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.

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.

Parque dos Monges: for active monks (and everyone else)

Just outside Alcobaça is the Parque dos Monges (Monks Park). This is a very large park offering recreation, adventure and education.

There is an eco-aquarium “Mãe d’Água”, a convent farm, craft workshops, a themepark (where you can do some canoeing on the lake, mountainclimbing, archery, rope sliding), and much more.

www.parquedosmonges.com

Experience magical sensations!

Nature is the keyword in the Pia do Urso Eco-Sensory park. Natural scents, sounds and shapes take your senses on a magical trip.

This the first park especially for the visual impaired in Portugal. It's aim is to offer new experiences with different senses, like touch and smell. But do not misunderstand, the park is a wonderful experience for everyone!

Traditional features and materials are also part of the park, so visitors can also learn about the history of the area.

Along the paths you also cross natural stone bassins, which were formed during the course of ages by erosion. They say dat long ago bears used these bassins as bathtubs.

In the shadow cast by the enormous oak trees around the parking you can relax and have a picknick.

Portugues sentimental song full of melancholy

Fado is the most popular folk music in Portugal. This Portuguese of way singing about life can be traced back to early 19th century. It originates from the poor districts of Lisbon. Fado literally means “fate” (from the Latin word “fatum”), and fado is part of every Portuguese person’s life.
The songs are about things that happen in life, melancholy, sadness, nostalgia for what no longer exists, but also about happiness and feasts. The Portuguese word for these feelings is “saudade”. This is such a typical Portuguese word, in other languages there is no translation for it.

There are two varieties of fado, namely those of the cities of Lisbon and Coimbra. The Lisbon style is the most popular, and was orginally sung by women only. Coimbra's fado has a more academic character, and is exclusively sung by men.

Since the revival of fado in the nineties of the 20th century, fado gets more and more famous internationally, and reaches more people every day. Amalia Rodrigues is considered to be one of the most important and influential fadistas ever.

In both Lisbon and Coimbra there are some fado restaurants where (professional) fadistas (fado singers) perform their songs. Lisbon’s districts Bairro Alto, Alfama and Mouraria, are very well known for their fado restaurants.
Also in the Costa de Prata, several restaurants offer a complete night out, with diner and music. Prebookings are usually mandatory.

In November 2011 the Portuguese Fado was added to Unesco’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

An example...