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.

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.

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.

 

Culturally very rich area where you can easily spend a whole day

On the 'edge' of the Costa de Prata you can find one of the most de meest interesting places of Portugal.

Palácio Nacional de Sintra

This palace is one of the most important Portuguese examples of royal architecture. It is topped by two large twin chimneys built over the kitchen, which have become the symbol of Sintra. It is the best preserved medieval Royal Palace in Portugal. It is part of the Cultural landscape of Sintra, designated World Heritage Site by Unesco.

Palácio Nacional da Pena

This palace is the most remarkable example of Portuguese Romantic architecture. The palace stands on the top of a hill above the town of Sintra, and on a clear day it can be easily seen from Lisbon. It is a national monument and one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. It is also still in use for state occasions by the President of the Portuguese Republic and other government officials.

Castelo dos Mouros

The Moorish Castle dates back to the early days of the Moorish occupation of the Peninsula (the 8th century). The current building is the result of a renovation carried out in the 19th century. The views from its walls and towers are breathtaking.

Convento dos Capuchos

The monastery was built in 1560 by Dom Álvaro de Castro, in fulfillment of a vow by his father, Dom João de Castro. Its tiny cells, small chapel, refectory and other dependencies, installed in the rock and lined with cork, are a telling example of the humble and austere existence of the Franciscan friars who lived here.

Other places of interest in Sintra are: Parque da Pena, Quinta de Monserrate (park), Museu de Arte Moderna (museum of modern art), Museu do Brinquedo (toys museum), and Quinta da Regaleira (palace and gardens).

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www.parquesdesintra.pt

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.