Worth-seeing

Too much to mention!

Maybe the main reason why the Costa de Prata is so renowned, is the huge number and quality of things to see and do.

The vast beaches, remarkable nature, special museums, historic cities and monastries, picturesque villages. It's really too much to mention but we try anyway.

Sub categories

World Heritages

World Heritages

No Less than 6 Portuguese World Hertitage sites are located in this region

  1. Monastry of Alcobaça
  2. Monastry of Batalha
  3. Cultural landscape of Sintra
  4. Convent of Christ in Tomar
  5. University of Coimbra
  6. Royal Building of Mafra (Palace, Basilica, Convent, Garden and Hunting Park)
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Exciting caves

Exciting caves

Spectacular caves

In the nature park of Serra de Aire e dos Candeeiros you can visit several caves. All three give you a spectacular view below the surface of the earth. Some locations look extra special because of the stunning lighting. On a regular basis exhibitions are organised inside the caves.

These are the caves:

  • Grutas Alvados/ San Antonio
  • Grutas da Moeda
  • Grutas Mira d’Aire


The latter won the price 'Natural wonder of Portugal'.

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Special museums

Special museums

From Buddha to Dino

Not only the Costa de Prata offers many historical buildings, there are also lots of interesting museums and sculpture parks. Often surprisingly modern and multimedial.

Indoor museums, open air exhibitions, excavations, you name it and its there. How about dinossaur footprints or the impressive Buddha Eden park?

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Cosy markets

Cosy markets

A unforgettable experience

Going to a market in the Silver Coast is a experience not easy to forget; a big difference with the markets in the UK is that you can buy almost anything you want. Clothes (casual but also costumes) and shoes till tools, rugs, distilling kettles, horse saddles and living animals like chickens, rabbits and puppies.  

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Nature and Culture

Nature and Culture

To enjoy!

Both nature- and culture lovers won´t miss a thing in this region. Naturepark Serra d’Aire e Candeeiros for instance is 400 km2 large and a real paradise for hikers and mountain-bikers. The large amount of historical buildings and cities, de farmers markets, the (fado) concerts and museums making the Portuguese culture palpable.

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In Coimbra you can visit Portugal dos Pequenitos, or Portugal for the Little Ones. It is a recreational-educational park intended primarily for children.

The park has thematic areas, like Monumental Portugal (miniatures of the country’s main monuments), Portuguese-speaking countries (representation of a.o. African countries, Brazil, Macau), The Islands (main monuments of Madeira and Azores), Coimbra, and Regional Houses.

You can also visit the Dress museum, that has around 300 miniature outfits on display from the 16th to the 20th century. Everything was handmade, and donated to the museum in 1950.

There is also a Barbie museum, the collection on display is the largest in Portugal and possibly one of the biggest in Europe, is composed of over 300 dolls. It includes the original Barbie of 1959, the Barbies of the world, the Hollywood collection, Barbies dressed by couturiers of international reputation, and many more.

Portugal dos Pequenitos also stands out as a high-quality display of sculptures and architectural art, the miniature size and detail of which continues to charm children and adults.

Arise of the Castelo dos Templários and Convento de Cristo

After the conquest of the region from the Moors in the Portuguese Reconquista, the land was granted in 1159 as a fief to the Order of the Knights Templar. Its Grand Master in Portugal, and Tomar's somewhat mythical founder, Gualdim Pais, laid in 1160 the first stone of the Castle and Monastery that would become the headquarters of the Order in Portugal.

The feudal contract was granted in 1162 by the Grand Master to the people. The Templars ruled from Tomar a vast region of central Portugal which they pledged to defend from Moorish attacks and raids. Like many lords of the unpopulated former frontier region of central Portugal, the villagers were given relatively liberal conditions in comparison with those of the northern regions of Portugal, in order to attract new immigrants. They were not allowed the title of Knight which was reserved to the monks. Women were also admitted to the Order, although they didn't fight.

In 1190 a Moroccan caliph and his army attacked Tomar. However the crusader Knights and their leader kept them at bay. A plaque commemorates this bloody battle at the Porta do Sangue at the Castelo Templário (Castle of Tomar).

Castle and Convent of the Knights Templar of Tomar (transferred in 1344 to the Knights of the Order of Christ)

In 1314, under pressure from the Pope Clement V, who wanted the Templars banned throughout Europe, King Dinis negotiated instead to transfer the possessions and personnel of the Order in Portugal to a newly created Order of Christ. This Order in 1319 moved south to Castro Marim, but in 1356 it returned to Tomar. In the 15th century the position of (cleric) Grand Master of the Order was henceforth nominated by the Pope, and the (lay) Master or Governor by the King, instead of being elected by the monks.

Henry the Navigator was made the Governor of the Order. The cross of the Order of Christ that was painted in the sails of the caravels that crossed the seas, and the Catholic missions in the new lands were under the authority of the Tomar clerics until 1514. Henry, enriched by his overseas enterprises, was the first ruler to ameliorate the buildings of the Convento de Cristo since its construction. He also ordered dams to be built to control the river Nabão and swamps to be drained. This allowed the burgeoning town to attract more settlers. Henry ordered the new streets to be designed in a rational, geometrical fashion, as they can still be seen today.

(source: Wikipedia)

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Aqueduct with 180 arches

About 4 kilometers northwest of Tomar you can see the remains of the Aqueduto de Pegões Alto. This aqueduct was built for the water supply of the convent; it is about 5 kilometers long and has 180 arches.

A few kilometers east of Tomar is the Barragem do Castelo de Bode, a dam and reservoir in the Rio Zêzere; the dam is 115 metres high and 400 metres wide. The reservoir is open for aquatic sporters and anglers. At the harbour of the Pousada you can embarque on a boat for a tour on the reservoir.

To the north there are several other dams and reservoirs in the Rio Zêzere.

 

Artisanal salt production from underground source

The Salinas, or salt pans, are 3 kilometers from Rio Maior, ate the base of the Serras de Aire e de Candeeiros.

Salt is still being produced today, using traditional methods, and stored in the same way as 8 centuries ago. The salt pans are wide and deep, and the salt water springs from an ancient well.

The water is very salt, much saltier than seawater. The water is pumped up to fill the shallow stone or cement ponds (marinhas do sal).

After 8 days the water has evaporated, and the salt is stored in the wooden houses. The locks and keys of these houses are all made from wood, like in the Roman ages.

There is also a hiking trail, a restaurant, some cafes, and a tourist office.

 

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