Our nearest town. Only 4kms from the villa with a very safe sandy beach where the water is much warmer than the Atlantic ocean as the bay is shell shaped, almost enclosed. There are board walks along the beach and a quay with plenty of cafes and restaurants to enjoy. All manner of watercraft can be rented here during the summer months. It is a wonderful place to sit relax and people watch. A tourist information office is here.
The beach at Foz do Arelho is a natural wonder. To one side of the large sandy strip is the Atlantic Ocean, to the other side are the tranquil waters of the Óbidos Lagoon. The warm salty waters of the lagoon are ideal for kids and a variety of water sports, they are even said to have therapeutic properties. Kite surfing video
This is a popular surf spot and the waves can get pretty good here, the flat calm waters of the lagoon are ideal for kite surfing, kayaks and bathing. There are many beach bars and restaurants to choose from.
The delightful town of Óbidos, with white houses adorned with bougainvillea and honeysuckle was captured from the Moors by the first king of Portugal, D. Afonso Henriques, in 1148 is one of the most perfect examples of Portugal's medieval fortress. Inside the walls, which at sunset take on a golden colouring, one can sense a cheerful medieval ambience of winding streets, old whitewashed houses bordered with blue or yellow, Manueline embrasures and windows, reminding us that King D. Manuel I (sixteenth century) carried out major works here, and masses of colourful flowers and plants. Spend the day here, there is plenty to see and do, taste the local cuisine including the liquor Ginja fermented from locally grown cherries. 15 best things to do in Obidos
This famous spa town, a short 15 minute drive south of the villa, owes its name to the thermal spring that was much appreciated by Queen Dona Leonor. It has a daily food market and weekly Gypsy market, (Mondays). It has all the big box stores and several supermarkets. The town centre has a main street of shops with several sides streets to explore, plenty of pastry shops and cafe's to tempt you. Several interesting museums and historic sites are well worth a visit. 15 best things to do in Caldas da Rainha Try your driving skills at the Indoor Karting, loads of fun!
About a half hours drive from the villa you will find this delight historic town. Plenty of free parking with just a few minutes walk to the historic centre where you will find the spellbinding Monastery of Alcobaça. The monument is the final resting place for the 14th-century King Pedro I and his star-crossed lover, Inês de Castro, whose lives were haunted by tragedy. The town has plenty to see and some great eateries, a great place to spend a half day or longer. 15 best things to do in Alcobaca
Only 10 minutes drive North of the villa along a cliff top lane with stunning views of the coast and inland. A typical beach holiday destination with dozens of restaurants. Do take the funicular railway to Sitio on top of the cliffs for spectacular views and yes, more restaurants. Nazare is world famous for it's enormous freak waves where surfers take up the challenge, this is not for the faint hearted, one can watch the spectacle from Sitio, winter is the best time as the waves are generated in mid Atlantic storms. Live web cam.
The development of Tomar is closely linked to the Order of the Templars, which received these lands in 1159 as a reward for the assistance they gave Dom Afonso Henriques (the First King of Portugal) in the Christian reconquest of the territory. It was Dom Gualdim Pais, the first Grand Master of the Order in Portugal, who founded the castle and the remarkable Convent of Christ inside. Enlarged and altered over the centuries, this retains the influences of various architectural styles; it is the centrepiece of the city and classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. The Convento do Cristo and Castelo Knights templar can be seen at the same time, (same entrance) and is must see. As always there so much more to see in Tomar, enough to spend a day or more. 15 best things to do in Tomar.
Peniche the most western city of continental Europe and has been a port since the Early Modern Age, when a fort was constructed to defend it. This monument has an absorbing history, first as a maritime defence and then a prison during the Estado Novo regime in the 20th century. And since Peniche is still a fishing port, the fish and seafood could not be fresher. And on top of everything, you also have to make time for a boat trip to the Berlingas Islands, a natural reserve off the coast. 15 best things to do in Peniche.
Rio Maior is a town known for a strange natural phenomenon, salt flats and much further from the ocean than you’d ever expect to find them, and exploited by locals since the 12th century. Don't miss the salt pans!
The natural park should figure in your plans, whether you’re traversing its arid and vast valleys on foot, bike or horseback, or venturing below the surface into epic show-caves. There’s also a good helping of local sights to check out, from a prehistoric dolmen integrated into a church, to a Roman villa that has mosaics in almost pristine condition. 15 Best things to do in Rio Maior.
Visit one of our local wine and brandy producers, Mon- Fri twice daily tours, learn, taste and shop. What an absolutely wonderful spot! 10/10 recommend. This is a family owned/operated business - wonderful people. We enjoyed our tasting and tour. Great value and delicious wine. Make the stop!
Grutas de Mira de Aire, Caves of Mira de Aire
The Portuguese Central region between Rio Maior, Alcobaça, Porto de Mós, Batalha, Leiria, Ourém, Torres Novas and Alcanena is occupied by Limestone Mountains, which form the Estremadura Limestone Massif. Of these the mains mountains are the Aire and Candeeiros. This area is littered with caves to explore, many can be accessed freely by experienced cavers but there are several open to the public with guided tours the best being Grutas de Mira de Aire. With parking, bar and restaurant and waterslide park it is an ideal day out for the family.
