Follow us

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)

Probably the most well known coastal village of the Costa de Prata

Originally Nazaré was a fishing village. Not so very long ago the fishermen used oxes to pull the boats out of the water, helped by men and women standing in the water. Now you can only see this on painted tiles (azulejos) for sale in the many souvenir shops.

The fishermen now use a modern harbour on the southside of the village. On the promenade you can still see the women of Nazaré in their remarkable traditional clothes, wearing and short skirts (in 7 layers) and colourful scarfs and socks. They dry the catch of they day on racks, they sell dried fruits, or rent out rooms to tourists.

Because of the extensive beach, Nazaré is one of the most popular seaside resorts in central Portugal, and especially during the summer months it's very lively. But be aware: the sea can be very rough. And that’s exactly why Nazaré hosts surfing championships every year. The American Garrett McNamara set a new worldrecord in November 2011 with riding a wave more than 27 metres high. In January 2013 he broke is own record by surfing a wave of a stunning 34 metres.

O Sítio

High above the town is O Sítio, which can be reached by a funicular. All of Nazaré can be seen from there, and on a clear day you can see as far as Peniche.

On the main square in Sítio is the Capela da Memória, a small chapel almost completely covered with azulejos.

Also on the square is the 17th century Nossa Senhora da Nazaré Church. Again many azulejos, but more important is the black Madonna. Twice per year this statue attracts many pilgrims: Assumption Day on 15 August, and Romaria da Senhora da Nazaré in the second week of September.

Museums

  • Museu Etnográfico Dr. Joaquim Manso: history and folclore of Nazaré

  • Casa Museu do Pescador: exhibition about the fishing population of Nazaré, located in a traditional fishermen's house

 

www.cm-nazare.pt

Glass town with English twist

Marinha Grande is located between Leiria and the coast. Since the second half of the 18th century it is the centre of glass manufacturing industry.

The Royal Glass Factory (Real Fabrica de Vidros) was bought by an English entrepreneur William Stephens who developed the factory and the business under the protection of the Marques de Pombal, and added a glassblowing school. The wood from the nearby pine forest was used to fuel the factories.

In 1826, the factory was given to the state and became one of the country's main producers of traditionally made fine crystal.

The former palacial home of William Stephens now contains the Museu do Vidro da Marinha Grande (glass museum) which houses glassware from the 17th-20th centuries.

Two other museums in Marinha Grande:

Museu Santos Barosa: Santos Barosa is the oldes glass factory in Portugal, and still working. The factory also has a museum, its collection shows how glass was made and used through the ages.

Museu Joaquim Correia: the former residence of one of the most leading families of Marinha Grande. It is a 19th century house, and contains the artistic heritage of Joaquim Correia. He was born in 1920 in a family of glassblowers. He studied the art of sculpting, first in Porto and later in Lisbon. He was a student of famous artists like Simões de Almeida, Francisco Franca, Barata Feyo and António Duarte.

 

Village with rich history

In 1385 the battle of Aljubarrota was fought between the Castilians and Portuguese aristocrats. Lead by João, the Portugese won the battle. This victory became symbol for the Portuguese independence of Spain. Out of gratitude for the victory, João commanded the construction of the monastry of Batalha, dedicated to Santa Maria da Vitória. After they died, João and his wife were buried in the monastry.

Every year in August the village of Aljubarotta organises a medieval festival.

At the tourist office you can get a map of Aljubarrota, with a nice walking route which takes you to all places of interest in the village.