The city of Caldas da Rainha, known as a city of water and clay, has in its genesis hundreds of years of history associated with thermalism and the arts. One associated with the other, they do not coexist without this symbiosis that remains a dynamic that generates flows of visitors since the 13th century when the place was already hosting pilgrims, and later became a spa destination internationally recognized by the hand of Queen Dona Leonor and its substitutes, or the strength of ceramic production from the 16th century to today. The city is also known for its Superior School of Arts and Design, built in 1998. This legacy, rich in content, personalities, exhibitions, production and curatorship, represents to date, something that is unavoidable in the daily lives of Caldenses and represents an inseparable richness of the identity of the West and the Country in their endogenous culture. With more than 53 designer ceramists today, there are numerous initiatives associated with ceramics. UNESCO’s creative city since October 2019, this city located in the geographical center of the West Region of Portugal excels in the wealth of its heritage and sustainability, from the primary sector to the balanced form of its urban expansion.
What you can’t miss in Caldas da Rainha:
Park D.Carlos I
Do not miss a walk through Parque D. Carlos I. In the summer you can also take a boat trip on the lake or ride a buggy. Inside the park you can also visit the Museum of the Naturalist painter José Malhoa.
José Malhoa Museum
Here you can also find works by Henrique Pinto and Eduardo Malta. The José Malhoa Museum, the first Museum to have a building built from scratch for this purpose, was the result of the donation of Julia Malhoa, the artist's widow from most of the author's works to the land where she was born. Malhoa's works were later joined by others from the same artistic period. It also contains a collection of human scale ceramic statues made by Bordallo Pinheiro, in addition to other ceramic pieces done by the author. How to get there: It is in the center of Parque Dom Carlos I at the top of the swan lake. Price: € 3.00 / person.
From May 1st to September 30th: Tuesday to Saturday, from 10 am to 12:30 pm and from 2 pm to 6 pm Sundays and Holidays from 10 am to 2 pm and from 3 pm to 6 pm
From 1st October to 30th April: Tuesday to Saturday, from 10 am to 12:30 pm and from 2 pm to 5:30 pm Sundays and Holidays from 10 am to 2 pm and from 3 pm to 5:30 pm
Closed: Monday, January 1st, Easter Day, May 1st, May 15th and December 25th.
Fábrica Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro Shop
In the store you have access to a very large collection of Bordalo Pinheiro dishes. Take the opportunity to go up to the second floor to look for some more affordable items in the outlet section. How to get there: It is on Rua Rafael Bordallo Pinheiro next to the Museum of Ceramics.
Praça da Fruta / Fruit Market Square
It is the busiest open air market in the country, it is located in the main square of the city, and it is open every day. Most of the sellers are also small producers, so the vegetables and fruits, all from the West, come from their gardens and orchards and are harvested shortly before being loaded into the vans. Be sure to also take the famous Ramalhosa bread, sold in one of the mobile homes in the square, be it wheat bread (great for making toast throughout the week), or corn bread. How to get there: Praça da Republica.
In a ceramic city, you cannot miss its most representative museum. Installed in a palace of the Visconde de Sacavém, the Museu da Cerâmica has a vast collection of the most representative ceramists in the city – from Maria dos Cacos, to Manuel Mafra or Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro. You can also see works by other renowned Portuguese artists, such as Manuel Cargaleiro or Júlio Pomar. How to get there: It is located at Rua Rafael Bordallo Pinheiro at the top of Parque Dom Carlos I.
May 2nd to September 30th Tuesday to Saturday, from 10 am to 12:30 pm and from 2 pm to 6 pm Sundays and holidays from 10 am to 2 pm and from 3 pm to 6 pm
October 1st to April 30th Tuesday to Saturday, from 10 am to 12:30 pm and from 2 pm to 5:30 pm Sundays and holidays from 10 am to 2 pm and from 3 pm to 5:30 pm
Closes: Monday, January 1st, Easter Sunday, May 1st, May 15th and December 25th.
This Route of gigantic ceramic pieces, replicas of the stereotypical dolls of Bordalo Pinheiro from the end of the century. XIX, it is a different way of getting to know the author’s work in the middle of the urban space, which in the city of Caldas da Rainha finds its maximum exponent.
