The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - Travel



Trams and treats Lisbon

The Portuguese capital is undoubtedl­y one of Europe’s top city-break destinatio­ns, thanks to its vibrant sea-front squares, Unesco landmarks and thriving food scene. Come to tour museums filled with glittering royal coaches, ride yellow trams to hilltop viewpoints or bar crawl through the buzzy Bairro Alto. Be sure to follow the Tagus estuary west, out to Belem, to try its famous pasteis de nata (custard tarts), before climbing the medieval Belem Tower and marvelling at Jeronimos Monastery’s gothic and renaissanc­e architectu­re. Stay on Lisbon’s grandest boulevard, Avenida da Liberdade, at the Valverde Hotel.

Double rooms at the Valverde Hotel (00 351 210 940 300; valverdeho­ start at £343 per night

A step back in time Guimaraes

The northern city of Guimaraes is a honeypot of history, as evidenced by its motto: Portugal Nasceu Aqui, Portugal was born here. The country’s medieval capital was home to Portugal’s first king, Dom Afonso Henriques, and is now listed as a Unesco World Heritage site for its historic architectu­re, which includes the Dukes of Braganca Palace, romanesque churches and mansions built by nobles. Don’t miss a tour of the city’s centuries-old granite castle. Double rooms at the Pousada Mosteiro de Guimaraes (00 351 210 158100; start at £122 per night

Tiles and tipples Porto

Compact Porto is the perfect size for a city break. Start on the colourful Ribeira, where cafés spill onto the pavements overlookin­g the Douro, sightseein­g boats sail languidly beneath the steel arch of the Dom Luis I Bridge and the sound of buskers’ guitars mingle with gull caws. Across the water, you’ll find port-tasting rooms and the hilltop Jardim do Morro, which draws sunsetseek­ing crowds. Wander the city’s steep streets to discover tiled churches, climb the dizzying Clerigos Tower and visit Livraria Lello, often hailed as the world’s most beautiful bookshop. Iberian Escapes (0808 189 0647; offers a six-night Porto Art and Architectu­re tour from £715pp, including accommodat­ion, transfers, tours, tastings and breakfasts. Flights not included

An edifying escape Coimbra

This much-overlooked, pocket-sized hilltop city is famed for its 13th-century university, of which the Biblioteca Joanina is the highlight. Stay at Hastens Sleep Spa, whose decor is inspired by the library, each room decorated with 1,200 hand-carved marble book spines. Dine at street-side eateries in the shadow of cathedrals and convents, accompanie­d by a distinct version of fado music, sung solely by guitar-strumming men. Double rooms at the Hastens Sleep Spa (00 351 239 246960; cbrboutiqu­ehotel. com) start at £429 per night

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Watch the sun set over Porto from the Jardim do Morro
An education: the 13th-century University of Coimbra Watch the sun set over Porto from the Jardim do Morro

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