In the interior of the country, there are mountains and villages of granite and schist, by the sea, fishing villages and cosmopolitan beaches with water sports set the pace of the day. Centuries old heritage proudly displays the history of the region. Serra da Estrela, the highest peak in mainland Portugal, is the star of the mountains, with its endless landscapes and glacial lagoons. Discover the beauty by hiking or by bike. You can also try rock climbing, abseiling, rafting or canoeing in crystal clear waters that rise from the thermal springs. The culinary cuisine is a connoisseur’s delight. Cheese and sausages, bouillabaisses and roast suckling pig, honey and convent sweets and excellent wines from the demarcated regions are all the product of people, genuinely welcoming in receiving their visitors with the best they have to offer.
Situated on a hillside next to the River Tagus, Abrantes has an immense panoramic view of most of the River Tagus, and extending to the Lower Beira, the Ribatejo and the Alentejo. It was in Abrantes that the Moors built a castle, which was captured by Dom Afonso Henriques, the first King of Portugal, and donated to the Religious and Military Order of Santiago de Espada (St James of the Sword) for defence and settlement. Abrantes is a peaceful town and it’s best to see it while walking around the whitewashed houses, considered to have the richest floral decoration in the whole country. Sweet treats abound and the Tigeladas (egg, flour and sugar pancakes cooked in the oven) are a desirable treat.
All roads in this ancient settlement lead up to the hilltop granite castle. A document dated 1258 describes the construction: the lofty donjon, walls, bulwarks and the noble residence. Breaking this austere design, on the western wall, there is a fine twinned Manueline window finished with the symbols of Manuel, the armillary sphere and the shield of the Cabral family with its two goats. Next to the castle is a Roman-gothic church and inside you will find a granite statue of Piety that’s impressive for its crude beauty, fitting well into the harmonious simplicity of this church.