Central Portugal

Central Portugal is a beautiful, diverse region containing everything from beaches along the west coast to skiing in the Serra da Estrela (“Mountain range of the Star”) mountains. In between are forests and valleys, and some of Portugal’s most charming towns and cities.
Central Portugal runs from the Douro River in the north to the Tagus River and includes the provinces of Aveiro, Coimbra, Viseu, Guarda and Castelo Branca. The city of Coimbra is a very popular one for visitors, as it features one of the oldest universities in Europe. Not far from Coimbra is the small town of Luso, known for a hot springs and spa, and also for the nearby palace of Buçaco. The Roman ruins of Conímbriga are not far from Coimbra as well. Aveiro is another city with a long history: the Romans called it “Aviarium,” which means “aviary.” Often referred to as “Portugal’s Venice,” it is known for its canals and waterways. While there, check out the 15th century Convento de Jesús, which has been converted into the city museum.
Two hours from Coimbra is Viseu, another very old town which features several museums and points of interest including the Grão Vasco Museum, dedicated to one of Portugal’s most famous Renaissance painters.