Portugal is a fascinating country situated on the western edge of the Iberian peninsula. Despite its small land area, it has many landforms and climates between the Atlantic coast and the mountains. Portugal has plenty of prehistoric sites, as well as remnants from the Roman Empire, and the Age of Exploration, when Portuguese explorers found the Cape Route around Africa, and completed the world's first circumnavigation. While Portugal is modern and developed, it maintains much traditional culture with handicrafts, cuisine, music, and dance. Portugal is home to 17 WV-Unesco-icon-small.svg UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The people of Portugal today have a heritage drawn from many parts of the globe. The oldest known Iberian peoples left markings and cave paintings more than 50,000 years ago. Today, Portugal, although sharing close ties with the Spanish people, has a distinct cultural and linguistic heritage. These days, being a modern country with heavy links to its past and people of a friendly and hospitable nature, it has become an acclaimed international tourist and vacation destination due to the many beautiful beaches and long warm summers, a rich gastronomy, historical and cultural heritage, as well as the fabulous golf courses, surfing the giant waves at Nazaré and religious pilgrimage to Fátima all being highly popular with visitors. Surprisingly, in winter several ski resorts are open for business in the Serra da Estrela region.