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COASTAL BEIRAS
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COASTAL BEIRAS  map
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regional overview

Stretching from Porto to Figueira da Foz, the Coastal Beiras cover Portugal's central region. This area is also referred to as the Silver Coast, with never-ending beaches, impressive surf and lagoons. Not surprisingly, it is an excellent area for surfing and kayaking. Inland, a coastal strip gives way to steep scarps and forested foothills. Here, there are great conditions for white-water-rafting and kayaking. It is also good hiking and mountain-biking territory. Roman ruins, natural spas, a university town, coastal ports and wine regions also make this an ideal place for those in search of culture and leisure.

properties in COASTAL BEIRAS

With its rural and provincial nature, stretching inland from long beaches and lagoons to bucolic country settings and rugged inland mountains, the Coastal Beiras are an ideal place to find charming country homes, cottages and manor house B&Bs. Many of these are in village settings- very peaceful and ideal for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Surfing, hiking, cycling, mountain biking, kayaking, swimming in rivers, fishing, mountaineering, paragliding, abseiling and horse-riding are often close by. For those looking for culture, head up to schist rock villages, the Dão wine region, the lagoon and salt-pan town of Aveiro and the old university town of Coimbra.

the great outdoors

The Coastal Beiras are a good place for outdoor enthusiasts. Great surfing conditions can be found along most of the Beiras coastline, with a choice between desolate beaches and the popular spot of Figueira da Foz. For kayaking and sailing in more protected waters, between artisanal fishermen and salt pans, the lagoon at Aveiro is ideal. Walkers will enjoy the hills of the interior, some gentle and forested, as around Buçaco, others more challenging and remote as in the Serras de Arada, Açor and Lousã. The Paiva river has Portugal's best white-water rafting and the Mondego has a bucolic setting for kayaking.

historic towns & local culture

The medieval university town of Coimbra attracts many visitors to the region, with its cathedrals and ancient mansions on the Mondego river. On the coast, behind salt pans on the lagoon, is Aveiro with its canals and colourful boats which bring in shrimp and crabs. Even older is Conimbriga, the most important Roman site in Portugal, with old walls, foundations and ruined villas. The rest of the region is populated with small farming towns and, up in the hills, medieval stone villages. A must here is trying the local wines and traditional rustic cuisine in a rustic mountain restaurant.

best times to visit

If you want to join in the celebrations with graduating university students, come to the Queima das Fitas in Coimbra in May. In July, there is a medieval fair in Santa Maria da Feira and a seafood festival in Aveiro. Throughout the summer there are also the traditional Saints day festivities throughout the region. Weather-wise, May to October has the warmest and driest weather, rain-free for most of the time. Spring and Autumn are mainly sunny, with temperatures in the 20s, occasional bursts of rain and cool crisp evenings, especially in the hills.

getting there & around

Porto is the closest international airport, between 20 and 90 minutes away by car from locations in the Coastal Beiras. However, Lisbon is also an option, especially for the southern part of the region, which is 90 minutes away by car. Several motorways and main roads cross the region north-south and east-west, making getting around very easy. If visiting Coimbra, an alternative to driving is catching the express Alfa train between Porto and Lisbon, with a stop in Coimbra. Local trains which stop off at small towns and give you a chance to see local life are also a fun way to get around.
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