The highest (and coldest) city in Portugal, Guarda lies on the main road to Madrid, Spain, about 105 mi/170 km east of Coimbra. The town is in a beautiful setting amid a boulder-strewn landscape. Its most striking monument is its Gothic cathedral.

Allow at least two hours just to stroll around, longer if you intend to visit the Guarda museum, housed within a 16th-century complex that includes the former Bishop's palace, or go inside one of the Baroque-style churches.

Local crafts include basket-weaving, goat bells and blankets, while produce centers around chestnuts, olive oil and delicious Serra da Estrela cheese.

Guarda's proximity to the Serra da Estrela natural park, and the Zezere and Mondego valleys means that hiking trails and outdoor adventure activities are easy to find.

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