Just an hour drive from buzzing Lisbon is a region brimming with hilltop stone villages, long stretches of sandy beaches, vast expanses of pine forests and agricultural fields and plenty of historical features. This is Portugal's Centro region that's home to one of the oldest schools of higher education in the world, the University of Coimbra. (It also may have been the inspiration for Hogworts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry, in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books.)
On my recent visit, I explored blooming gardens that are perfect for bird watchers, the ruins of a monastery that flooded for centuries and all the artifacts retrieved from that site and much more. My article for the Huffington Post provides insights on the treasures in this varied region.