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Easy Spring Breaks

WHAT TO DO Tour Álvaro Siza's National Contemporary Art Museum (351-2/615- 6500; www.serralves.pt), in the modern gardens of the Serralves Foundation. Visit the wine cellars of the port-producing suburb of Vila Nova de Gaia and taste their most prized vintages. Grab a plate of ovos moles (egg tarts) and watch the beautiful people at Cafeina (100 Rua do Padrão; 351-22/610-8059); in the after hours, hit the River Café (271 Rua do Ouro; 351-22/619-9680), a dance club in a minimalist warehouse.

THE MATH Doubles at the Porto Carlton Hotel (351-22/340-2300; www.pestana.com)—a 16th-century, 48-room property on the Douro River, in the heart of a medieval corner of Ribeira—start at $158. TAP Air Portugal (800/221-7370; www.tap-airportugal.us) has flights from Newark to Porto for $768.

COUNTY CORK, IRELAND From $215 a day per person. Pick up your rental car at Shannon Airport (near Limerick) and head southwest through the green hills of County Cork (known as the Rebel County), where you can wind along coastal country roads and sample the best pub food in Ireland.

WHAT TO DO Make the port city of Cork your base of operations for touring counties Cork and Kerry—easily done in three or four days. Head for Kinsale in west Cork, known for its star-shaped late-17th-century Charles Fort and exemplary cuisine. Try the oak-smoked salmon or the roast Irish duckling at the Blue Haven restaurant (353-21/477-2209; www.bluehavenkinsale.com). Follow the 110-mile Ring of Kerry road along the perimeter of the Iveragh Peninsula, which offers views of the mist-cloaked mountains, lakes, and rustic villages for which Ireland is famous.

THE MATH Opened in 1845, the classic 90-room Imperial Hotel (353-21/427-4040; www.flynnhotels.com/imperial) has played host to writers such as Sir Walter Scott, William Makepeace Thackeray, and Charles Dickens; standard doubles start at $100. Sceptre Ireland (800/221-0924; www.sceptreireland.com) creates four-day fly-drive à la carte packages that include airfare on Aer Lingus to Shannon and a rental car with unlimited mileage. It's $426 per person from Boston or New York or $516 from Chicago.


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