Lovely towns

One of Portugal's major seaside resorts

Figueira da Foz is a lively and cosmopolitan seaside resort at the mouth of the Mondego River, it’s main asset is its wide and extensive sandy beach.

The beach is many kilometers long, and hundreds of meters wide. It stretches from the mouth of the Mondego to the fishing village Buarcos. Next to Buarcos is the Cabo Mondego, a limestone rock with lighthouse, quarries and browncoal mines.

Northwest of Cabo Mondego is the Serra da Boa Viagem. From the highest point, the Alto da Bandeira (258 meters) you have a fantastic view.

Every year, in the night 23 to 24 June, there is street party in the honor of São João, with parades, fireworks and folk dances.

In the Bairro Novo (new district) there are many hotels, restaurants, discos and a casino. Every year in September there is a film festival in Bairro Novo.

Some of the attractions in Figueira da Foz:
Igreja do Antigo Convento de Santo António (church of the old Santo António convent)
Capela de Santa Catarina (saint Catarina chapel)
Museu Municipal Santos Rocha (municipal museum Santos Rocha). On exhibition are findings from the stone age and the roman period, colonial art, ceramics, carpets, and contemporary art
Igreja Matriz de São Julião (mother church of São Julião)
Mercado Municipal Engenheiro Silva (municipal market halls)

Funicular takes you up

A funicular takes you from downtown Nazaré up to Sítio, the higher part of Nazaré. On the large square next to the church of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré, young and old get together, souvenirs are sold to tourists, and you can enjoy the view of the village and the beach of Nazaré 110 meters below. In the church there are many azulejos panels, including a Dutch one from the 18th century.

The Igreja (church) da Nossa Senhora da Nazaré (originally from the 12th century, rebuilt in the 17th century) is tiled with lots of beautiful azulejos, but more important is the black Madonna statue. Twice a year, this statue is the destination of pilgrims: on 15 August 15, Assumption Day; and in the 2nd week of September, the Romaria da Senhora da Nazaré.

Opposite the church is a small chapel, the Capela da Memória, alsmost completely covered with azulejos. The chapel was built in memory of the wonder of a nobleman in the 12th century: during a hunt he and his horse were about to fall over the edge which he couldn't see because of very thick mist, when the Holy Virgin appeared at the edge of the abyss. That's when the nobleman saw the abyss just in time and he could turn around and safe his life.

On the westside of the main square, you can descend to the lighthouse (farol). Here the waves of the ocean crash high on the steep cliff.

In Sítio there are several bars, restaurants and terraces for a drink or a meal.

 

One of the larges pilgrimage places in the world. Whether you're religious or not, this place is absolutely impressive.

In the spring of 1917 the 3 shepherds children Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco saw the apparition of the “lady of the rosary”. The first time this happened was on 13 May 1917, and after that day she returned every month until the last time on 13 October 1917. During her apparitions she tells the children 3 secrets.

Pilgrimage

Since then Fátima became an important pilgrimage place. Every year on 12 and 13 May, and 12 and 13 October, thousands of pilgrims travel to Fátima.
The most important building is the Basílica de Nossa Senhora do Rosário (basilica of our lady of the rosary), a neo-classic church on the edge of the large square. The tower is 65 meters high, and the church is flanked by impressive colonnades that refer to other parts of the complex.
On the square visitors can follow the mass in the Capela das Aparições (chapel of the apparitions). In this chapel the exact location of the apparitions is marked by a statue of Maria. Inside the basilica are the graves of the 3 children. Lucia, who died in 2005 at the age of 96, was buried in the basilica in 2006.

Church of the Holy Trinity

Fátima is also the home base of the 4th largest catholic church in the world, the Igreja da Santíssima Trindade (church of the holy trinity).
This church was inaugurated in 2005 and has 9,000 seats. Renowned artists from Ireland, Canada, Portugal, Slovenia and Germany were involved in the construction. One can enter the church through 13 doors, the main entrance and the other 12 doors symbolize Jesus and the 12 apostles. Behind the altar is a mosaic, partly decorated with gold leaf. The gold represents the search for light by mankind. When you look at the left part of the mosaic, you see Mary and in front of her the 2 children who died young, behind her on the left you see Lucia. If you look even better at the mosaic you will see that the third woman from the left is Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
An Irish artist has made the crucifix above the altar. She has portrayed Jesus here with his head high and his eyes open. The idea behind this is the resurrection of Jesus looking at humanity.
On the outside of the church you see a statue of a pope on every corner. The best known is pope John Paul II, who had a warm relationship with Fátima. In 2000 he blessed Francisco and Jacinta, who died in 1919 and 1920.

 

 

Peniche is full of history

The town of Peniche is located on a peninsula. In the Roman ages Peniche was still an island, but over the years coast and island grew together. In the 17th century Peniche was developed into one of the strongest Portuguese sea fortresses.

Near the harbour is the Fortaleza, a fort that was built in the 17th century to defend the harbour and the town. Through the ages the Fortaleza had many functions. During Salazar’s dictatorial regime the fort was an important state prison. Political opponents of the regime were locked up and tortured in the Fortaleza. Nowadays the town’s museum and the fishing museum are located in the building.

There is a lighthouse on the Cabo Carvoeiro, the most western point of the peninsula. On clear days you have a beautiful view on the Berlenga islands and the coast south of Peniche.

On the southcoast of the peninsula is the Gruta da Furninha, a cave that was inhabited since prehistory. It is therefore the most important prehistoric archeological site of Peniche. Many objects were found, today they are on display in several museums, like the town museum.

Churches

In Peniche you can visit a number of churches and chapels:
- Igreja de São Pedro, Peniches largest church, dates back to the 16th century
- Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Ajuda, an early 16th century church
- Capela de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, a pilgrimage church, there is a procession every 3rd Sunday of October
- Igreja da Misericórdia, an early 17th century church
- Igreja de Nossa Senhora de Conceição, a 17th century church

Every year, in the first weekend of August, Peniche celebrates the Festa de Nossa Senhora de Boa Viagem, the feast of our lady of the good voyage.

From the harbour of Peniche you can take the boat to the Berlenga islands.

Surfing/beaches

There are many beaches to the north and south of Peniche. Most of these beaches are very popular with surfers because of the superb waves.

On this website you can see all beaches. Just click on the names for more information.