FOZ DO ARELHO
The beach of Foz do Arelho is our favourite beach and it is no coincidence that it is the closest beach to the villa. This beach is located at the entrance of the Óbidos lagoon, which is shallow in a lot of places. An ideal spot for your children to play. At the lagoon in Nadadouro there is also a water sports club. The Ocean is more popular with experienced surfers. Off-season the lagoon is very popular with kitesurfers. In Foz do Arelho you will find a lot of bars and restaurants.
This picturesque, car-free village is completely surrounded by battlements from the 14th century. It is nice to stroll down the narrow cobbled streets. On top of the hill there is a castle, which is now a pousada (hotel). There are a lot of things to do in every season. From mid July until the beginning of August there is a medieval market. From the end of November until the beginning of January Óbidos becomes a Christmas village with a lot of activities, such as ice skating, a slide, a carousel,...
In Peniche you can visit the 16th century fortress which was used as a prison during the dictatorship of Salazar. As Peniche is the second largest fishing port of Portugal, you will find here a lot of good fish restaurants. From Peniche you can go for a boat ride to the Berlenga islands. There you can hike, swim or admire the sea birds who nest on the islands on a massive scale. 2 km from Peniche is Baleal, with its nice beaches and also popular with surfers.
Nazaré is a rather crowded seaside place in summer with a large beach. You can go the Sítio, on top of the cliffs, with the cable car to enjoy a stunning view on Nazaré and its surroundings. On the other side of the rock there is the famous Praia do Norte, where international surf championships are being held in fall and winter. Sometimes the waves are so high that many records are being broken. Try one of the many fish restaurants in Nazaré.
SÃO MARTIHO DO PORTO
São Martinho do Porto is a lively seaside place at a shell-shaped bay. During the summer holidays there are a lot of activities. For youngsters there is an inflatable castle on the water. There are a lot of good restaurants as well. From São Martinho you can walk to Salir do Porto through the white sand dunes, on a wooden path.
CALDAS DA RAINHA
Caldas da Rainha means "hot springs of the queen". In this small city it is nice to wander the streets around the Praça da República. Take a walk in the park, where you can row a boat, or where children can play in the playground. The city is famous for its earthenware and ceramics. On the Praça da República you can buy fresh fruit and vegetables at the daily market and fresh fish in the fish market. There is also a small shopping centre near the park.
The monastery of the Dominicans of Batalha is a masterpiece of Portuguese Gothic style. Is was built to commemorate the victory of the Portuguese over the Spanish in the 14th century. This monastery is Unesco World Heritage. In the same monastery two unknown soldiers from the First World War are buried. A few times a day you can attend the changing of the guards. You can also admire here the "Christ of the Trenches".
In Alcobaça you will find the largest church of Portugal, next to the Cistercian monastery of Santa Maria. In the church Inêz de Castro and Peter I are buried, the Portuguese Romeo and Juliet. The kitchen in this monastery is very impressive. It is 18 metres high, and underneath flows a tributary of the Alcôa. This monastery is also on the list of Unesco World Heritage. On Sundays there is a flea market on the square in front of the monastery. Or go and taste one of the many typical Portuguese pastries in the Pastelaria Alcôa.
DINO PARQUE LOURINHA
This brand new park is a must-visit with children. Here you can admire more than 120 models of dinosaurs on real scale. It is no coincidence that the park has been built on this particular location. In this region a lot of dinosaur fossiles have been found. You can see a selection of these in the museum space just before you enter the park. There is a playground for young children where they can excavate fossiles in the sand. Older children can show their paleontology skills by cutting a skeleton or a fossile out of a rock.
BUDDHA EDEN BOMBARRAL
This wonderful garden of 35 hectares, situated between olive groves and vineyards, is certainly worth a visit. Next to beautiful plants and flowers, you will also see Asian, African and modern sculptures. Actually the domain belongs to the Quinta dos Loridos, a wine estate. Before you leave the garden, you can taste and buy the wines from the quinta.
When you can't get enough from the cultural offer in the region, we can certainly recommend following excursions:
- Lisbon: the city at the Tagus river, with its cosy streets and wide boulevards, authentic restaurants and bars, but also trendy venues, the new part with the Oceanarium, etc. You can go to Lisbon on a day trip, but you can also spend some extra days in the city.
- Sintra: at about an hour and twenty minutes drive, you will find this magical place. Here you can visit a few palaces, for example the Palácio Nacional, with its two distractive chimneys, and the Palácio da Pena. In Sintra you can take the bus or a "tuk-tuk" to visit these beautiful palaces.
- Mafra: the Palácio-Convento of Mafra, an impressive baroque palace and monastery.
- Coimbra: the university city, and in the neigbourhood Conimbriga, the largest Roman settlement of Portugal.
- Tomar: Convento de Cristo, with a castle of the Knigths Templar.
- Fátima: Portugal's Holy City