What you can’t miss in the region:
A visit to the Óbidos Lagoon: the Óbidos Lagoon is the largest salt water lagoon in Europe and a walk along its banks is a must. Go to the small village of Arelho, head towards the lagoon and get lost between walks along the banks. If you are hungry, take a jump to the Musarenhos, sit on the wooden terrace and order some snacks while contemplating the lagoon, right in front. If you like water sports, head towards Foz do Arelho and go around the lagoon until you reach the “Escola de Vela da Lagoa”. Leaning against the water, in addition to quick meals, you can also choose from any number of water activities (canoe, windsurf, boat trips, etc.) and watch an unforgettable sunset. How to get there: Place Vila da Foz do Arelho on the GPS and continue towards the sea on the road until you find the sea. The Óbidos Lagoon flows into the sea.
Beaches of the region
The West region has a vast beach and many beaches that you cannot miss. From the beaches famous for the waves and surf of Peniche, to the giant waves of Nazaré, to the beach of São Martinho do Porto enchanted by its bay or Foz do Arelho, known for its sand as far as the eye can see.
Foz do Arelho
The Óbidos Lagoon and its natural beauty with a sandy beach famous for its beauty. Vacationers love the sea baths. Watch out for chains that are treacherous. You can leave the car at the top of the cliff comfortably and get off by bus to the beach. There are buses that make the route Caldas da Rainha – Foz do Arelho quite frequently and leave the bus station on Rua Heróis da Grande Guerra in Caldas da Rainha.
Where to eat
Gourmet tavern with various snacks from Paulo Feliciano’s farm, always behind the counter. Wine by the glass, festive atmosphere, the favorite place of the locals who like to have a snack. Small and cozy space with an informal atmosphere. On Thursdays there is live music. If you go there for lunch, be sure to check out the bakery opposite, the Forno do Beco, where there are several artisan breads and some Berlin cakes filled at the moment with yolk sweet. How to get there: It is in the city center, right next to the “street of the windows”. Price: 12 € – 30 € person. Reservations: Highly advisable. Closed on Saturday for dinner and Sunday. Phone: 262835089 or directly with Paulo 912583635.
Solar dos Amigos
Typical restaurant famous for meat, octopus and cod mills and excellent siders, with good rustic bread. Good starters but, be careful, do not abuse them because the portions are huge. Half a portion is enough for two adults who like to eat. It is one of the most famous restaurants in the region and is therefore always full, especially on weekends. How to get there: It is in a village 5 km from the city. Attention because payment only in cash. Do not accept MB or credit card. Closed on Wednesday. Price: 15 € to 25 € / person. Advisable to book Phone: 262877135.
Taberna do Manelvina
Known for grilled meat and black pig meat. It has no menu and you pay for the piece. Sit down, order the famous tomato and oregano salad and the french fries and order some roasted sausages to entertain yourself (farinheira, chorizo and black pudding). Then choose the meat that you like best: pig belly, pork loin and black pork chops, chicken (small, “guide” type) or veal loin. At the end, don’t miss the cookies, accompanied by the house liquor! How to get there: It is in a village 7km from the city in Cruzes. Price: 12 € to 25 € / person. Phone: 917221062. Highly advisable to book in advance.
Sabores de Itália
Exquisite Italian food, especially well-made pasta and risottos, from the best pastas you’ll find in Portugal. Formal, comfortable and refined space, the best fine dinning in the city, with matching service. How to get there: It is less than a five-minute walk from the hotel, in Praça 5 de Outubro, in the city center. Closed on Monday. Price: 25 € to 50 € / person. Advisable to book. Phone: 262 845 600.
It is the city’s creative cuisine restaurant, in a relaxed and cosmopolitan space. International food, oriental fusions, craft beers, all at a provincial price. The cafeteria next door serves good sandwiches, hamburgers and fresh juices. There are options for vegetarian dishes. How to get there: It is in the city center, right in front of the City Hall and next to the Church. Search the Praça 25 de Abril. Price: 20 € to 30 € / person. Reservations: Advisable on Friday and Saturday nights. Phone: 262 841 483.
