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Lisbon, the Portuguese capital, has an immediately likable atmosphere and a rich cultural background. To the west lie the stylish coastal resorts of Estoril and Cascais.

Insider Tip

Take a stroll around Chiado, the trendiest area of Lisbon. While away the sunny days in the many cafes, galleries and bookshops, or wander around and admire the stunning examples of 18th Century architecture.

Located at the mouth of the Rio Tejo (River Tegus), Lisbon has a rich gastronomy influenced both by the sea and its imperial history. In the streets you'll smell smoky, roasting chestnuts and freshly-baked custard tarts, and in the restaurants they'll serve up fresh sardines and cozido (a tasty meat stew).

Wash your meal down with the young vinho verde wine or the fiery after dinner ginginha. Or try a glass of port sipped with some of the wonderfully strong goat and sheep cheeses which are usually eaten before or after the main dish.

Lisbon has an alluring profusion of boutiques, markets, regular street shops and large shopping centres. Along the Rua Augusta in Baixi-Chiado district there is a mix of international chain stores as well as small, traditional shops selling leather goods, jewellry and handicrafts. For funky boutiques and off-beat fashions, and if antiques are your passion, pay a visit to Bairro Alto. Other souvenirs available from this area include wicker baskets, embroidery, lace, leather and pottery. Portuguese wine and port also make lovely gifts.