The Centre of Portugal is a mainly plateau region carved in schist and granite. It’s crisscrossed by river valleys and surrounded by several mountain ranges where the scenery is plentiful of pine and eucalyptus forests. Inland, forestry plays an important role among rural areas. Also noteworthy are the agricultural and livestock production - especially in the valleys of Mondego and Vouga - as well as the milk production sector.
The northern region is located in the International Douro Natural Park, famous for the cliffs of the valleys of the Douro and Águeda rivers.
The landscape was greatly influenced by the last glacial period, with U-shaped valleys and hills with smooth tops, used for pastures. This is the home of the most famous cheese in the country - Queijo da Serra.
Among all the mountain ranges, Serra da Estrela stands out. It includes the highest point in mainland Portugal, at 1993 meters. The mountain range is part of the largest protected area in the country: the Serra da Estrela Natural Park. Located at the top of the mountain range is the Vodafone Ski Resort, the only sky resort in the country.
Between the towns of Penamacor and Sabugal stands the Natural Reserve of Serra da Malcata – created to serve as a sanctuary for the Iberian lynx, a species in extreme danger of extinction.
Further South, beyond the International Tagus Natural Park is the Geopark Meseta Meridional, with wide plains broken by inselberge and quartzite ridges, adorned with cork and holm oak trees and sweetened by cereal production, almost like a Ceres mantle.
This region also includes a wide coastal stretch where we find fishing villages and extensive beaches.
The climate varies strongly between rainy and cold winters – sometimes even with snow – and dry and warm summers.
Viseu, Aveiro, Guarda, Covilhã, Coimbra, Castelo Branco, Leiria.
The best beaches are in Espinho, Ovar, Murtosa, Aveiro, Ílhavo, São Pedro de Moel, Figueira da Foz, Nazaré, Peniche.
Sé de Viseu, Castelo de Lamego, Catedral de Lamego, Palácio do Buçaco, Convento de Arouca, Gravuras Rupestres do Cabeço das Pombas, Catedral da Guarda, Castelo da Guarda, Castelo de Trancoso, Castelo de Sabugal, Castelo de Linhares da Beira, Castelo de Castelo Rodrigo, Castelo de Pinhel, Sé Velha de Coimbra, Sé Nova de Coimbra, Universidade de Coimbra, Mosteiro de Santa Clara-a-Nova, Mosteiro de Santa Clara-a-Velha, Quinta das Lágrimas e Fonte dos Amores, Ruínas Romanas de Conimbriga, Castelo de Castelo Branco, Castelo de Monsanto, Ruínas Romanas de Centum Cellas, Castelo de Belmonte, Castelo de Idanha-a-Velha, Mosteiro da Batalha, Castelo de Leiria, Castelo de Óbidos, Mosteiro de Alcobaça, Grutas de Mira de Aire, Convento de Cristo em Tomar, Castelo Templário de Tomar, Santuário de Fátima, Castelo de Abrantes…
Soups: Fish soups
Fish and Seafood: Seafood and fresh fish (on the coast), whelk bean stew, stews and bouillabaisses, eel (Aveiro), cod (Ílhavo), grilled trout (inland), cod and sardine balls ...
Meat: Piglet (Anadia and Bairrada), roast veal Lafões-style (Viseu), pork prepared in different ways - bucho recheado (pork loin haggis) and maranhos (Portuguese pork, goat and rice haggis), and a variety of typical sausages (Castelo Branco), roast lamb, lamb and goat chanfana (casserole), cooked slowly in red wine. (in mountainous areas), rice with duck ...
Fruit and Sweet: soft eggs from Aveiro, egg chestnuts in Viseu, pão de-ló (a type of sponge cake) from Ovar, sweet rice, Cavacas, pastries from Tentúgal, Vouzela and Santa Clara in Coimbra
Other: Serra da Estrela Cheese, chestnuts