students to work or work full-time.

If you are looking to study on a scholarship, you will need to carry further research about which colleges and schools are offering a scholarship and whether you are eligible for it.

Work on your financials as well. Several countries require students to have a set amount of money in their bank accounts. You might also need to check the best bank for such processes. Some banks might be easier to work with as compared to others. There are several immigration agents and immigration consultants who work specifically with student immigration. They provide you all the information you would need about student immigration.

So, make sure that you read up on the rules and regulations for students and individuals wishing to study in a foreign country.

Also, you will need to decide the country and university that you wish to study. Be incredibly careful while researching the university that you want to enroll.

The best way to carry out this research is via the Internet. You will find several websites, forums, and social media pages that give you much of the information. While you can get information online, makes sure that you confirm all of it with an e-mail or a phone call to the university or college concerned.

Portugal is also home to several international colleges and universities, so it is easier for you to decide on which one you would like to pursue. To know more information about pursuing student immigration in Portugal, speak to a immigration agent that specializes in student immigration and immigration to Portugal.

One of the most popular countries when it comes to education is Portugal. Currently, Portugal ranks 35th in the world when it comes to education. Also, Portugal offers a great platform for students who wish to start experimental businesses and begin startups, because it has a strong economy that is very open to the concept of new.

In recent years, various prestigious international surveys have placed Portugal in the top ten countries with the best quality of life, ease of settling in, working abroad, family life, and personal finance.

Portugal is an unspoilt natural paradise with stunning contrasts: from Porto and the vineyards of the Douro Valley; the historical coastal villages of Nazare, Sao Martinho do Porto, Obidos and the beaches on the Silver Coast; the cosmopolitan centres of Lisbon, Estoril and Cascais on the Lisbon Coast, Sesimbra, Troia Island and the turquoise waters on the Blue Coast; the university town of Coimbra and the snow-capped mountains of Serra da Estrela; the monuments in Evora and the cork plantations of the Alentejo; to the towns of Albufeira or Tavira, the world-famous resorts of Vilamoura, Quinta do Lago and the golden beaches of the Algarve.

High living standards but low cost of living

Portugal enjoys a high standard of living, yet it remains one of the least expensive countries in Western Europe.

Daily items such as food, wine and coffee are of excellent quality and very affordable. A typical lunch or “prato do dia” (plate of the day) will cost you from 7 to 10 euros per person and a single expresso coffee starting at 65 cents.

The real estate market also offers very attractive prices, with great opportunities for investment and one of Europe’s highest rental returns.

Portugal has also maintained its place on the top of the list of the best countries for a comfortable retirement abroad. In 2020 Portugal was once again chosen as the best country in the world to retire, this time by the Annual Global Retirement Index of International Living magazine.

Delicious food and a passion for local ingredients

Portuguese people may have strong opinions on politics and football, but there are subjects that everyone agrees on and food is definitely one of them!

There is a passion for food which is simple and fresh, and typically no sauces are used to disguise or enhance flavours. A lunchtime meal will begin with a plate of soup followed by the main course, which will include a meat or fishplate followed by a simple dessert and finished off with a coffee.

All regions of Portugal have their preferred dishes but as a general rule, the coastal towns will be more inclined to lighter meals especially grilled fish. As you go further into the interior there is a preference for meat, with black pork being considered a delicacy. There are traditional Portuguese dishes that are typical to the entire country, especially Bacalhau which is salted cod. It's often said that there are over 365 different recipes for preparing Bacalhau, one for each day of the year.

Laid-back lifestyle perfect for slow-living

Portugal offers all of the commodities of modern living, but it also maintains a very simple joy for life.

That small village feeling of belonging is still very common, and life in Portugal is made of simple pleasures. From enjoying delicious food to appreciating nature, every aspect of the Portuguese lifestyle was designed for slow-living.

Village life for Portuguese families gravitates to the local coffee shop and restaurant, simply referred to as “o café”, where villagers will meet to catch up on local gossip, read the newspaper and discuss football.

The “café” is an intrinsic part of Portuguese life, so much so that it is often said: “Where there are 5 or more houses you're guaranteed to find a café.” Cafés also double up as a restaurant, often a family business with mum or gran in the kitchen cooking real home-made meals and the rest of the family taking care of the front-of-shop.

Mild climate with plenty of sunshine and nature

Portugal is one of the sunniest places in the world, with more than 300 days of sunshine a year!

Here you'll find a great climate with mild temperatures all seasons. The southern region of Portugal is the warmest, but even the hottest summers are cooled by the Atlantic breeze. In the winter there are plenty of sun-filled days to keep you warm and cheerful. Portugal is also renowned for its spectacular coastline and beautiful beaches. Whether you prefer lying in the sun or practising water sports, there are lots to see and do.

Portugal is also a world leader when it comes to environmental issues. Around 70 per cent of the country’s energy comes from renewable sources and the Portuguese Government is committed to a more efficient, low carbon and environmentally-friendly economy.

Rich in Arts, Culture and Architecture

Portuguese art, culture and architecture are renowned worldwide for its beauty and authenticity. From traditional Fado music to beautiful monuments all across the country, Portugal offers a diverse variety of historical sites to visit. But there are also plenty of museums, festivals, concerts and international exhibitions all year round!

