No tourist destination in itself, Covilha offers little for the tourist other than a place to stopover and get out of the next day. We did take our daily walk and will share with you what we saw.
The first photo is of the statue of Pedro da Covilha, town founder.
The second photo shows some of the beautiful tile work done on the buildings.
The third photo shows the ramp leading up into the old section of town, only a few minutes walk from the more modern downtown.
The fourth photo shows some of the tiled roofs in the older sections of town.
The last photo the condition of many of the buildings in the older section of town, this one at a corner was especially bad, guess too many drunk drivers "miss" that corner, or would that be better said that they do NOT MISS and run directly into it.
Favorite thing: This map shows the location of Covilha, about 2/3 of the way up along the Spanish border, starting from the south. On this day we took in the Serra da Estrela mountains just to the west of Covilha after we had had an amazing tour of the boulder-strewn village of 'Monsanto' and while we were enroute between our pre-booked accommodations in Castelo Branco and our next stop in 'Guarda'.
Favorite thing: The wool manufactories have been a determinant factor on the growth of this city a few centuries ago. Since these manufactories need water, the city grew along 2 water streams. Also, they have become the most important economic activity of this place – I think I may say that this city used to live on the wools. The wool manufactory, that is nowadays the Museum, used to produce fabrics for the army’s clothes and still more important - for the Kings and Queens and all their court. Nowadays the Wool Museum is on of the best of its kind (worldwide) and the only one in Portugal.
Favorite thing: Covilhã is a city built on the slopes of the mountain, meaning that most streets are not plain, you should be prepared to walk up and down a lot. My favourite part of the city it’s the interesting historical city centre, where you will find some beautiful churches and the town hall. This seems the bustling centre of city, and everything seems to happen from here. Other residential neighbourhoods built in recent years (eighties I guess) don’t seem so interesting, I must confess, as the city grew a lot and not in a beautiful way, I think. But the city is undergoing a refurbishment program, so let’s all hope it becomes more interesting in couple of months. Still, there are some old neighbourhoods left, and even though most houses are not well kept, driving or walking through those neighbourhoods will get you in contact with friendly locals.
On this beautiful mountain region, several routes were lined in order to guide visitors. Covilhã is part of 2 of those routes:
. Portuguese Discoveries route: an important Portuguese sailor was born in Covilhã, actually seems as he is named after the city since his name is Pêro da Covilhã. He was the first European explorer of the Indian, Arab and African coasts; he kind of “prepared” Vasco da Gama famous achievement: the sea route to India.
. Old Jewish Villages route: a long time ago, Covilhã used to have a significant Jewish community living in same neighbourhood. Only remains visible of this neighbourhood, which used to have beautiful houses, are 2 windows of Manueline style, a typical Portuguese style from the Discoveries epoch.
Favorite thing: In Covilhã you may find a Tourism Office that will not only provide information on this city but also on the Serra da Estrela Region. The office is closed on Sundays and lunch break. The phone number is (+351) 275 322 170.
Favorite thing: Covilhã is located is the interior of mainland Portugal, on a mountainous area. It is situated in the Castelo Branco district. Covilhã is about 270km from Lisbon and from there till the border with Spain it’s only 85km.
Visit the small towns near Covilha like OURONDO,CASEGAS and PAUL!!!
It's great to see these small towns and how they live!! Plus it's relaxing to stay here than the cities!
Fondest memory: I went to Serra da Estrela which is the highest mountain in Portugal and it's so nice their. But I will tell you now, please wear a jacket even if you go in the summer. It is very cold their.