The Cistercian Monastery of Santa Maria de Alcobaça of 1127 is one of the UNESCO exclibris in the Region. The cathedral is from the proto-Gothic period, that is, from an austere and sober Gothic, being very innovative for the time, brought by the Cistercian order to Portugal through the warrior monk Bernardo de Claraval, when Dom Afonso Henriques conquered the territory. The patron saint of Alcobaça is São Bernardo. The Cistercian monks were instrumental in the development of agriculture in the region. Not to be missed is the chapter room, the cafeteria and the kitchen with one of the tallest chimneys in Portugal.
Where to eat
Good starters and good Portuguese food in a charismatic restaurant in the region. Chicken in Púcara is the typical dish of the city, and here it is very good. In addition to this specialty, black pork and rosemary secrets are recommended. Reservation advisable. How to get there: R. Dom Mauro Cocheril 27, Alcobaça Price: € 20.00 to € 35.00 / person. Reservations: Reservations are advised. Phone: 262 582 295.
The medieval village of Óbidos is known for its castle that originated in the 12th century. The Legend of Moura says that the castle was taken by the knights of Gonçalo Mendes da Maia on a night of January 11, 1148. Dom Afonso Henriques had taken Lisbon after the siege of 1147. After going north, he conquered the Castle of Óbidos to the Moorish Alcaide and the legend says that they entered through the door of the East, in other words, the window where the daughter of the Alcaide was contemplating the moon. Suddenly the knights of Gonçalo Mendes da Maia disguised as ginjeiras take the castle by surprise, when the Alcaide, upon realizing the onslaught, suspected that they had let them in and shouted “Betrayal!!! Betrayal!!! This door became known as the door of Betrayal. Do not miss the Church of Santa Maria, the right street, the way around the castle walls and the various viewpoints.
A visit to the Óbidos Castle
Enter the most picturesque castle in Portugal and be enchanted by its medieval style. On the main street you cannot miss visiting the bookstore and organic market. It is also mandatory to drink the famous cherry in a chocolate cup. However, go discovering the small streets of the Castle and get lost in its nooks, stairs and flower boxes. Throughout the year there are several events not to be missed: the famous Chocolate Festival, Medieval Market, Óbidos International Piano Week and Vila Natal, ending at the literary festival, the Folio.
Where to eat
A Nova Casa de Ramiro
The best restaurant in Óbidos confirmed by thousands of tourists in the last 4 years. It presents a varied menu of innovative food where the good ingredients and their combinations are surprising. Some Duck Magrêt with cherry sauce or black tenderloin for 2 people are some of the suggestions. Fresh fish with salt or Bacalhau à Nova Casa will surprise you with its freshness and mastery of preparation. How to get there: Rua da Porta do Vale nº2 in Óbidos in front of the Hotel Real d’Óbidos Price: The price varies with options from the cheapest to the most expensive ones. 35,00 € to 50,00 € per person Reservations: Mandatory to book if here you want a place. Phone: 262958324.
On this beach well known by surfers, it is not only Baleal and Praia dos Super Tubos that are a tourist attraction. To visit you can go to Cabo Carvoeiro where you can take the opportunity to visit the rocky cliffs and the view to Berlengas Island. There are boats leaving in high season every hour towards Berlenga Island.
How to get there: To find the boat that will take you to Berlenga Island, please go to Peniche Marina.
Prices: In Berlenga Island you can visit its fort and take the opportunity to visit the beach and the island.
Back in Peniche fortress, you can visit the Resistance Museum, a place where prisoners of the Salazar regime were held for decades. Don't forget to bring a hat, sun protection and water. (Required as there are no trees on the island).
Where to eat
Marisqueira dos Cortiçais
Here you can enjoy a seafood rice, a cataplana or fresh grilled fish. The view is favorable to linger and even though the service is exceptional, Marisqueira dos Cortiçais is known for its diverse sea products. How to get there: Look for Porto D′Areia Sul, 2520-244 Peniche on the GPS. It will be easy to find. Price: Between € 35.00 to € 50.00 per person. Reservations: It is advisable to book. Phone: 262787262.
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