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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.

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.

 

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.

Islands close to Peniche are beautiful nature reserve

The Berlengas archipelago, Ilhas Berlengas, is a group of small islands off the Portuguese coast at about 10 km. from Peniche. The whole of the archipelago is a nature reserve.

The islands are uninhabited, only on the main island some people live on a permanent basis. They take care of the lighthouse, and control the reserve.


Some native plant species can be found on the islands. Also the islands are a breeding ground for many bird species, and they offer stopover space to migrating birds.

The largest island is Berlenga Grande. Here you can find the São João Baptista fort, built in 1502 in manuelino style. The fort is connected to the island by a narrow bridge. The fort was partly converted into a pousada (hotel).

Around the fort fishermen offer boattrips, to show you the island from sea, so you can see some caves and interesting rock formations.

To see everything the island has to offer you can follow the marked footpath. This takes you to the fort, caves, the lighthouse, beautiful beaches with crystal clear water, and to some spots that give you spectacular views.

The islands also attract many divers who enjoy the beautiful underwater flora and fauna.

From May to October the islands are open to the public. From the harbour of Peniche you can take the boat, the crossing takes about 45 minutes. It is recommended to make reservations for the boattrip, especially during summer months, because only a limited number of people per day are allowed on the island.

www.berlengas.eu

www.viamar-berlenga.com

www.feelingberlenga.pt

 

 

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.