The castle on the wooded hilltop above Leiria was captured from the Moors by Alfonso Henriques in 1135 and became the royal residence of Dom Dinis in the 14th century. I would imagine that the views from up there would be spectacular looking down over the town and the Rio Lis.
Up on the top over the whole city is the big castle. The view is amazing, as long as you manage to get inside in time. The castle closes at 4 pm, so be sure to be there in time. After the doors are closed you have another hour to visit it, so no problem there.
The cost to enter is low, just around 2 euro, with another fee to enter the tower too. We didny´t and didny´t either feel that it was something we had to do. It was clearly enough with the castle, and the view from it. On top of it you could see all over Leiria, the stadium, the squares and the countryside. Really nice.
Don't expect many surprises in your visit to the castle.
It's an almost empty place, allowing a good view over town. But, in your way up or down notice the curiosity of the only church that I know that has the tower far away from the building. It happens with the cathedral, which also deserves a visit.
In 2006 I knew another church wit a separate tower, in Pula, Croatia but - let me sustain the uncommon - not so distant as this one
For almost 50 years I postponed the idea of climbing this hill and have a look to the sanctuary. It happened now, but I was unlucky - it was closed. However, I didn't regret the effort - the Baroque stairs are simple but nice, in harmonious integration with the chapel form the 16th century.
As expected, the views from the top are great.
Leiria's development has been centered in commerce. The old industrial activities have been successively expelled to the outskirts of the city, or even further (lately... abroad).
A few (really few) signs of that industrial area remain. Are them to keep, saving the old images of the city, or are just waiting for their turn to disappear?
Traffic restrictions put this charming square out of each day's life for most locals, bur this ddn't damage the place, by the opposite.
It's nice to walk in this square, exploring the narrow old street, starting on it, and the remaining shops of the traditional commerce. Cafes and esplanades give good ambiance to the place.
Several times remodelled, this church was about to be demolished, after being sold to the adjacent milling company.
Recently some interesting paintings from the 15th century where displayed, which means that it will survive, being now open to the public.
In the centre of the city a small garden was my first reference when, in 1962, I moved to study in Leiria. That garden remains untouched, in a city where the only green area is the stripe following both sides of the river.
Do you need to book a hotel, you can also rent, for example, my holidayhome. Look therefore at www.pauolo.nl. Newyear in Nazare is also more and more fun every year. You can a lot of info on the internet. The weather is o.k. Most of the time in December we are barbecueing outside out of the wind. The temperature is during the day with sun more than 20 degrees Celcius, without about 15 degrees. Sometime there is also bad weather or a little storm, this goes often away in some days.
Going single is for you o.k., in Portugal it is very safe. Also newyear at the beach is a family matter, is also very safe, but be aware of some groups, bad people are everywere on the whole world. Regards Paul Siero.
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It was in 1998 that these findings were first found. It was already know that Portugal was the last place of living of the Neanderthals but not yet had been discovered a child brought by the mixture of homo sapiens and Neanderthals.
This child is an unique finding which seems to indicate that the Neanderthals were not extinct but interacted and mixed with the homo sapiens.
In the place there is today a small interactive centre with a replica of the sckeleton.
To visit it is better to call before since it is often closed.
At the entrance of town, from south, a small square facing the Palace od Justice and other official buildings is a nice and cool spot, with king Afonso III's statue in the middle.
Why him? I don't know, but why not?
Non planned development turned Leiria's new central square as a confusion of old and new.
Many (small) shopping malls, an old church, one abandoned factory, a Maoist looking statue, and a parking. How to classify it?
Built for the Euro2004 the stadium is inside the center of the town. Right under the castle. It takes 30 000 spectators and is really impressing.
Leiria's cathdral dates to the 15th century and has an impressive high altarpiece by Simone Rodrigues that dates to 1605.
Building, destroying, rebuilding along centuries leads to this situation: all the windows in S Francisco church, in the centre of the city, are different - curious, but not nice...