The central area of Portugal can feel a little underrated, but I’ll argue it’s much more than just the place to pass on the way from Lisbon to Porto or vice versa.
Central Portugal is vibrant and varied. Here you can zigzag from Portugal’s only snowy peak to hot, golden beaches. From the mega waves at Nazarè to the former capital Coimbra, from surfer’s haven Peniche to medieval Obidos, from the canals of Aveiro to the mountains of Serra de Estrela. Adventure awaits in Central Portugal.
With its canals, historic boats and the famous stripey fisherman’s shacks by the coast.
Inside the fortified walls find a village of typical white-washed buildings and taste the local liqueur.
If the waves aren’t pumping the town itself is still super cute.
Set on a hill, spend time getting lost in the old winding cobbled streets of the nation’s medieval capital.
Tip… Central Portugal is massive and you won’t be able to cover it all in a few days or even a week. Take your pick and plan ahead.
One of Portugal’s favourite DOP cheeses is Queijo da Serra from the Serra da Estrela mountains.
Outside of summer it is usually quite cheap to rent a car and this will give you the freedom to explore smaller towns and unusual places.
If you don’t have a driver’s license, it’s possible to catch the train from Lisbon or Porto to bigger places like Coimbra, Aveiro and Tomar. There is also a network of coach buses that will take you to Nazarè or Obidos.
Explore the variety of the central belt
Having seen many, many tiled chapels it takes quite a lot to blow me away but the Capela de São Miguel in Coimbra is jaw-droppingly beautiful. It’s definitely up there among the most beautiful tiles and breathtaking sights in Portugal. […]
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Caldas da Rainha, a small city about one-hour drive north of Lisbon, is known for two things: hot springs and ceramics. Sometime in the 15th century, Portugal’s Queen Leonor established a hospital and church here, hence the name, which means […]
A tiny chapel perched on the edge of a cliff filled with tiles? This is Ermida da Memória, a little capela in the coastal city of Nazare that is loaded with religious legend.
Aveiro is a petite old city where traditional brightly coloured moliceiro boats traverse a wide canals lined with picture-perfect pastel art nouveau buildings. University students clink beers in the sunshine, tourists snack on golden ovos moles sweets, fishermen bring in the catch of the day and locals pile into cars headed for the seaside.
Thirty 400-gram bread rolls are weaved into a human-size, paper flower-covered tower balanced precariously atop the 748 women marching by. Hundreds of these flowery 1.5-metre high piles bob through the enchanting Central Portuguese riverside town of Tomar on the shoulders […]
The city of Aveiro has incredible art deco architecture, plenty of tiles and even a few canals running through the historic centre. I 100% recommend it as an essential stop for anyone driving from Lisbon to Porto.
July 2, 2020