OPORTO, Portugal — The government of Portugal is trying to convince Japanese tourists that provinces in the south of France are not the only destination for a relaxing vacation in Europe. Instead, it is pushing the Iberian countryside with its ecotourism opportunities and locally made brandy-laced wines.

The northern part of this country, where expressways have yet to be constructed, remains undeveloped and rich in nature. Vineyards stretch along the Douro River, which runs through the mountainous region on its way to the Atlantic, producing grapes that are turned into port — Oporto-made aperitifs that are 20 percent brandy.

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