About Central Portugal - Portugal
Aveiro, Coimbra, Serra da Estrela, Leiria, Fatima and the beautiful Portuguese West Coast are some of the treasures of central Portugal, a region diverse in landscapes, culture, gastronomy and climate!
From the snow capped peaks in the Serra da Estrela mountains to the Figueira da Foz beach. From the University of Coimbra to the Aveiro estuary, and not forgetting the beautiful shale villages that spread through the mountains and the beautiful city of Tomar, there is plenty to see and live!
Whether it is for a permanent residence, as a holiday home or to transform into a business opportunity / real estate investment, there is no shortage of opportunities at attractive prices and top construction. The demand for real estate in this region has increased a lot among other reasons because of the beauty and richness of the region allied to the good offer of infrastructures and services.
Central Portugal is a very rich historical patrimony region. Let’s have a look on the most important villages, cities and tourist spots:
To relive the prehistory in Ansião
That’s the proposition of the Ansião’s tourism, located in the district of Leiria, to attract visitors more and more. Known by being a rural council of historical tradition, whose origins remount at the prehistoric times, Ansião counts with a vast cultural history. It presumes that there are about 190 million years ago the lands of that council were submerged. The Ansião municipal district has the “freguesias” of Alvorge, Ansião, Avelar, Chão de Couce, Lagarteira, Pousaflores, Santiago da Guarda e Torre de Vale de Todos.
The first references of Ansião history dates from 1175. However, only in 1514, D. Manuel elevated the place to village.
For the most believing visitors, the council of Ansião counts with an extensive religious patrimony, such as the Mother church of Ansião, the Chapel of Constantina, the Mother church of Alvorge, the Chapel of the Mercy, the Chapel of Ateanha, the Church of “Nossa Senhora da Graça”, the Mother church of Santiago of the Guard, S. Domingos’s Church, the Mother church of “Nossa Senhora da Guia”, the Mother church of “Chão de Couce”, the Chapel of “Nossa Senhora do Pranto” and the Church of “Nossa Senhora das Neves”. Other marks are also important to know a little bit of the past of Ansião and of their people, as the majestic “Residência Senhorial dos Condes de Castelo Melhor”, the Ruins of the Tower of “Ladeia”, the bridge of “Marquinho”, the bridge of “Cal”, Medieval Oven of Avelar and farm of “Cima”. The windmills complete the scenery of the council, that keeps in itself an extensive green area, in an authentic valorization of the nature. But the historical patrimony continuous being the great attractive of the council.
The Municipal Museum cannot be forgotten in this trip through history, that remounts for many centuries. It is proved by the existence of an “Anta de Atalaia”, other in “Alto do Pisca” and the location of a “castro” by the age of the iron in S. Miguel. The trip should continue for “Alvorge” and “Torre de Vale Todos” e “Lagarteira”, populations that were located in the area of the “Ladeia”, known as border line among Christians and Moorish in the centuries XII and XIII.
Alvaiázere, from the “chícharo” to the charmed valleys
Imagine a land where the arab influence is part of their traditions and where the nature and the religion dictate the rules. That’s Alvaiázere, a portuguese town that belongs to the district of Leiria, with about 1.800 inhabitants. The municipal district of Alvaiázere counts with seven “freguesias”: Almoster, Alvaiázere, Maçãs de Caminho, Maçãs de Dona Maria, Pelmá, Pussos e Rego da Murta.
The council owes its name from the arabic influence in the area. When those people invaded the Iberian Peninsula, in the year of 711, they took possession of great part of the actual portuguese territory, that’s the case of Alvaiázere, which was called Al-Bai-Zir or Alva-Varze, according to the history.
In spite of the years, the municipal district always maintained their cultural characteristics. One of the most important points of the council is the mountain of Alvaiázere, from where it is possible to see an excellent panorama of that place, in a relaxing atmosphere. The landscape is also composed by vineyards, olive trees, corn fields and beautiful houses. The hillsides keep the purity of the flocks and of the goats, in a municipal district where the nature is intense, with the presence of valleys and holms between two courses of water, Nabão and the riverside of Alge.
There are prehistoric artefacts and dispersed archeological places a little bit for the whole council. Antas do Ramalhal, a Rominha and the town of the Mountain of Alvaiázere are one of the main tourist points of that area, that keeps an important historical marks.
The agriculture is the economic base of this area. The fertile soils, the valleys, the holms and the hillsides covered with vineyards and olive trees, were important auxiliaries of the population.
But the history was made through the times. Alvaiázere was elevated to village by D. João I, in 1338. In 1435, D. Duarte donated the village to his wife, the Queen D. Leonor, passing Alvaiázere to the domain of the crown. D. Manuel gave its new designation, on May 15, 1514. In this year, not only the town of Alvaiázere received new designation. The actuals “freguesias” of the council, also Maçãs de D. Maria e Pussos (known as Vila Nova de Pussos) they also obtained the privileges of that document.
The signs of the past and of its history are still evident in the whole council of Alvaiázere. In that place, there are several solar and elegant farms, all with centuries of history. In the headquarters of the council exist a solar that belonged to Duarte Pacheco Pereira, the famous murderer of D. Inês de Castro, before fleeing for Spain, in one of the most known episodes of the portuguese history.
In the “freguesias” of Alvaiázere is possible to meet the antiquity through the pillories and of their churches. The religious spirit of this people is expressed in the legends that circulate from father to son, for many centuries.
Now a day, Alvaiázere is known by being the capital of the “chícharo”, a small vegetable, that has the same treatment of the bean, but it grows in arid lands. Alvaiázere is the perfect place to try this vegetable that is made by varied ways. Besides the “chícharo”, the cheese of the area is also know as a good product and also the pig meat, the kid goat and the suckling pig in the oven. All of this may be accompanied with the excellent wine of the region. “Bride’s cake” is the favourite candy of the people and of their visitors. A true trip in the time, where is possible to know more about the rich history of the council, passing through the best of its gastronomy, without forgetting the nature in all the places of Alvaiázere.
