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.
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.
In Aveiro, go to 2 Duques, a family favourite.
You will need a car. Outside of summer it is usually quite cheap to rent a car and this will give you the freedom to explore smaller town and unusual places.
If you don’t have a driver’s license, it’s possible to catch the train from Lisbon to Tomar, or Lisbon or Porto to Aveiro. There is also a network of coach buses that will take you to Nazarè or Obidos.