Physical Geography of Portugal


a) Know the summary geological evolution of the Iberian Peninsula, Continental Portugal and Islands;
b) Characterise mopho-structural units, their genesis, evolution and individuality;
c) Understand the climatic characteristics of the country, atmospheric general circulation, weather and specificities;
d) Identify natural resources and physical restraints of the country’s regions;
e) Distinguish the morpho-structural units and the morpho-climatic mosaic of the country, through interpretation and analysis of thematic mapping (photos, bloc diagrams, satellite images));
f) Distinguish landform types and slope dynamics in the various units through the analysis and interpretation of their physical elements interaction;
g) Analyse the integration and interaction of physical elements in the landscape through the completion of a research work – case study.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Pedro João Cruz Cortesão Casimiro


Weekly - 4

Total - 168

Teaching language



Not Applicable.


MEDEIROS, Carlos Alberto (direcção), Geografia de Portugal, Vol 1 - O Ambiente Físico, Círculo de Leitores, Lisboa, 2005, 495p.
MEDEIROS, Carlos Alberto, Geografia de Portugal – Ambiente Natural e Ocupação Humana, Uma Introdução, 5ªed., Editorial Estampa, Lisboa, 2000, 282 p.
RIBEIRO, Orlando, Portugal o Mediterrâneo e o Atlântico, Colecção «Nova Universidade», 4ª ed., Sá da Costa, 1986, Lisboa, 190 p.
RIBEIRO, Orlando; Lautensach, Herman; Daveau, Suzanne, Geografia de Portugal, vol. I - A posição geográfica e o território, 1987, 334 p.; vol. II - O ritmo climático e a paisagem, 1988, pp. 335-623, Lisboa, Ed. João Sá da Costa.

Teaching method

In class teaching:
Theory expositive classes, where the program topics are presented, and debated with the students.
Practical classes to prepare and support the research work (Physical Geography of a territorial unit)


Evaluation method

Evaluation Method - Attendance(5%), Exam(60%), Research essay(35%)

Subject matter

The analysis of the physical characteristics of Portugal, Continent and Islands, is the main objective of this curricular unit. On a first phase the goal is to discuss the position of the country, in relation to the Iberian Peninsula, Europe and the Mediterranean Region, having as common denominator the evolution and dynamics of the natural conditions. The climatic and geomorphological diversity will be related to water resources, land cover and land use, as well as the problems and situations inherent to the use of other natural resources. Policies related to the environment will also be approached.

1.Iberian Peninsula
Summary scheme of geological evolution
Fundamental units
Geological evolution

1.Climate factors and atmospheric dynamics
2.Weather types, rhythm and variability
3.Climatic and hydrological extreme situations
4.Regional climatic diversity
5.Water resources, soils and natural vegetation


Programs where the course is taught: