Portugal has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 49 times since its debut in the 1964 contest. Since then it has missed five contests, in 1970, 2000, 2002, 2013 and 2016. Portugal held the record for the most appearances in the contest without a win until 2017 when they won in Kiev, Ukraine, with Salvador Sobral's entry, "Amar pelos dois". The contest is broadcast in Portugal by Rádio e Televisão de Portugal (RTP).
Portugal's debut entry was António Calvário with "Oração". It was not a successful debut for the country, with Calvário coming last in the contest. Since then, Portugal has come last on two further occasions, in 1974, when Paulo de Carvalho sang "E depois do adeus", and in 1997, when Célia Lawson performed "Antes do adeus". Despite its last-place finish in the contest, "E depois do adeus" had at that time gained national notability for being one of the two musical signals to begin the Carnation Revolution against the Estado Novo regime. Prior to their sixth-place finish for Lúcia Moniz, with the song "O meu coração não tem cor" in 1996, Portugal's best result in the contest was two seventh-place finishes, for Carlos Mendes in 1972 and José Cid in 1980. Despite having some really weak results, the 90s were the most successful decade for the country, reaching the top 10 four times. Portugal had admission to take part in the 2000 and 2002 contest but refused. Its place was taken by Latvia both times, which ended up winning the contest in the latter year.
Since semi-finals were introduced in 2004, Portugal has failed to reach the final eight times, including from 2004 to 2007. In 2008, Vânia Fernandes finished 13th with the song "Senhora do Mar," Portugal's best outcome since 1996. The country continued to be present in the final until 2010. In 2017, Portugal reached the finals with Salvador Sobral's entry, "Amar pelos dois", ending a 6-year non-appearance in the finals (Portugal did not participate in the song contest in 2013 and 2016; and did not qualify for the finals in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015). To conclude a return to the final, they also won the contest for the first time ever, earning 758 points.