The discovery of the Costa de Prata

A personal story

When we drove back to The Netherlands after our holidays in the Algarve in 2001, we were absolutely sure. We were not going to live in the Algarve, nor were we going to buy a house south of Lisbon.

We did not really like the landscape. Of course, the sea is marvellous, always and everywhere, but the countryside consists of huge plains, dry oliveyards and extensive pine forests. Beautiful, but not for us.

So we drove home and perhaps we might still have lived in Holland, but for the fact that some hundred kilometers north of Lisbon, we drove through a beautiful, green landscape.

Hilly, grassy, forests interspersed with orchards. In the distance the blue-grey mountains of the Serra dos Candeeiros. But I was not really interested in them at the time...

A cup of tea

The landscape awakened something inside of me. So I said to Loek (my husband): ‘If there is a nice town in the neighbourhood with a nice terrace, where I can drink a cup of tea on a Fridaymorning, then I would like to look around here. That’s why we drove into Caldas da Rainha and in the middle of the town we found ourselves in a beautiful park from the 17th century. Parque Dom Carlos I. And yes, there is a terrace.

What in heaven's name can you do within one week?

Caldas da Rainha is situated in the Costa de Prata, something I realised much later. The region we chose to live in has many more things than we realised in the beginning. Maybe you have to live here to know this. There is so much to see, to experience and to enjoy here, that we secretly laugh when people rent one of our apartments for one week. I always have the tendency to cry out: 'What can you do in one week, for heaven’s sake!' But of course I don’t do that, instead I bombard people with tips and ideas (if they want to listen to me of course.)

Yes, I dare maintain that, even when it rains, The Costa de Prata is beautiful and if you want to there is a lot to see and to experience. One of the highlights is the old monastery in Alcobaça: Mosteiro de Santa Maria. It is true, the Abbey is described in all the tourist-guides, but there is so much more to discover in the Abbey and in the Costa de Prata.

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