Discovering the beauties of Castanheira da Pera
Castanheira da Pera is a small portuguese village located in the district of Leiria, with about 3.600 inhabitants. The council of Castanheira da Pera is constituted just by two “freguesias”. Castanheira da Pera and Coentral.
At this second “freguesia”, Coentral, is located one of the tourist marks of the council: the Chapel of “Santo António da Neve”.
In the antique “Cabeço do Pereiro”, in Lousã’s saw, the Chapel of “Santo António da Neve” was built by order of Julião Pereira de Castro. During the years, the chapel was in the hands of the particular proprietors, but in 1954 it was acquired by the commons council of the Castanheira da Pera. After that, Coentral had the ownership of the chapel, which is classified as Property of Public Interest since 1986.
But the council also keeps other attractions, as the Fluvial Beach of the “Rocas”, with almost a kilometre of extension. The beach is composed by a swimming pool with artificial waves, considered the largest one in Portugal. After the opening of this tourist complex, in 2005, more than two hundred thousand people visited Castanheira da Pera.
Other places, such as the “Poço Corga’s” Fluvial Beach, the Riverside of “Pera”, the Riverside of “Quelhas”, the saw of “Lousã”, the Old Chapel of “Pera”, the Museums “Casa do Tempo”, “Lagar do Corga”, “Casa do Neveiro” and the “Casa do Soares” are still very solicited by the visitors.
For several years, the bet of the council’s economy was based in the wool. The first factory was created in 1860. However, in 1980, the industry began to cross a serious crisis. In this time, a lot of factories were closed. Nowadays, the new bet of the council is the tourism. Besides the local patrimony, the council offers several advantages for those who prefer to admire the landscape. For who visit the “Castanheira da Pera”, there are proposals of pedestrian courses in a fantastic environment. Never forgetting the parties and pilgrimages ´during the year.
Local Flavours / Gastronomy
The gastronomy of this region is prized for its diversity: From the fish and shellfish of the coastal zone to the more elaborate and substantial dishes of the interior going by the roasted kid, the escabeche’s trouts, the “serrabulho”, the cheese and the cheese spread, the kid giblets rice, the anise cakes and the famous honey, typical of the Lousã’s saw. In the part of wines the region includes a series of wine regions, among them the famous Bairrada and Dão.
Beaches / Sports
BEACHES AND SPORTS ACTIVITIES:
Central Portugal offers a variety of beautiful beaches along its coast. Here are some of the notable beaches and sports activities in the region:
Figueira da Foz: Figueira da Foz is a popular holiday destination with long sandy beaches and ideal conditions for water sports such as surfing, kiteboarding, and windsurfing. There are also opportunities for fishing and boating.
Nazaré: Nazaré is known for its impressive giant waves that attract surfers from around the world. Here, you can also enjoy relaxed days at the beach and admire the beautiful coastal scenery.
Aveiro: Although not directly on the coast, Aveiro is known for its lagoons and canals. You can take boat trips and enjoy the unique atmosphere of this charming city.
Peniche: Peniche is a paradise for surfers and offers some of the best surf spots in Portugal. The Supertubos Beach is famous for its perfect barrel waves. In addition to surfing, you can also take boat trips to the nearby Berlengas Islands.
São Martinho do Porto: This seaside resort offers a protected bay with calm and clear waters, making it an ideal spot for families and water activities such as kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding.
In terms of sports activities, Central Portugal offers a variety of options:
Water sports: Due to its coastal location, there are numerous opportunities for water sports such as surfing, kiteboarding, windsurfing, sailing, diving, and fishing.
Hiking and trekking: The region is rich in natural beauty and offers a variety of hiking and trekking trails. The Serra da Estrela and Serra da Lousã are popular areas for outdoor enthusiasts.
Cycling: There are many cycling paths and routes that allow you to explore the breathtaking landscapes of Central Portugal on two wheels.
Golf: Central Portugal is home to several high-quality golf courses that are appreciated by golf enthusiasts.
Horseback riding: There are horse riding opportunities in the region where you can explore the surroundings on horseback.
Whether you’re interested in beaches, water sports, or outdoor activities, Central Portugal offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy your leisure time actively.
RIVERS, RESERVOIRS, AND RIVER BEACHES:
Central Portugal is also rich in rivers, reservoirs, and river beaches that offer various water sports and leisure opportunities. Here are some of the notable places:
Mondego River: The Mondego is the longest river that flows exclusively in Portugal. It offers opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. The river is surrounded by picturesque landscapes and green riverbanks.
Zezere River: The Zezere River is a tributary of the Tagus and known for its reservoir called Castelo do Bode. The reservoir provides opportunities for sailing, windsurfing, water skiing, and fishing. There are also several river beaches along the shore where you can relax and swim.
Alva River: The Alva River is another popular spot for water sports such as kayaking and canoeing. It flows through the beautiful Serra da Estrela and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
Douro River: Although the Douro River is mainly located in Northern Portugal, it also extends into the Central Portugal region. The Douro is famous for its wine production and offers opportunities for boat trips along the scenic vineyards.
Lagoa da Ervedeira: The Ervedeira Lagoon is located near the coast and provides a peaceful environment for water sports such as canoeing and stand-up paddleboarding. The beach at the lagoon is also a popular spot for sunbathing and relaxation.
These rivers, reservoirs, and river beaches in Central Portugal offer a variety of opportunities to enjoy the water, whether it’s through water sports activities, boat trips, or simply relaxing by the shore.