is a region which includes 3 provinces, Beira Litoral,
Beira Alta and Beira Baixa, but
it is the wooded coastal strip that holds most appeal for tourists.
Portugal’s third-largest city, Coimbra boasts one of the oldest
universities in the world and is characterised by twisting streets
and its terraced houses. Worth visiting are the University,
the magnificent Romanesque Cathedral (Sé),
the Art Museum housed in the former Bishop’s
Palace and the 12th-century Monastery of the Holy Cross. Coimbra
is also renowned as a centre of Fado, traditional
Portuguese folk music.
Aveiro, the ‘Venice of Portugal’,
is a fishing port surrounded by salt flats, beaches and lagoons,
and dissected by three canals. Torreira is a typical
fishing village, lying between ocean and lagoon, which can be reached
by boat from Aveiro.
da Foz is a small but growing resort with an excellent
surfing beach and casino. Anadia, the centre of
the wine-growing region of Bairrada, offers tastings in its cellars.
At Conimbriga, fine Roman mosaics dating from the
first century AD can be seen. Buçaco is
renowned locally for its ‘enchanted forest’, cultivated
by the Carmelite monks who arrived here in the 17th century.
Pinhal do Rei is a beautiful pine forest with
walking trails and some pristine beaches. Viseu,
an impressively sited medieval town with a cathedral and bishops’
palace and now a museum, lies in a part of the country best known
for its Dão wine.
There are spas located at Curia, Luso and São
Pedro do Sul. Serra da Estrêla is
a natural park, with mountain scenery best appreciated from the