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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.

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.

 

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...

Triumphal arch with sea-view

On the south-eastern slope of the Cabeço Gordo, in Arrimal, 2480 Porto de Mós (39° 30' 6.08" N  8° 53' 45.32" W) stands an impressive triumphal arch.

According to the inscription it was built by king Alfonso Henriques, swearing that all land, seen from that point towards the sea, would be donated to the monks that would build the monastry of Alcobaça.

Indeed from the Arco da Memoria you have a great view of the coast.
 

Beautiful lagoon invites you for some activities

This vast and natural lagoon is situated between the historic town of Óbidos and the trendy beach resort of Foz de Arelho.

The lagoon has a narrow passage to the Atlantic Ocean. There are walking and cycling routes around the lagoa, and on the water you can surf, sail, fish, and many other activities. This is also a place where paragliders like to use the thermals for long float trips.

Foz do Arelho has several nice beach bars along the wide promenade, a good place to have a drink after a nice stroll. And if you're lucky you can watch a volleyball game on the beach.