In this region you will find a huge variety of nature, history and culture. There are glacial lakes, spring waters and all kinds of outdoor sports: on land, in the sky or on water.
The Serra da Estrela Natural Park is worth a visit because it boasts clear spring waters at the sources of the rivers Zêzere and Mondego.
If you’re feeling energetic, go to Linhares where you can have a go at paragliding. For natural swimming pools try the Serra da Lousã and the Serra do Açor, and for peaceful footpaths visit the Serra do Caramulo. You will also find opportunities for canoeing and rafting, rock-climbing, abseiling and many other adventure sports. Be sure to spend some time on the Atlantic coastline with its light-colored sand and high waves.
Also in the Centro de Portugal is Coimbra, where you can visit Portugal’s oldest university with its fabulous baroque library.
The region is filled with the history of fierce battles and stories of Portugal’s roots before it became a nation. Get to know historic villages such as Monsanto. Get to know the cities too, such as Guarda or Viseu, dominated by the traditional stone architecture.
This is a region of warm hospitality, offering visitors genuine village tourism. The charm of the people can be seen in the authenticity of their rituals, and their popular religious festivities, such as Easter, but it is also found in their cuisine, with its cheeses, sausages and mountain honey.
There are several ways to discover Aveiro: on board of a typical “moliceiro” boat along the Ria waters, by BUGA (Aveiro free bikes) or simply on foot through the paths of Art Nouveau or of Contemporary Architecture – Aveiro University. Delight yourself with the famous sweet eggs, do alternative shopping at the Mercado Negro and end the day at the square Praça do Peixe, where you will find several restaurants and bars.
In Aveiro there are plenty high quality hotels, ideally located. In the surrounding area of Aveiro, let yourself go in the Nature Reserve Dunas de S. Jacinto, in the Barra and Costa Nova beaches with its enchanting striped colorful houses and visit award-winning Ílhavo Maritime Museum.
Buçaco Luso Curia means Bairrada Wine along with an exceptional gastronomy with the iconic Bairrada suckling pig, as well as thermal stations: Termas do Luso and Termas da Curia. Your visit should include the breathtaking Bussaco Forest with its century-old trees, extremely rare species, the unique Palace Hotel do Bussaco, one of Portugal’s most charismatic hotels, and Bairrada Wine Museum in Anadia.
Coimbra, one of Europe’s most ancient university cities, has plenty to offer: century-old University of Coimbra, Joanine Library, the magnificent Botanical Garden, Santa Cruz Monastery and on the other bank of Mondego river Santa-Clara-a-Velha Monastery and the breathtaking Garden of Quinta das Lágrimas. If you’re travelling with your family, you must enter the fascinating world of Portugal dos Pequenitos (theme park for kids). But Coimbra isn’t only about tradition. It is a modern city with exciting icons such as Mondego Green Park, Pedro & Inês pedestrian bridge and several cool shops! In Coimbra you will find a wide range of high quality hotels. In the surroundings of Coimbra, you must see Conímbriga Roman ruins, the beaches of Figueira da Foz, Casino Figueira and the imposing Montemor-o-Velho castle.
Your visit should start at Rossio square and from there follow the historical streets leading to the magnificent Cathedral square that embraces Misericórdia Church and must-see Grão Vasco Museum. The visit continues to Cava do Viriato, the greatest Lusitanian hero of all times. Viseu is a region of Dão wine and a rich gastronomy steadily dominated by the creativity of a new generation of chefs. Not only in Viseu, but also in the city surroundings you will find high quality hotels. In the surrounding area of Viseu, you can’t possibly miss the Caramulo Car Museum. Surrender to the power of thermal waters of Caldas da Cavaca, Caldas da Felgueira, Termas de Alcafache, Termas do Carvalhal and Termas de S. Pedro do Sul. Golf lovers have at their disposal a 27-hole Golfe Montebelo.
Serra da Estrela is Portugal’s highest peak, 1993m high. There you will find the country’s only skiing and snowboarding station. In Serra da Estrela you have a multiplicity of landscapes, such as Serra da Estrela Nature Park and the glacial valleys of Zêzere, Loriga and Unhais da Serra. You can’t miss the Brea Museum in Seia or Belmonte Jewish Museum, two of Portugal’s most visited museums. Serra da Estrela also means an exquisite gastronomy with the main highlight being Serra da Estrela cheese, a product with protected designation of origin. In this region, you’ll find a wide range of hotels and pousadas that stand out for their quality in a remarkable landscape setting.
The Historical Villages are absolutely unique and inviting! Discover them: Almeida, Belmonte, Castelo Mendo, Castelo Novo, Castelo Rodrigo, Idanha-a-Velha, Linhares da Beira, Marialva, Monsanto, Piódão, Sortelha e Trancoso. Surrounded by imposing landscapes, the Historical Villages are magical testimonies of the passing of the centuries!
Make sure you don’t forget these names: Alfaiates, Almeida, Belmonte, Castelo Bom, Castelo Mendo, Castelo Rodrigo Guarda Idanha-a-Velha, Monsanto, Penamacor, Penha Garcia, Pinhel, Sabugal, Sortelha, Vilar Maior. They will be strongly engraved in your memory.
Água Formosa, Aigra Nova, Aigra Velha, Álvaro, Barroca, Benfeita, Candal, Casal de S. Simão, Casal Novo, Cerdeira, Chiqueiro, Comareira, Fajão, Ferraria de São João, Figueira, Gondramaz, Janeiro de Baixo, Janeiro de Cima, Martim Branco, Pedrógão Pequeno, Pena, Sarzedas, Talasnal, Vila Cova do Alva, Sobral de S. Miguel and Aldeia das Dez. Discover each one of them, explore several schist walking trails and don’t forget to visit the shops with their traditional and modern items.