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Legend states that Ulysses founded Lisbon, calling it Olisipo. Others claim that the name is Phoenician, but all agree it’s one of Europe’s most fascinating destinations. On All Saints’ Day in 1755 a devastating earthquake destroyed much of the city. The Baixa (Lower City) was rebuilt on neo-classical lines that still form the heart of the city. The elegant ‘City of Explorers’overlooks the River Tagus, and offers a number of distinctive neighborhoods to discover. Tour the Alfama, where the winding streets still retain much of their Moorish atmosphere. Stroll to Bairro Alto and hear the melodious sounds of Portugal’s Fado music. Nearby excursions transport you to the lavish 18th-century palace of Queluz and Sintra’s Royal Palace.
Madeira is described as the “Island of Eternal Spring.” Entirely volcanic in origin, the soil combines with the mild climate to produce an abundance of green as well as multicolored vegetation. The rugged landscape, scenic fishing villages, magnificent vistas and ideal climate bring the island fame as a year-round resort. Before leaving this panoramic Atlantic isle, be sure to sample a glass of the famous Madeira wine.
Discover gorgeous Santa Cruz de La Palma with its colorful buildings, 18th Century mansions, and wrought-iron balconies draped with lush bougainvillea, dramatic volcanic mountains, and fertile green valleys set amid a pristine turquoise sea. Explore the star-shaped 17th Century Castillo de Santa Catarina fortress. Then visit the Moorish influenced Iglesia de El Salvador to admire the luminous stained-glass windows. Stroll along O’Daly Street browsing through lovely boutiques, antique and artisan shops. Enjoy a glass of fine Canary Island wine in a jewel-like setting.
Tenerife’s privileged setting allows you to enjoy beautiful beaches such as las Teresitas; admire the enchanting Orchid Gardens, founded in 1774 as a historic English garden, or visit the Teide National Park, the symbol of the island.
Discover exotic Arrecife with its modern, yet relaxed attitude rising pristine and white against a barren volcanic landscape along a turquoise bay. Visit Timanfaya National Park and marvel at the twisted lava formations and caves. Explore El Charco de San Gines, a salt-water lagoon filled with colorful fishing boats, surrounded by the white and blue homes of the fishermen. Visit the International Museum of Modern Art housed in the Castle of San Jose, and the Archaeological Museum in the Castle San Gabriel. Meander along Calle Leon y Castilla for exceptional souvenirs and shopping. Look for hand embroidered linens, African carvings, the local Guanches pottery, duty-free perfume and liquor. Enjoy tapas and a fine glass of wine at one of the seaside cafés in a land of sunshine and siestas.
Located along North Africa’s Atlantic coastline in the shadow of the Atlas Mountains, Agadir was rebuilt after the earthquake of 1961 demolished most of the historic Portuguese, Arab and French colonial structures. Modern Agadir is a posh, upscale resort offering delicious sun-drenched days and activities from tennis, horseback riding and golf to stretching out on a golden sand beach. Visitors looking for a memento can bargain in the colorful souks. Dining options range from traditional Moroccan dishes to French and International cuisine. Excursions can take you to ageless Berber villages, or you can indulge the senses in the scenic Souss Valley and the High Atlas.
Casablanca is Morocco’s largest city and industrial center. Its renaissance came with the French protectorate under its first resident general, Lyautey. It was largely his ideas on public works and the layout of the new city which gave Casablanca its wide boulevards, public parks and fountains, and imposing Mauresque civic buildings. ToView the Hassan II Mosque, among the largest and most beautiful mosques in the world.
Cádiz, Andalusia’s world-renowned capital, has undergone major restoration in recent years. Palm trees, gracious squares, flower-filled parks, ubiquitous red-tile roofed buildings, and bustling street markets make this a most delightful port. The old town, on the tip of the peninsula, is buzzing with beautiful, lively plazas. To get there, you pass through the new town, an elegant metropolis with excellent beaches. Cádiz is also a good starting point for a day trip to nearby Seville, where you can visit the Alcazar, a beautiful medieval Islamic palace showcasing a unique fusion of Christian and Moorish architecture surrounded by lovely gardens; majestic Seville Cathedral (Catedral de Sevilla); and Giralda Tower, offering excellent photo opportunities.
One of Europe’s most visually stunning cities, Barcelona balances the medieval intimacy of its Gothic Quarter with the grace and distinction of the wide boulevards in the Moderniste Eixample. It was the home of architect Antoni Gaudí, whose Sagrada Familia Cathedral, Park Güell and Casa Milà are the most profound statements of Modernisme. View the splendid works at the Picasso Museum and the Miro Foundation, or discover Barcelona’s passionate ambiance at a flamenco show.
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