Central Portugal

CENTRAL PORTUGAL is a region located between Douro and Tagus rivers. There is strong natural contrast between the coast and the interior. Over the ocean we can find sandy beaches, pine forests and mild climate, while in the hinterland is a harsh mountainous landscape with the highest mountain range in Portugal, Serra da Estrela. The region boasts high natural values such as beaches, lush forests and healing springs, as well as countless monuments on the UNESCO list.

Be sure to visit the historic Coimbra, one of the oldest university cities where you can hear the fado, learn the traditions of the students and try some Conventual Portuguese sweets.

One of the biggest suprises may bring a visit to Serra da Estrela, as it is the only place in Portugal, where you can Ski in winter. Being there any time of year, don´t miss Serra da Estrela cheese.

Magical Obidos offers “time travel” to medieval times, as the town is well preserved within castle walls. The specialty of Obidos is chocolate. It is here where you can find the most famous Chocolate Festival in entire Country.

Surf lovers will find their paradise on the coast of Central Portugal. The best spots are located in Peniche and Nazare - known surf places on the World Map of Surf. Nazare you can actually find it in Guiness Book of Records, as the biggest surfed wave in the world.

© Turismo Centro de Portugal  

10 reasons to visit Center of Portugal

1. Heart of Portugal history
Some of these places are so important for humanity that they have been included in the UNESCO list of world heritage. This is the case of the Monasteries of Alcobaça and Batalha, the Convent of Christ in Tomar and Coimbra University.

2. The Schist Villages
The 27 villages spread across the Lousã and Açor ranges are called schist villages because this is the stone used in the construction of houses and for paving the narrow winding streets, mingle seamlessly into the colours of the natural landscape.

3. Hiking and biking
In the forests you can discover on foot following the "Schist paths” and the bike trails defined by the Mountain Bike Centres according to various levels of difficulty, and which also provide support to bikers.

4. Surf paradise
Coastal beaches open to the Atlantic ocean, provide certain freshness on hot summer days. They are well known spots for surfers from around the world, who come for the perfect waves in Peniche, and even the giant waves in Nazaré.

5. Extreme sports
In the mountains of Serra de Estrela, there are lots of extreme sport such as canoeing, climbing, abseiling and rope slides. If you need some adreline, you can be sure, you will find it here.

6. The medieval town of Óbidos
You will find a well preserved castle within the walls, and a maze of streets and white houses. In the 13th century, and it became part of Casa das Rainhas (Queens’ Estate), who improved and enriched it throughout the various dynasties. It is one of the most picturesque and well preserved in Portugal.

7. Fatima
The Shrine at Fátima is one of the most important landmarks in the Marian worship, drawing pilgrims from all over the world. Every month, especially on the 12th and 13th, thousands of pilgrims come to Fátima making the journey on foot, following rural lanes and tracks of four Fátima Ways, which have been signposted and can easily be followed using the markers on the ground, even by those with little knowledge of the region.

8. Aveiro – Portuguese Venice
Aveiro, located next to the sea and the “ria” estuary, is crossed by a network of channels through which “moliceiros” local boats meander. Aveiro has a number of buildings in Art Nouveau style that are worth seeing. Many are situated along the main channel, but there are some off the beaten track and in other locations.

9. Conventual Portuguese sweets (doçaria conventual portuguesa)
The tradition of sweet desserts in Portuguese convents started in XV century. Since then there were created hundreads of recipes, basing on the ingredients available in specific districts. Wherever you go in Central Portugal, there are lots of sweets to try, like “ovos moles” in Aveiro, “nevadas” in Coimbra district, among others.

10. Naturtejo Geopark
Deep in the interior of the country, where the Tagus River becomes Portuguese, there is a preserved territory where people live at the pace of nature. Following the Geotrails you can admire the ichnofossils from Penha Garcia and the Ródão Gateway or try to spot the 154 species of bird that frequent this region.