Want to plan to go on a family adventure or think about making a weekend getaway, or Central Portugal have perfect options. Around here you will find cities where culture, art and heritage are outstanding, and historical villages where tradition blends perfectly with nature. But there is much more than isso.
The Center of Portugal is a country within its own country: in a short space it is possible to discover impressive monuments, dazzling beaches, mountains with centuries-old forests and villages full of history that dazzle those who visit. From Nazaré to Sortelha, from Serra da Lousã to Bairrada, from Óbidos to Almeida… this region has everything to offer to those who visit.
Of course, 2 special highlights: one for its gastronomy and the other for the hospitality of its people. You are local to visit the Center of Portugal only a lot, but these are some two best. Choose your favorite and face the road. The trip will be worth it, with all certainty.
1. Vila Nova de Foz Coa
It is true that there are cave paintings, classified as World Heritage by UNESCO in 1998, that trouxeram and draw many visitors to this place. But Vila Nova de Foz Côa has much more to offer.
I cannot fail to visit the region between February and March, the height of the amendoeiras in flower, which cover the fields with a white that is highly appealing. It is also in these months that the Festa da Amendoeira em Flor e dos Patrimónios Mundiais is celebrated.
One of the two most visited places in Lamego is the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, which is easily recognizable by its tiled tiles. Other places of interest are its Cathedral and the church and convent of Santa Cruz.
Another great highlight of Lamego is its gastronomy, famous for queijos and enchidos, especially or presumably, and the wines, being Lamego a city-berço das Caves da Raposeira, producers of a famous sparkling wine.
It was found not near the Serra da Estrela and part of the Rede de Judiarias de Portugal, having been the place where one of the last crypto-Judaic communities of Portugal lived in secret. Therefore, I cannot fail to know the Jewish Museum and the Bet Eliahou synagogue.
It was here that Pedro Álvares Cabral was born, and there are various points of interest related to this historical figure, such as his statue and the Solar dos Cabrais, where the library and Museu dos Descobrimentos are located.
Despite being known by many as a winter and snow destination, the truth is that Seia is a city that attracts visitors all year round, with mild spring and summer temperatures that invite various walks through places such as Grande Rota das Historic Villages or Mergulhars on their various river beaches.
If you are going to travel with your family, a visit to the Museu do Brinquedo and the Museu do Pão is essential. Nearby, it is Serra da Estrela and all its charms: typical villages, waterfalls, lakes and centuries-old forests.
Its brand image is the Ria, the canals that intersect its historic center and the colorful moliceiros boats, as well as the popular ovos moles. It is also well known for its Arte Nova style buildings, having been considered a city-museum of this architectural style in Central Portugal.
Don’t stop appreciating the properties next to the Central Canal, representative of this style, and visiting the Arte Nova museum. At the end of your walk, sit on any city esplanade and appreciate the famous ovos moles.
It is located about half an hour from Aveiro and one of its most popular attractions are the streets decorated with colorful guarda-chuvas, part of the so-called Umbrella Sky Project.
Here is also a lot of cultural tourism, especially the 20-day duration of the AgitÁgueda Art Festival, which takes place during the month of July, since 2006. Other points of interest are the Museu Nacional Ferroviário and the Aldeia Pedagógica do Milho Antigo.
7. Bairrada DOC
If you want a trip that brings together the best gastronomy and two wines, gather several places visiting a demarcated region. Bairrada DOC is one of the most well-known, encompassing cities such as Águeda, Cantanhede, Oliveira do Bairro, Mealhada and Anadia.
Do not stop stopping in each one of the cities, because you will find various points of interest, such as the Museu das Duas Rodas, in Anadia, or the Museu do Rádio, in Oliveira do Bairro.
The best way to explore this mythical university city is walking by foot. It starts at the University of Coimbra, which deserves a delayed visit (don’t forget to meet Joanna Library ea capela de São Miguel).
Afterwards, walking around the city streets, you will find monuments such as the Sé Velha and the Mosteiro de Santa Cruz. On the other side of the river, you cannot miss visiting the Santa Clara-a-Velha monastery and the Quinta das Lágrimas gardens.
9. I will be born
This fish village became one of the two most popular destinations in central Portugal when, in 2012, Garrett McNamara hit the world record for surfing here a giant wave 24 m high.
But, in addition to surfing, you can find places like Igreja Matriz da Pederneira, or Mercado Municipal and the forte of São Miguel Arcanjo. Terra de tradições fortes, you will also be able to observe the traditional fishing boats and the peixeiras dressed to the rigor.
This medieval town, located 1 hour from Lisbon, has various points of interest, such as its castle, the libraries in unique locations (such as the Igreja de Santiago and the Biological Market) and its Municipal Museum.
Óbidos is also a perfect destination for its thematic events, which take place throughout the year, such as the Óbidos-Vila Natal, the International Chocolate Festival, the Óbidos Medieval Market and the FOLIO – Óbidos International Literary Festival.