Castelo de Vide is quite off the beaten track very near the spanish border.
It´s a very prety and interesting town though that used to be the enter of the jewish community in Portugal and it is also the birthplace os Salgeiro Maio who was one of the young captains from the portugese armey that was behind the peaceful revolution in 1974.
Castelo de Vide is situated on a mountain top and has a castle residing on top of town and the streets and narrow and winding and the town is a real treat to visit.
You have various types of acomodation there, so you can stay overnight in town if you feel like and i would recommend that.
The coast in Leiria area is wild, with several nice beaches, allowing different programs only with a few minutes driving or just walking. The landscape is beautiful, with a few endemic vegetal species
Bombarral is not a top destination, but it is located close to Lisbon, in a touristy route that leads to Obidos, Alcobaça, Nazaré and the other main attractions int the centre of Portugal. Thus, it may be an option to a brief stop, and a look "of the beaten path", for instance visiting "Quinta dos Loridos". My Bombarral page may help.
This is a lovely Art Deco café from the Belle Epoque. One of the three remaining cafes of its kind in Europe after Prague and Budapest (the one in Paris does not exist anymore). It is in downtown. Just for curiosity you should visit it and order a cup of tea to appreciate its charm. It was a meeting point of poets and artists in the twenties of the XX century.
Rua de Santa Catarina 112
Montemor-o-Novo has constructed the future anchored in its historical, rich past of memories. There it cements its identity and it is clear its force and difference face to all the other places of the World. An identity that affirms its presence in the Alentejo, region where the Man molded and knew to keep in long of the times a "language", a culture, an architecture, only in the country and the Europe. Another world, another rhythm.
The beautiful Arabic sounding name of Alandroal betrays the town's cultural roots. Its origins are proudly emblazoned on the city coat of arms, which shows that it belongs to the Order of Aviz. You may like to take a walk from the hill fort of Castelo Velho through the historical center of Terena to the ruins of the Castle of Juromenha. If your visit coincides with the first Sunday after Easter, you should stop to see the festival of Nossa Senhora da Boa Nova at the sanctuary of the same name
Portugal's third-largest city after Lisbon and Porto, Coimbra has about 430,000 inhabitants in its metropolitan area. The city was founded on a hill overlooking the Mondego River, and the impressive historical buildings on the hill's summit form a skyline that is an iconic symbol of the city.
The area that would one day become Coimbra was first settled by Germanic peoples from about 465 to 468 A.D. The Romans occupied the area from 586 to 640 A.D., but the town never prospered under their rule, nor did they leave any significant monuments. The town only began to flourish under the Moors, who moved into the area in 711 A.D. It became a trading center between the Muslim south and the Christian north. The Moors called the settlement Qulumriyah, which was eventually corrupted by the Portuguese into Coimbra.
The town was taken from the Moors by Ferdinand the Great in 1064. The first king of Portugal, King Alfonso Henriques later moved his capital from Guimarães to Coimbra, which served as the nation's capital until 1255.
During the Middle Ages, the city was divided between the upper city, or Cidade Alta, and the lower city, or Cidade Baixa. The aristocracy and members of the clergy lived in Cidade Alta, and Cidade Baixa was the home of the lower classes and the center of trade and commerce. Nowadays, Cidade Alta contains most of the city's great buildings and monuments, and Cidade Baixa is characterized by narrow, cobbled streets.
Coimbra is also home to Portugal's largest and oldest university. The University of Coimbra was founded in 1290, but was not permanently established in Coimbra until 1537. It is one of the oldest universities in Europe, and is the oldest university in the Portuguese-speaking world. The university is located on a hill overlooking Coimbra, and forms a distinctive part of the city's skyline.
Like its neighbor, Estoril, Cascais is popular with the young international crowd. The town became a fashionable resort in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when King Luís I moved his summer palace there. The royal presence attracted members of the Portuguese aristocracy, who built magnificent vacation villas in the surrounding hills, transforming the town into a resort area. Nowadays, fashionable shops and restaurants line the pedestrian streets of the town.
Cascais is about 19 miles (30 kilometers) from Lisbon, and is part of that city's greater metropolitan area. It is home to many members of the Portuguese monied elite, and is therefore one of the richest municipalities in the country.
Cascais was first settled in the twelfth century, at which time it became an important fishing port. During the Middle Ages, the town benefitted from maritime commerce, since it was a port of call for ships on their way to Lisbon. At the same time, the Cascais area was a center for agriculture, producing wine, olive oil, grains, and fruits.
In 1488, King João II built a fortress on the town's harbor as part of a defensive line of fortresses protecting the sea approaches to Lisbon. It was taken by Spanish forces in 1580, which led to the union of the Portuguese and Spanish crowns. The fortress and town were also occupied by the French during Napolean's invasion of Portugal in 1807.
The fortress was converted into a royal summer residence by King Luís I in 1870. Because of the royal presence, many improvements to the basic infrastructure of Cascais were carried out, including construction of better roads to Lisbon and Sintra, and the building of a casino and bullring. Cascais was also the first town in Portugal to have electric lights.
The town's main square (pictured here) is the Largo 5 de Outubro.
The resort town of Estoril is located about 18 miles (29 kilometers) west of Lisbon, near the mouth of the Tagus River on the Atlantic coast. Its casino and cultural and sporting events attract visitors from all over the world.
