Clinging to steep hillsides above the confluence of the Rios Corgo and Cabril, the university town of Vila Real in Trás-os-Montes is short on charm, although its historic centre, dotted with picturesque old churches, is pleasant enough. Its key attractions lie just beyond the city limits: the dramatically rugged highlands of the Parque Natural do Alvão; and the resplendent Casa de Mateus, one of Europe’s most elegant country houses, surrounded by lovely vineyard country east of town.
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