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Along the Atlantic, the Beira Litoral lures surfers and sunseekers with scores of sandy beaches. Here, the sophisticated university city of Coimbra and the brash casino-party town of Figueira da Foz arm-wrestle for visitors’ attention. Move inland to the Beira Alta highlands and the mood shifts entirely. Stoic stone villages cling to the slopes of Portugal’s highest mountains – the Serra da Estrela – and cast their gaze down at the fertile wine country of the Dão valley.

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The earliest structures in the colony were built to the bare minimum of standards. Upon his appointment, Governor Lachlan Macquarie set ambitious targets for the architectural design of new construction projects. The city now has a world heritage listed building, several national heritage listed buildings, and dozens of Commonwealth heritage listed buildings as evidence of the survival of Macquarie's ideals.

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