The area that would one day become Estoril was first inhabited by the Phoenicians. They were followed by the Romans who settled in the area around 2,000 years ago, and then the Moors occupied the town until they were expelled during the reconquest in the twelfth century.
In the centuries that followed, Estoril became a major fishing port. However, it was a sleepy village with little or no recognition from the outside world. Estoril first became popular at the turn of the twentieth century for its therapeutic spring waters. And in the years before the Second World War, businessman Fausto Cardoso de Figueiredo and his partner Augusto Carreira de Sousa built the Casino Estoril and developed the town into a seaside resort.
During the Second World War, Allied and Axis spies were drawn to neutral Portugal. They engaged in international espionage and secret diplomacy. This brought about an atmosphere of intrigue and mystery to the town. The war caused the downfall of most of Europe's monarchies, and Estoril became a place of exile for many European kings and aristocrats, among them Miklós Horthy, the regent of Hungary; King Juan Carlos I of Spain; and King Carol II of Romania. The presence of royalty and aristocracy set the stage for the town's current sophistication and cosmopolitanism.
Nowadays, Estoril is a seaside playground for Portugal's elite and the international jet set. International cultural and sporting events attract visitors from all over the world. Some of the major events staged in Estoril include the Estoril Fashion Festival, the Estoril Open de Portugal (tennis), the Estoril Circuit (motorsports), the Audi Med Cup (sailing), the Estoril Surf Girls (women's surfing), the Estoril Golf Open, and the International Lusitano Horse Fair.
The Largo da Portagem is in the center of Coimbra's bustling commercial district in the lower city, or Cidade Baixa. It means "Place of the Gateway", as it served as a gateway from the Cidade Baixa to the upper city, or Cidade Alta. The square is dominated by a statue of Joaquim António de Aguiar, the prime minister of Portugal from 1808 to 1817.
The Largo da Portagem is a logical place to start a tour of Coimbra. The Rua Ferreira Borges leads from the square into the old quarter of the city. The local tourist office is also located here, and is a good place to get helpful information about the sights and history of Coimbra.
Once a small fishing village, Albufeira has become a major tourist destination on Portugal's Algarve coast. Tourists are attracted by the town's three beaches, Peneco, Pescadores, and Inatel. These beaches are characterized by soft white sand, and are sheltered by steep rocky cliffs. Crowds of tourists sunbathe on the beaches during the day and frequent the restaurants, bars, and discotheques at night. In my opinion, the crowds and bland hotel buildings have spoiled what would otherwise be a picturesque and quaint village.
Albufeira was originally settled by the Romans, who called their town Baltum. The Roman occupation is evident in remains of roads, bridges, and aqueducts that can still be seen. The area was eventually conquered by the Moors, who called the town Al-Buhera, which means "Castle of the Sea", and referred to a fortress they built on an outcrop overlooking the bay. In 1249, the Moors were expelled during the Christian reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula. Albufeira then became part of the Kingdom of Portugal.
In the nineteenth century, the town became a center for the fishing industry that arose along the Algarve coast. Albufeira was discovered by the tourism industry in the 1960s, and since then there have been massive development projects beyond the old part of town, and the Praia dos Barcos (where fishermen still take to the sea in their small boats), in which dozens of huge hotels, restaurants, bars, discotheques, and other facilities that cater to the tourist trade were built.
Convent of Christ in Tomar
Monastery of Batalha
Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belem in Lisbon
Historic Centre of Evora
Monastery of Alcobaça
Cultural Landscape of Sintra
Historic Centre of Porto
The Azores is a group of vulcanic islands that are part of Portugal.
They are situated in the middle of the Atlantic ocean almost half the way to North America and this is really "Portugal off the beaten track".
It´s a really interesting place though and well worth a visit.
Especially if you like the outdoors and the sea.
The Azores is also a very good spot for whale watching so if this has your interest then you should visit the Azores.
Because of the islands isolation they have many plants and trees that are endemic to the islands and the people here are a facinating mix of people who have migrated from various places around the globe.
The Azores is not the place you go for nightlife and shopping, but if you like the outdoors and don´t mind that the weather can be a little unsteady then this is really a nice place to go.
Viana Do Castelo is a small seaside town in northen Portugal situated between Porto and the spanish border.
It was the town that had most of the trade with Brazil when that was a part of the portugse empire and there are still many traces of that.
The town lost importance when Brazil declared independance and french pirates also looted the town several times and it lost it´s importance.
It is a wonderful little town though and very popular with portugese holiday makers and you should certainly make a stop there if you have the chance.
Valenca is a small town in the very north of Portugal right by the spanish border.
It´s a very charming old town with an old fortress and the old city walls still very intact.
The view up there is really nice and strolling around the little streets of Valence is pure joy.
This is also in the region where they make the famous portugese green wine and you can buy it all over the old town, both in cafes and in shops.
I have a been there a couple of times and never seen that many foreign tourists.
It seems to be mostly a town that local portugese and spanish visit for the day, so do like the locals and go to Valenca.
Great weekend. Best hotel in Lisbon for gardens and outside pool 5* and so not cheap. Excellent...more
The Meridien Park Atlantic is a very nice hotel, with all the comforts that you would expect for 5...more
Calheta has a marvelous marina and have the only beach of yellow sand. It´s situated in the West...more
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