Stretching from Leiria in the south to Aveiro, this is an unspoilt area with many isolated sandy beaches and the famous University City of Coimbra. To the east of the region the high mountains of Serra da Estrela and the untouched areas close to the Spanish border, offer a vastly different atmosphere.It is a mountainous region, which past invaders found difficult to conquer: evidence can be seen today in some of the remote old fortified villages time seems to have stopped. A relatively unknown region of the country, it definitely is "off the beaten track". Ideal for those seeking something different, it is also ideal for riding, fishing, rambling, canoeing, or enjoy the traditional cuisine and fine wines or simply rest at a Spa!
This province covers many interesting regions such as Alto Támega. Trás-os-Montes, Douro Sol, Serra do Maráo, Serra da Estrela and Dáo-Lafôes.
Places to Visit
Aveiro: In an area called Rota da Luz (route of light), Aveiro is an important port and enthralling little city. There are interesting canals (try an excursion) and the architecture is a mixture of baroque, art deco and art nouveau.
Anadia: Visit a wine cellar in their famous wine growing region of Bairrada.
Bussaco: A National Park with 700 different varieties of flora including exotic plants from Asia and the Far East, and some very old trees.
Coimbra: An ancient university town, famous for its twisting streets, terraced houses and particular style of Fado music. Visit the magnificent library at the University.
Conimbriga: Fine Roman remains of the 1st century A.D.
Curia: A spa resort.
Figueira da Foz: A modern seaside resort with superb beach.
Lousâ: A stately town set in thick woods that has long attracted artists and architects - ideal for rambling.
Penacova: Taking the route from Coimbra, you will find that around every bend is a charming view. Down below is the River Mondego and the small town of Penacova which nestles half way up the slope.
Vila Nova de Poiares: A beautiful valley to savour.
Castelo Branco: This lovely medieval town is the Capital of the region, Lower Beira, famous for silk-embroidered bedspreads. Belver Castle is well worth a visit.
Caramulo: A former Spa town, has a famous museum of vintage cars, Bugattis, Rolls-Royces, Mercedes etc. and it’s art collection containing works by Picasso, Dali and other modern masters.
Covilhá: Built on steep terraces on the mountain side, it is the eastern gateway to the Serra da Estrela. Do sample the cheese of the region.
Monsanto: The most "Portuguese" village in Portugal.
Sâo Pedro do Sul: A popular base for exploring the beautiful wooded hills in the immediate vicinity.
Viseu: A town of beguiling charm, with its handsome Burgher’s Houses and Palaces with little nooks and corners, it is also often called the "City of Golden Pines" because of the forests that surround it. The famous Dâo wines come from this region.