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14. TWO REINVIGORATED REGIONS
Portugal's charms extend far beyond Lisbon, its cosmopolitan capital. And now's the time to take it all in, with many areas beefing up their tourism profiles. Here, two to check out.
Tracing the country's southwestern Atlantic coast, this region brings to mind Greece with its fishing villages, historic sites (Moorish castles and Roman ruins), and golden beaches fronting rocky cliffs.
Stay: In Quinta do Lago, the just-opened Conrad Algarve delivers a mod take on an 18th-century palace. The hotel makes its mark with 154 stylish rooms dressed up in shades of white, cream, tan, and taupe, plus a restaurant helmed by three-Michelin-starred-chef Heinz Beck. From $305; 800-266-7237; conradalgarve.com
Do: The Algarve offers plenty of places for fun, but to go off the beaten track, head to the Costa Vicentina Natural Park, a 185,000-plus-acre protected area with unspoiled beaches and a wealth of flora and fauna.
THE DOURO RIVER VALLEY
Epicureans have long been clued into the charms of this verdant, vineyard-filled region, which meanders across Portugal's northern end from the Spanish border toward the Atlantic. Now, new hotels and experiences up the area's travel profile even more.
Stay: The valley has a host of new country estates-turned-high-design hotels. One of our favorites: Quinta do Vallado, a winery dating back to the 18th century owned by sixth-generation port and winemaker João Ferreira Álvares Ribeiro. The quinta already had a small five-room guesthouse in the restored family home, but to accommodate increased demand, Ribeiro has expanded the offerings by building a sleek concrete and slate property. From $144; 011-351-254-318-081; quintadovallado.com
Or explore the entire region aboard one of the new river cruises along the Douro. Uniworld's Queen Isabel accommodates 118 guests with most suites and staterooms featuring balconies to take in the beautiful river views. 800-733-7820; uniworld.com
Do: Sample some of the Douro River Valley's best port wines at the Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo, located on a historic estate. 011-351-254-730-430; quintanova.com
In Porto, the Valley's gateway, tap into the region's gastronomic prowess at Clérigos, the new restaurant from Portuguese celebrity chef Pedro Lemos. Try the tuna loin and belly served with tomato, ginger, and the root vegetable salsify. 011-351-220-115-986; pedrolemos.net