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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.
Founded as Portus Hannibalis by the Romans, Portimão is a port and one of the major resorts on the craggy Atlantic shores of Portugal's sunny Algarve. It boasts a bustling harbour overlooked by two castles and a pedestrian centre abounding in shops, bays and restaurants - while just two miles away is delightful Praia da Rocha, setting of a stunning beach, honey-hued cliffs and striking wind-and-sea-sculpted rock formations. Also from here you can visit Albufeira, the area's largest resort, the 12th century sandstone fortress at Silves, Fortaleza de Sagres and Cabo de Sao Vicente.
Cadiz is an old city with Andalusian character. The magnificent Baroque cathedral and impressive mansions were built with gold. Cadiz’s modern-day treasure lies 30 minutes to the north in the rolling hills of Jerez - where production of the liquid gold, as the famous sherry is often called, ensures a booming economy. Visit one of the bodegas for a tour and tasting. The Historic City Center of Old Cadiz is a pedestrian zone for a pleasant stroll. The monument to "Las Cortes" is the Spanish Parliament established in Plaza de España. The 18th-century golden-domed Cathedral of Santa Cruz looms over the whitewashed houses. The dazzling interior contains a magnificent collection of sculptures and art objects. The Museum of History features an outstanding model of Cadiz in ivory and mahogany that illustrates what the town looked like at the end of the 18th century. The small, colorful Flower Market offers much local flavor. The Moorish-style Alameda Apodaca Gardens serve as a reminder of the Moors’ occupation in past centuries.
Gibraltar is the famous promontory located at the western entrance of the Mediterranean, with Spain to the north and, across the Straits, Morocco to the south. The Straits are a channel connecting the Atlantic with the Mediterranean. Africa is clearly visible on a fine day. In ancient times, the Rock, as Gibraltar is popularly called, and its counterpart on the African side, Mount Abyla, were known as the Pillars of Hercules. Visitors enjoy historical sites, magnificent views and beautiful beaches. A favorite pastime is strolling along Main Street to browse and shop in the duty-free shops or stop in one of the pubs. Many visitors come to see Gibraltar's curiosity, the Barbary Apes. According to legend, the British will remain as long as the apes survive. Alemeda Botanical Gardens is where the British troops mustered for their parades. Trafalgar Cemetery was named for the casualties of the Battle of Trafalgar. On the fringe of the downtown area is the Cable Car Base Station where the car runs to the rock top.
Malaga is a popular holiday destination - known as the birthplace of Picasso and for sweet Malaga dessert wines from vineyards outside of town. Points of interest include impressive Gothic architecture, remains of a Moorish castle and interesting museums. Malaga is a popular starting point for trips to Granada and resorts along Costa del Sol. Splendid Granada and famed Alhambra are the region’s most outstanding attractions. Magnificent Moorish palaces and fortifications contrast sharply with Christian churches from Spain’s 1492 Reconquest era. Ronda's incredible location affording spectacular views over the valley and distant hills. Malaga Fine Arts Museum holds works by Spanish artists of the 16th to 20th centuries and by artists from Malaga, including Picasso. Marbella, which has been favored by the rich and famous, is a very popular holiday and yachting resort destination. One of the first resorts of the Costa del Sol, Torremolinos has luxury hotels, busy plazas and shopping streets, a lively art scene, a Wax Museum created by Madame Tussaud, and a glitzy casino.
Melilla, Spanish Morocco in Northern Africa is still governed by Spain. This fishing village thrives on harvesting anchovies and sardines.
Alicante is located on Spain’s Costa Blanca in the Levant Region, along the country’s southeastern coast and is a tourist resort and commercial port. The region is marked by lush mountain ranges. During the Gothic era of the fifteenth through sixteenth centuries centuries, art and architecture flourished in Alicante and the remainder of the Levant Region. Immense palaces and grandiose churches were built with elaborate baroque details. Visitors can see a third century BC fortress - the citadel of Santa Bárbara built by ruler Amilcar Barca, a Carthaginian, Arrabal Roig - the old quarter, the Baroque town hall (1701-60), the Church of Santa María (14th century), and the Renaissance church of San Nicolás de Bari (18th century).
Barcelona, the self-confident and progressive capital of Spain, is a tremendous place to be. Though it boasts outstanding Gothic and Art Nouveau buildings, and some great museums – most notably those dedicated to Picasso and Catalan art – it is above all a place where there's enjoyment simply in walking the streets, stopping in at bars and cafés, drinking in the atmosphere. A thriving port and the most prosperous commercial centre in Spain, it has a sophistication and cultural dynamism way ahead of the rest of the country. In part this reflects the city's proximity to France, whose influence is apparent in the elegant boulevards and imaginative cooking. But Barcelona has also evolved an individual and eclectic cultural identity, most perfectly and eccentrically expressed in the architecture of Antoni Gaudí. Scattered as Barcelona's main sights may be, the greatest concentration of interest is around the old town (La Ciutat Vella). These cramped streets above the harbor are easily manageable, and far more enjoyable, on foot. Start, as everyone else does, with the Ramblas.
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