The beach at Salir do Porto is a 7 minute walk from the house. We are at the western end of a crescent shaped bay which goes all the way around to Sao Martinho do Porto. The beach is huge so you really shouldn't have trouble finding a spot! The other attraction at the Salir end of the beach is the sand dune which the children love running up and sliding down again. A bridge goes over the estruary and leads to a boardwalk which goes all around the bay. Perfect for an early evening stroll or early morning jog!!!
Sao Martinho do Porto
A 3 minute drive/20 minute walk from the house is the lovely little resort of Sao Martinho do Porto. The beach is very safe as the bay is almost totally enclosed so you are safe from the Atlantic breakers. The water is colder than the Med so brace yourselves...but it great when you are in!
The resort is popular with Portuguese and French but you will hear the occasional English voice. There are many restaurants, bars and cafes along the seafront and luckily eating/drinking out is still cheap compared with other European resorts.
The resort is busy in summer and parking is hard to find so it is better to park a little closer to Salir and have a stroll along the seafront. For more information see www.visit-sao-martinho-do-porto.com/html/ing-index.html
One place that you must visit is the walled city of Obidos. A quick 10/15 minutes back down the the A8 and you're there! Once the wedding present of a queen, the preserved medieval town of Óbidos lying 100 km north of Lisbon is without doubt one of Portugal's most classic walled settlements. Walking the ramparts, visitors can enjoy views of windmills, vineyards and surrounding farmlands.
This provides fantastic views but is not for the fainthearted....and not for children under 3! In the residential area below, narrow cobblestone streets are lined with whitewashed houses sporting terracotta roofs. The shops are piled high with local handicrafts and there are some lovely restaurants and cafes. For full details see www.portugalvirtual.pt/_tourism/costadeprata/obidos/index.html
Possibly the most famous fishing village in Portugal, Nazaré is unique in many ways. It is not full of culture or monuments prevalent in other Portuguese towns, but it has an atmosphere of times gone by, contentment and traditions which continue to thrive, which make it a special place to visit. Along the N8 for about 15 minutes and you'll be in this quaint little seaside town.
Nazaré is split into three main districts – Praia (beach), Pederneira and Sitio. Located on a rocky promontory over 100m above the main part of the town, Sitio provides wonderful views over the bay and beach of Nazaré. Although this mainly residential part of Nazaré is accessible by car, by far more interesting is the funicular carriage which takes passengers up the sharp slope for a small fee. More information on the history is available on www.portugalvirtual.pt/_tourism/costadeprata/nazare/index.html
Foz do Arelho
About 15/20 minutes drive from Salir is the lovely resort of Foz do Arelho. It lies on one side of the Obidos lagoon. It is an unusual place as the beach has calm lagoon water on one side and Atlantic waves on the other. It has cafes and restaurants along the beachfront and can be busy in summer but worth a visit.
Caldas da Rainha
The nearest large town, (15/20 minutes drive) the spa of Caldas da Rainha gradually developed round the Free Hospital which was founded by Queen Leonor in 1485. Today it is an important fruit growing region and a centre for the production of traditional ceramics
A pleasant town with a wooded park, boating lake and childrens' playground in the centre. Caldas da Rainha has a lively bustling market in the town square. Return to the old world of the food with real flavours- the freshest local and regional produce including vegetables, fruit, nuts, cheese, chickens, flowers, sausages and fresh-baked cakes. The cobbled side streets are excellent for clothes shopping with branches of Mango and Etxart & Panno and other well-known retailers. There are dozens of shoe, sports, lingerie, kids, casual and perfume shops.
The city of Alcobaça became notable after the first King of Portugal decided to build a church there. The church later evolved into the Monastery of Alcobaça, one of the most magnificent gothic monuments in the country. In the church are the tombs of King Peter I and his murdered mistress Inês de Castro. Over the centuries this monastery had an important role on Portuguese culture. The town is about 45 minutes drive from the house.
Fátima's claim to fame is the shrine called the Basilica, built to commemorate the events of 1917 when three peasant children claimed to have seen the "Virgin of the Rosary", Our Lady of Fátima. When the children asked for her name, she said "I am The Lady of The Rosary". There is lots to see here and full details are given at the house. About an hour's drive from Salir.
Mira D'Aire (Grutas)
This is Portugal's largest caves system and the underground tour leads down through a series of colourfully lit caverns with some impressive speleothems. The last cavern, 110m below the surface contains a huge lake with artificial waterfalls and dramatic artificial fountains. Exit is via a fast elevator to the surface. It's about an hour from the house and 15 minutes from Fatima. There is also a water park next to the caves so take swimming stuff. www.grutasmiradaire.com
Praia del Rey
Praia de Rey Golf course & resort is about half an hour's drive away. It is one of the most picturesque layouts in Europe, set in extensive grounds of pine forest and undulating dunes with spectacular views over the Atlantic & the Berlengas Islands beyond. The course is visually stunning and tremendously exciting to play. www.praia-del-rey.com/ It is cheaper to book beforehand with www.4golf.com.
The other major courses within easy reach are Bom Successo (Obidos) www.bomsucesso.net/ and Golden Eagle (Santerem) www.goldeneagle-golfresort.com/
The Belengas is a small archipelago about 10/15kn west of Peniche, about 40 minutes from Salir.Boat trips go out to the islands with its wildlife and the Fort of St John the Baptist. http://berlengas.no.sapo.pt/