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With its central canal running through the town and surrounded by lagoons, salt flats and beaches, Portugal’s Aveiro is almost as water-based as the city of Venice. Situated 80km north of Figueiro da Foz, Aveiro is a populous city and port with its tall landmark lighthouse on the coast of central Portugal. With many waterfront buildings, boats and canals, it is a charming city to visit and makes an ideal base for exploring the area.
Located in the far northeast of the country, Braganca (Bragança) is the capital of the province of Trás-os-Montes, an isolated province in the mountains. The town lies on the Sabor River, just 22km from the border with Spain. Bragança has two parishes; the Sé with its cathedral and the Santa Maria. Due to its elevation of 700 meters and its distance from the sea, its wild and beautiful landscape has much colder winters than the rest of Portugal and short but hot summers.
Located 54km northeast of Porto, Braga is without doubt one of the most beautiful towns in Portugal. It has many impressive Baroque monuments and one of the best known churches in the country, the Bom Jesus Sanctuary.
The Serra do Buçaco (pronounced Bussaco) is a forested mountain range on the frontiers of Portugal overlooking the Serra da Estrela, the Mondego Valley and the Atlantic Ocean. The town of Buçaco sits amidst the 700 species of cypress, plane, cork and evergreen oak trees which over the centuries have reached a huge size. Surprisingly, these trees are not native species but were brought back by early explorers from Africa and the New World and include exotic species such as Himalayan pines and Mexican cedars. The area was once a monastic retreat and the trees have survived so well because they were protected by the Pope.
Chaves is situated in the extreme north of Portugal, just a stone’s throw from the Spanish border. Located in the mountains, it is on the upper reaches of the Tamega River which in a roundabout way contributed to the town’s fame. Chaves was founded by the Romans as a Frontier Spa Town and this eventually led to the building of the impressive Roman bridge which is still in use today. This massive twelve span bridge was a remarkable feat of engineering for the first century.