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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.

 

Rugged landscape offers many hiking possibilities

In the inland of the Costa de Prata is the nature reserve Parque Natural das Serra de Aire e Candeeiros, one of 13 nature reserves in Portugal. It is located in the limestone hills of the Estremadura, it’s size is about 39,000 hectares.

In this nature reserve you can hike along several marked pathways, all with different lengths, duration and difficulties so everyone can enjoy a nice hike.
There are about 20 different routes. One of them is the Rota dos Moinhos which takes you to some old windmills, the Buraco Roto route takes you through a beautiful landscape including a waterfall.

 

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.

Water feature

When it rains the water is cascading over a carpet of large granite blocks and is collected in a huge basin.

The water is filtered in a natural way in the stomach and lead to a public fountain for the people of Mendiga. (2480 Porto de Mós)

In the park you find a educative model of the water mining. There is also a children playground, a public bbq and toilets.