If you like walking or hiking then you have come to the right place. There are recognised walks that start right at the villa or you can take a short car journey to dozens of others. You can also join a group, they organise short and long walks weekly, a great opportunity to meet people also.
Know as the Venice of Portugal. Situated on a massive lagoon Aveiro is intersected by canals, genuine streets of water, along which can be seen gliding the brightly coloured boats known as barcos moliceiros. Originally founded in the time of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Aveiro is now one of the most interesting cities on the Portuguese coast. 15 best things to do in Aveiro.
On the high banks of the Mondego River, Coimbra is a city with the oldest university in the country. The prestige of this school will hit you when you step onto the Paço das Escolas courtyard. In this rich ensemble of buildings is one of the finest libraries you’ll ever set foot in. The university is found precisely where Portugal’s first kings had taken up residence centuries before, and the city’s monasteries have tombs for these rulers. For culture, you’ll learn about the tragic love affair between the medieval Prince Pedro I and the noblewoman Inês, while Coimbra has its own genre of fado music that also originated at the university. 15 best things to do in Coimbra.
Lisbon and nearby
An hours drive from the villa park up and use public transport from there, though traffic can be heavy and parking not cheap. Better still park you car in one of the free car parks in Caldas da Rainha and take a coach from the bus station to Lisbon, Rede Express, it takes and hour and ten minutes and there over 20 trips each way every day, tickets are very reasonable. The coach will drop you at one of two stations where you can embark on public transport and see the sights or a show. 25 best things to do in Lisbon.
Quake is home to the story of the most extraordinary event: on the morning of the 1st of November 1755, an extremely violent earthquake destroyed Lisbon, followed by a tsunami and ranging fires that lasted a week. By entering in this experience you will feel and see the impact the earthquake had on the city and its people. Quake - Lisbon Earthquake Centre is located near to Avenida da Índia, in the historic area of Belém. The best way to get to Quake is by public transport - bus, train or tram, which connect the area to many points in the city of Lisbon and the other side of the river.
A large main aquarium, holding 5 million litres of seawater.
Four marine habitats create the illusion of a single aquarium and a sole ocean.
This exhibition features terrestrial and marine ecosystems, as well as the temperate, tropical and cold waters of the Earth’s oceans.
No vacation in Portugal would be complete without a day or more in Sintra. Just an hours drive from the villa. Sintra, the Moon Hill, is a place full of magic and mystery, where nature and man have combined in such a perfect symbiosis that UNESCO has granted it Word Heritage Site status. You can make your own way to visit as many palaces as you like or join a tour 15 best Sintra tours.
Today, together, both sides are proud of having turned the building, its immediate surroundings and the whole Cais do Sodré neighbourhood into a huge attraction for visitors, day and night. Where: Av. 24 de Julho 49, 1200-479 Lisboa
When well-heeled Lisboans need a change of airs in summer they go west to Cascais. At this beach getaway you can bathe in transparent waters at peaceful coves.
Portugal’s royal family holidayed at Cascais at the turn of the 20th century, and that glamour has never faded: The president spends his summer in a palace beside the marina, while neighbouring Estoril has an enormous casino once frequented by the jet set. There are elegant parks, noble mansions replete with precious furnishings and a superb art museum for Paula Rego. 15 best things to do in Cascais
More Day Trips
On the slopes above the Douro Estuary, Porto is a historic mercantile city with business and trade written into its very name. The centre is a World Heritage site, and you’ll be struck by how rich and varied this heritage can be: There are medieval walls, gleaming Baroque churches, the compact streets of the Ribeira district, the Romanesque Cathedral and that’s just the beginning. Fortified port wine is still stored in warehouses on the south bank of the Douro, and if you track the river to the ocean you arrive at the stylish Foz do Douro district for beaches and hip restaurants. 25 Best things to do in Porto
The most exciting 516 meters of your life!
Come live the experience of crossing a pedestrian bridge suspension over one of the wildest rivers in Europe, Paiva River.
Witness a true engineering prodigy and be dazzled by a landscape inserted in a UNESCO Global Geopark.
Here nature reigns. Discovering this village means diving into the magical world of Serra da Lousã and immersing yourself in lush vegetation where deer, roe deer, wild boar and many other species lurk.
There are several ancient villages built entirely out of Xisto, Schist (a type of slate), Talasnal has been, for a long time, "the" Schist Village of Serra da Lousã it has given more visibility and charisma to the whole. For its size and layout, but also for the many details of the restoration of its houses and for the way the village seduces us through it's gastronomy. Other Xisto villages within a short drive or hike from Lousa, Cerdeira, Candal, Catarredor, Casal Nova, Cadaval cimeiro, Pena, Aigra Velha. All these villages are connected by trails.
The Silver Coast – Coastal Havens, Medieval Wonders, and Rustic Charm
By Terry Coles
Ever dream of sipping wine on your balcony with a view of the Atlantic Ocean in the distance but thought you could never afford it? Or perhaps living in the shadow of a medieval castle is more to your liking? From rolling hills of vegetation to acres of orchards and vineyards, cathedrals, castles, and alluring legends galore make up the history, mystery, and splendor of the Silver Coast. Read more