Since the euro has fallen to a 16-month low against the dollar, trips to Europe are looking like a real bargain. And if you're looking for an off-the-beaten path delight, consider Portugal. There’s lots of buzz about it in the travel press these days, as its northern city of Guimarães-- often referred to as the "birthplace of the Portuguese nationality" or "the cradle city"-- will reign as European Capital of Culture 2012. Throughout the year, cultural and artistic events will be on stage in the historic city, its entire center a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The program will promote both Guimarães’s heritage and Europe’s cultural diversity, while showcasing music, cinema, photography, fine arts, architecture, literature, thought, theatre, dance, and street art. Most notably, the European Capital of Culture initiative will serve as a catalyst for regenerating the city and contributing to its urban, social and economic renewal. The program officially kicks of on January 21, 2012. For more information and the official calendar of events, see the official website www.guimaraes2012.pt.