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Setúbal is a sizeable city just 40km south of Lisbon. It is situated on the Sado river estuary and is awash with history dating back to Roman times. With its protected natural harbour it was once a major port for the sardine and fishing industry. With the decline of this trade, Setúbal is now successfully promoting itself as a delightful holiday destination with beautiful beaches, unspoilt natural surroundings, the Arrabida Natural Park and its colony of appealing dophins!
The lovely city of Viana do Castelo is blessed with a beautiful setting on the bank of the Lima River, on North Portugal’s scenic coastline. A historic naval seaport, it remains the only surviving shipyard in Portugal. In the past the voyages of discovery which sailed from Viana do Castelo brought prosperity to the city which can now be seen in the opulent mansions of the old town center.
Porto, or Oporto as is also known, is Portugal’s second largest city and one of Europe’s most charismatic destinations. It is considered the “capital of the north” but has very little in common with Lisbon, the country’s true capital. Originally known as Portus Cale as two seperate settlements, it has given its name to the whole country and also to the internationally renowned port wine which is produced in this region and exported from the city’s port. Porto is situated on the steep northern bank of the Rio (River) Douro, where it spills into the Atlantic Ocean, and the expanding city has spread over time to the north and west.
The delightful beach resort town of Vila do Conde is on the estuary of the Ave River, just 27km north of Porto. It has several excellent beaches as well as a harbor and was the ship-building center during Portugal’s Golden Age of Discovery in the 15th and 16th centuries. It is dominated by the huge edifice of the Santa Clara Monastery which is situated on the hillside above the river.