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Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal, has become an increasingly popular place...

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Lisbon

Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal, has become an increasingly popular place to visit in recent years, with a warm Mediterranean climate in spite of its place facing the Atlantic Ocean. Full of bleached white limestone buildings and intimate alleyways, Lisbon's mix of traditional architecture and contemporary culture makes it the perfect place for a family holiday.

Things to do in Lisbon

As Portugal's capital, there is a lot to see and do in Lisbon. Even exploring the city centre will take a few days out of a family holiday as there is no real central district, although Praça do Comércio is a good central place to start, in Baxia, or Rossio, the city's main square which has a sort of Trafalgar Square feel to it. Or you might try climbing up the Cristo Rei, a huge statue of Christ with spectacular views across the whole city. The Castelo de São Jorge also offers great views and isn't quite such a steep climb. A short tram ride to the west of Lisbon will also bring you to Belem, where you can explore attractions like the Belem Tower and the Belem Cultural Centre, which features a fantastic art collection including works by Dali, Picasso, Warhol and Magritte. In downtown Lisbon, you'll also want to visit the Gulbenkian, which has to be Portugal's answer to the British Museum full of fascinating cultural artifacts and with some superb gardens in the grounds. It's possible to have a fascinating educational family holiday in Lisbon, and there are also plenty of great beaches to work on your tan.

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Funchal, the capital of the Madeira archipelago, was declared a city in the... more
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Funchal
Funchal, the capital of the Madeira archipelago, was declared a city in the 1500s, and became an important point between the old and new worlds. The laid-back city owes much of its historical prominence to the white gold, the Madeiran sugar. Today Funchal is known for its appealing temperatures, wine and crafts. Top spots to visit include the open Worker's Market, Blandy's Wine Lodge and the Sacred Art Museum. Friendly locals, walkable streets and cheap taxis make the city easy to get around.
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There are lots of beach types, and with 20 very different beaches to choose... more
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Albufeira
There are lots of beach types, and with 20 very different beaches to choose from, Albufeira delights them all. Hugging the coast in Portugal’s southern Algarve region, this prime vantage point showcases sparkling white houses with Moorish flair, breathtaking multi-hued cliffs, and old fortress remnants that ground modern amenities with a charming historical flair.
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The town that gave the country (and port wine) its very name, Porto is... more
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Porto
The town that gave the country (and port wine) its very name, Porto is Portugal’s second-largest metropolis after Lisbon. Sometimes called Oporto, it's an age-old city that has one foot firmly in the industrial present. The old town, centered at Ribeira, was built on the hills overlooking the Douro River, and today is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 14th-century São Francisco church is a main attraction, as are the local port wine cellars, mostly located across the river at Vila Nova de Gaia.
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Portimao is a sailor’s delight, thanks to its calm waters and beautiful... more
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Portimao
Portimao is a sailor’s delight, thanks to its calm waters and beautiful conditions. Plenty of elite international competitions happen here, but you don’t have to be a professional to set sail. Cruising the coast on the double-masted Santa Bernarda pirate ship is a family favorite. On dry land, you can wander the lovely Alvor boardwalk, enjoy a succulent seafood meal or zip around the go-kart track at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve.
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A coastal town just 20 miles west of Lisbon, Cascais was once a small fishing... more
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Cascais
A coastal town just 20 miles west of Lisbon, Cascais was once a small fishing village, but its idyllic scenery attracted the attention of artists, writers and expelled European nobility in the 20th century. Today, it still attracts high society, but all society comes in force to enjoy the gorgeous beaches and adventure options like sailing and surfing. The Conde de Castro Guimarães Museum, a former palace, is now open to the public and displays an impressive collection of art and artifacts.
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There is rich and beautiful history within Lagos’ 14th century walls, from its... more
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Lagos
There is rich and beautiful history within Lagos’ 14th century walls, from its fortress to picturesque churches like mediaeval São João Hermitage and the 17th-century São Sebastião. But that’s all appetiser. People come here for a main-course coastal buffet featuring more than a half-dozen beautiful beaches. Quiet sandy coves are sandwiched between dramatic cliffs. The sandy 2.5-mile stretch of Meia Praia caters to every water sport imaginable. And when you’ve had your fill, you can digest your day with some of the best nightlife in the Algarve region.
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Long the home of Portugal’s monarchs, Sintra is a magnificent town of marvelous... more
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Sintra
Long the home of Portugal’s monarchs, Sintra is a magnificent town of marvelous historic mansions, all set against the backdrop of lush hills. Sintra’s many castles include the Palácio Nacional de Sintra (a main abode of Portuguese royalty until the early 20th century), the hilltop and storybook Palácio da Pena, Quinta de Regaleira (incorporating several architectural styles and with gorgeous surrounding gardens), the Castelo dos Mouros (Moorish Castle), and the Palácio de Monserrate.
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A self-guided walking tour is the best way to appreciate the stunning... more
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Viana do Castelo
A self-guided walking tour is the best way to appreciate the stunning architecture of Viana do Castelo. The buildings date from several different centuries so styles vary: highlights include the early 20th-century Basilica of Santa Luzia; the 16th-century fountain and former city hall building at the Praça da República; the gothic Cathedral on the Largo da Matriz; and the Monument to Caramuru and Paraguaçu, built just a few years ago in 2009.
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