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Lisbon, Portugal

Considered the triad in the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal, with its unique language, melds many cultures into its own special roux. Although occupied by the Phoenicians, Greeks, and Carthaginians, the Romans were the first to lay the foundation of the capital city of Lisbon. From the 8th-11th century, the Moors ruled the city. They left an indelible presence on it. It can be seen in the extensive tiled walls of the buildings, the detailed metal and woodwork finishes and the winding streets of the old town. North of Lisbon is the Duoro River with the famous city of Oporto, known for producing fine ports wines with the grapes from the local countryside. Cruises vessels sail the Duoro and offer travelers evocative vistas, fine wine, and good cuisine. The eastern region of Portugal has a Spanish influence and it is here that one can reach the Roman site of Merida (in Spain). Merida was the largest Roman city in Iberia and is home to the finest Roman remains both in situ and in its fine archaeological museum. To the south is the Algarve Coast, a seaside resort.