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If you're planning a western European vacation and want to add a unique destination, consider a stop in Portugal. With beautiful beaches, delicious cuisine, and citizens who welcome tourists with open arms, it's little wonder that Portugal is rapidly becoming a popular vacation destination. Located on the Iberian peninsula right next to Spain, Portugal is easy to access for American or European travelers and has a reputation for being a family-friendly destination. However, it still feels exotic and exciting thanks to miles of sun-kissed coasts, cobblestone streets, and fairytale castles.

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1. Lisbon

Lisbon, Portugal's capital, is one of the most popular destinations in the country thanks to a beautiful location right on the water, sunny climate, and a charming combination of old and new attractions that provides an excellent introduction to Portugal's culture. Cobblestoned streets and colorful tile abound in the oldest part of the city, the Alfama, but not far away in the Bairro Alto, there's no shortage of modern restaurants and exciting nightlife. Enjoy the best views of the city at São Jorge Castle, a Moorish stronghold dating from the 8th century, and don't miss the Gulbenkian Museum, which features an expansive art collection that has pieces from both ancient cultures like the Egyptian dynasties and contemporary Art Nouveau works.

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