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9-Nights Country Roads of Portugal end Porto (2019)
9 nights from $2899 per person
Portugal’s capital is an 18th-century city - elegant, open to the sea and carefully planned. Most places of interest are within easy walking distance. Rossio Square, the heart of Lisbon since medieval times, is an ideal place to start exploring. Many rebuilt houses with original façades provide stores and restaurants with modern interiors. High above Baixa is Bairro Alto - with its teeming nightlife. There are many monuments and museums, such as San Jeronimos Monastery, Royal Coach Museum and Gulbenkian Museum. Two well-known landmarks are the Monument to the Discoveries and the Tower of Belem. A statue of Christ looms above Europe’s longest suspension bridge. Madragoa, Bica and Bairro Alto, Lisbon’s older sections, offer a variety of sights: the Church of Sao Roque, with its beautiful tiles; St. George Castle, which offers a splendid view from its location above the Alfama quarter; the botanical gardens, featuring an unusual, cold greenhouse; and the cathedral, stunning with its Moorish design. Renowned Gulbenkian Museum is the cultural center of Portugal.
Porto, Portugal's second largest city, is full of interest, and the district it heads offers the visitor plenty to see. Along the coast, there are resorts like the cosmopolitan beach of Espinho, busy ports like Matosinhos, with splendid seafood, or traditional fishing towns like Póvoa de Varzim, and there is also an animated casino. Charming Amarante has 17th century mansions overlooking the river and is famous for a sweet egg pastries called "papos de anjo" (angel bellies). In Vila Nova de Gaia, there are lodges where Port wine is blended and aged and where tasting are offered, or visitors may take a river cruise along the Douro. The whole district is filled with prosperous towns, but there are also many calm roads with wonderful views over the river and a rugged and still unspoilt coastline.
Evora is considered a seat of learning with its University founded in 16th Century by Cardinal Dom Henrique. Within the surrounding wall the most prominent feature is the 2nd or 3rd Century ruins of a Roman Temple dedicated to Goddess Diana. Another attractive feature is the 15th Century Convento dos Lóios. The city’s 13th century cathedral took 50 years to build and is reminiscent of a fortress. The main square with its 16th Century fountain has a sad history. Among other events, Dom João II witnessed the beheading by his orders of his brother-in-law. Equally unpleasant were the sights caused by the Inquisition in this public place. A macabre reminder is the Capela dos Ossos in the 15th Century Igreja de São Francisco - where the bones of 5,000 monks lie. There are several museums - the Museu de Arte Sacra, Galeria de Arte Casa Cadaval, the Museu de Artes Decorativas Religiosas and the Museu de Évora. The museum, formerly the palace of the Bishop, built with many worked stones from previous buildings in the city, has some outstanding religious items.
Gorgeous beaches, warm water, and glorious sunshine year-round, Algarve Coast is the dream holiday. Traces of Moorish presence are still seen in its unique terraces, chimneys and whitewashed houses. This charming region has idyllic temperatures, which are ideal for playing sports. The region has fig trees, orange groves, almond trees, long stretches of fabulous sandy beaches, extraordinary red cliffs, and fantastic grottoes. Attractions in the Algarve Coast include: cathedrals, chapels, and churches; museums; medieval monuments and ruins; modern monuments; flat-roofed houses; and Prince Henry's navigation school. Places of interest include: Lagos, Faro, Monchique, Olhão, Portimão, Sagres, Silves, and Tavira.
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The Douro Valley in Portugal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site devoted to vineyards. Port wine production and beautiful scenery sculpted by the Douro River are highlights of the region. Enjoy the local cuisine, bike, canoe or cruise along the Douro, and drink in the unforgettable beauty of the area that has inspired many poets, writers, chefs and painters.
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