This amazing heritage is also present in beautiful castles, palaces and monumental medieval, gothic, and “manuelino” churches, some of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Although Portugal is a relatively small country, each region has its own identity, and even the language is different, with accents and words that are true to each place's tradition and history.

One of the World’s best Public Healthcare Systems

The Portuguese public National Healthcare Service is one of the best in the world.

The network of global health care institutions and services, known as the "Serviço Nacional de Saude" (SNS), is financed through taxes, through which the state safeguards the right for every resident to receive healthcare protection.

Portugal considers access to healthcare to be a constitutional right... and that makes all the difference.

Access to this network may be free of charge or require the payment of a small fee, depending on the patient’s age, health condition and nationality, among other factors.

There are also various options for private healthcare and a large variety of insurance plans are accepted.

Friendly people and a safe environment

Portugal is also one of the safest and friendliest countries in the world.

The Portuguese are a kind, friendly and peaceful nation that welcomes all nations, languages, and creeds with open arms. Portuguese also tend to be multilingual and some villages even offer free Portuguese language lessons.

It is custom for people to say “bom dia” when they walk into the café, regardless of knowing you. And do not be surprised to find a bag of lemons at your doorstep now and then!

Portugal also has a liberal approach regarding the rights of its citizens and is known for its support of the LGBT community, being one of the first countries to recognise same-sex marriages.

The Portuguese way of life is kind and generous and will win your heart time and time again!

A haven for families with a great public school system

More and more families from all over the world are moving to Portugal to enjoy the exceptional possibilities that the country offers.

Schools in Portugal are safe, the teachers and staff are attentive and all children are very well cared for, in and out of the classroom. Portuguese schools, the community and families work together to make sure each child has a happy, healthy and memorable childhood.

Public education in Portugal is universal and free from preschool to secondary school, but there are also lots of options for private schools offering international curricula. As for universities, tuition in a public university costs approximately 1000 euros per year.

Three international airports and wide-spread transport network

Portugal is also a favourite for those who love to travel!

Three international airports and daily flights to practically everywhere in the world make travelling, visiting friends and family, or receiving guests in your dream home in Portugal fast and simple!

The country also offers a wide-spread road system and plenty of options for public transport that are extremely affordable.

Mainland Portugal is only 561 km long, regardless of where you are, you can get to anywhere in just a few hours.

Coronavirus in Europe: Why has Portugal not been as badly hit by COVID-19 as neighbour Spain?

More preparation time and people obeying confinement measures has helped Portugal manage its coronavirus outbreak, it's been claimed.

Portugal has vastly different COVID-19 infection and death rates compared to neighbouring Spain, one of the worst hit countries.

Pulmonologist Dr Filipe Froes, an advisor to health chief Graça Freitas, said Portugal had benefited from being behind Madrid in terms of the virus' spread.

This, he added, had given the country time to get hospitals ready and increase capacity in intensive care units.

"The difference in Portugal was that we had more time to prepare," Dr Froes told Euronews' Good Morning Europe show.

"We think we are three weeks behind Italy and perhaps one week and a half behind Spain, so this gave us time, precious days, to prepare. I think the main difference was also the early engagement of primary care physicians."

Portugal declared a state of emergency on 18 March, just two days after the first COVID-19 death was reported.

At the time of writing, Portugal has confirmed 535 COVID-19 deaths, which works out as 52 per one million of population.

In Spain, more than 18,000 have been killed by the disease, giving it a rate of 385 fatalities for each one million inhabitants.

Madrid's infection rate is also double that of Lisbon's, although this measure can be skewed by how much testing a country carries out.

Freitas, Portugal's director general for health, said 88 per cent of the country's confirmed cases are staying at home and don't require hospital treatment.

"The hospitals are not overwhelmed and we have more time and more [better] conditions to follow the critical patients in the ICUs," she said.

"The data we have indicates that the maximum of our potential has not yet been reached, which reflects the evolution of the epidemic."

'Unsurpassed civic spirit'

A study from the Nova University of Lisbon indicates the reproduction of COVID-19 in Portugal was the lowest in Europe during the first 25 days of the epidemic.

Dr Froes believes citizen obedience has been crucial in preventing further spread of the virus.

"Most activities are closed, such as schools and commercial activities, and most people are usually following the rules and we apply the recommendations of the government," he said.

Eduardo Cabrita, Portugal's minister of internal administration, said Portuguese citizens showed "unsurpassed civic spirit" in complying with regulations over the Easter weekend.

"Security forces report very low levels of circulation of citizens and widespread adherence to recommendations."

On Friday, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa proposed extending the national lockdown beyond 17 April, until 1 May.

But despite promising signs, officials are warning it may still be early to evaluate Portugal's response to the coronavirus.

"The area of ​​housing in residential homes and their workers is identified as of particular concern and priority for action," said Cabrita.

Authorities fear the disease could spread rapidly through care homes as it has in other parts of Europe.

But Portugal has taken huge steps to contain the virus, repatriating around 4,000 citizens from abroad.

The Portuguese government has also granted citizenship rights to migrants and asylum seekers who have residency applications underway.

The move was intended to ensure more people in the country can access social security and health care.