Caldas da Rainha..
Every day Caldas da Rainha has a lively bustling market in the town square. Return to the old world of the freshest local and regional produce including vegetables, fruit, nuts, cheese, chickens, flowers, sausages and fresh-baked cakes. The cobbled side streets are excellent for clothes shopping with branches of Mango and Etxart & Panno and other well-known retailers. There are dozens of shoe, sports, lingerie, kids, casual and perfume shops and an excellent cinema with new-release films in english shown at the same time as the UK. 1 hour north of Lisbon.
Considered to be one of the jewels of Portugal's national heritage, Óbidos was once the favourite retreat of King Sancho I and was a wedding gift from King Diniz to Queen Isabel. Its unspoilt beauty is retained in its narrow cobbled streets and elegant whitewashed buildings with balconies brimming with flowers. Óbidos has dozens of restaurants, bars and cafes as well as open air opera in the old town square, music festivals and our favourites, the medieval feasts and the chocolate festival! 5 mins southwest of Caldas da Rainha. Fine wine area the most famous being Gaerias and a traditional.
Foz Do Arelho & Nadadouro..
Sitting at the edge of the beautiful turquoise 'Obidos' lagoon these quaint fishing villages still have all the traditional fishermen in their flat-bottomed boats and their catch of prawn, clams and crabs are sold in the local restaurants. Although it is now a protected natural heritage site there are still all the water-based leisure facilities you could wish for as well as surf bars, beach bars, night clubs. Foz do Arelho and Nadadouro have long been the wealthy Lisbon persons choice and their 'weekend' houses around the lagoon certainly live up to that reputation. Building is now quite restrictive to protect the nature of the lagoon. 5mins northwest of Caldas da Rainha.
São Martinho do Porto & Salir do Porto..
Sitting beachfront in the old town of São Martinho do Porto which has been recently renovated with new cobbled pedestrian areas and upmarket shops, bars and cafes. Just around the other side of the bay São Martinho is a lively seaside resort with yellow sands which are cleaned daily, beachbars, cafes, restaurants, beachwear & beachgear shops and and lively nightlife. Old portuguese buildings and new modern apartments all look onto a beautiful bay with boats bobbing on the water in this natural harbour. Salir do Porto sits on the south side of the bay and is much quieter with fantastic views of the bay and within walking distance to São Martinho .
A lively old-style fishing town with fishing boats leaving the harbour every evening and returning to port during the early morning with their catches of seafood and fresh fish. The catches are on sale that day in the big covered market in the centre of town and in the many fish restaurants throughout the town. With excellent waters and beaches around Peniche this is surf-city with annual surfing championships (Baleal). 20 mins southwest of Caldas da Rainha.
Lourinha is in a very attractive area within easy reach of Bombarral, Óbidos, Peniche and Torres Vedras tho' with it's distance from the A8 it is still about an hour from Lisbon. For some time this area has specialised in the production of grape brandy known as "Aguardente" that are only sold after being kept 2 years in oak casks. The town of Lourinha itself has small individual shops reminding us of the days before impersonal concrete shopping malls.
Also an exciting place. Close to all the surf areas on the Silver Coast. In need of a lick of paint in places but it does have some lovely properties and beach cafes and is ideal for holidays as it is only 35 minutes from Lisbon.
Cadaval & Bombarral..
In fantastic agricultural countryside the concelho of Cadaval is home to vineyards producing many good quality wines of the Tejo Valley and is famed for the delicious pears known as pêra rocha and sweet sponge cakes called Pão-de-Ló. With the majestic backdrop of the Montejunto mountain known as the 'Varanda da Estremadura' this is truly beautiful Portuguese countryside. Only 20 minutes from Caldas Da Rainha or the sea at Santa Cruz and 40 mins from Lisbon.
Rio Maior = salt mines, but it is also famed for fine quality wines, chicken with walnuts and bife de novilho (bullock steak). Littered with 16th and 17th century churches to visit, parks & gardens to stroll in and a ruined castle this is a typical Portuguese city in a traditional agricultural and industrial region. Rio Maior holds an annual Onion Fair, a Taverns Fair and a Gastronomical Week to show off it's tasty local produce.