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Algarve

This corner of Portugal, set in the country's extreme south, is covered by lengthy beaches with Moorish fortifications scattered all over the place. Although recent development has taken away much of the area's charm, Algarve still has its unspoilt spots. Most of the historical sites are located in the inland areas, including the Roman remains at Estoi and several Moorish settlements which have gradually succumbed to decay. Sagres is a venue of particular interest, mostly owing to its vivid historical background. It was here that Henry the Navigator initiated a series of world explorations by sea. Vasco da Gama also sailed from the port of Sagres to embark upon his journeys. The region's capital, Faro, serves as an excellent transport hub, while Lagos, with its bustling fish market and stretch of sandy beaches, is a preferred choice for a more laid-back holiday. Silves, with its ancient castle and 13th-Century cathedral, provides an interesting contrast to Albufeira, the focus of the tourism culture.

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