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Location: Lisbon

Situated on the north bank of the Tagus River, Lisbon is the only European capital on the Atlantic, which supplies a bounty of fresh seafood to restaurants dishing out menu items varying from fresh and simple to Michelin-starred marvels.

With roots pre-dating Rome, Portugal's largest city is one of Europe's oldest, and home to two UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Belém Tower and the Jerónimos Monastery. The latter is the birthplace of the country's famous custard tart, pastel de nata.

Lisbon's rich history and temperate Mediterranean climate are a major draw for its 600,000 inhabitants, who live within loosely defined bairros (neighborhoods) totaling just 33 square miles.

Despite an invasion by Napoléon Bonaparte in the 19th century, three revolutions in the 20th, and a devastating fire in 1988, Baixa Pombalina, the historic city center, is still dominated by elegant Pombaline- style buildings erected after an earthquake leveled much of the city in 1755. The luxury shopping district is Chiado, which includes the mile-long Avenida da Liberdade, where historical villas mix with boutiques.

Eating is a perennial favorite pastime, while music festivals dominate the warmer months. (This summer's lineup includes Rock in Rio and Optimus Alive.) Besides a rich past, all-star cuisine, and high profile events, here are more reasons to love the city:

SAPATARIA DO CARMO
Red sofas and the smell of leather entice shoppers into this snug shoe store, which opened in 1904. Three generations later, the shoes are still handcrafted from high-quality materials.

A VIDA PORTUGUESA
Egg-and-sugar candies in elegant packaging are among the traditional Portuguese specialties available at this Chiado shop.

PASTÉIS DE BELÉM
The best place for pastel de nata is the source. Just behind the 500-year-old Jerónimos Monastery is the bakery considered the birthplace of the country's famous pastry.

MUDE
Renovation at MUDE, the Museu do Design e da Moda, is a long-term work in progress. Yet the stripped walls add to the backdrop for the museum's collection of furniture and fashion.

PRAIA PIQUINIA
Capturing the beauty of this resort town is a pastime of photographer Christian Chaize, and his dreamy images are the perfect memento.

MEMMO ALFAMA
The narrow cobblestoned street may be hard to find, but newcomer Memmo Alfama (opened in 2013) delivers a boutique design hotel experience from an exclusive riverfront spot in the city's historic center. Local firm Samuel Torres de Carvalho Arquitectos carved out the 42 rooms in the late-19th-century building, adding a rooftop bar and preserving the facade.

BELCANTO
Twice-roasted leg of lamb, suckling pig with oranges, and a wine list more than 350 selections long: those are just three reasons why Michelin-starred Belcanto in Chiado is the hottest restau- rant reservation in town. At the helm since 2012, chef José Avillez lists stints with Ferran Adrià and Alain Ducasse on his résumé.

LARGO
Beneath vaulted ceilings in three large glass tanks mounted in a 30-foot-long wall, dozens of glowing jelly fish roam at Largo, designed by Miguel Cancio Martins. Cod with wild mint bread dumplings and pear and gorgonzola risotto are among the menu items, prepared by chef Miguel Castro e Silva.

FOUR SEASONS HOTEL RITZ LISBON
Art Deco and Louis XVI-style furnishings and the city's largest privately owned Portuguese contemporary art collection add pump to this 10-story hilltop hotel, opened in 1959 and managed by Four Seasons since 1998.

GULBENKIAN MUSEUM
Totaling more than 6,000 pieces, the eclectic collection of oil magnet Calouste Gulbenkian (1869–1955) spans centuries, countries, and disciplines. Works by Rembrandt, Manet, and Degas are among the items on view.

EMBAIXADA
Carved out of the Palacete Ribeiro da Cunha, a 19th-century Arabian palace included in a massive redevelopment of the Príncipe Real district, this 27,000-square-foot luxury shopping destination opened in 2013. In addition to retailers touting high- quality local wares, Embaixada houses cultural events and art exhibitions.

 

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