Best Things To Do and See in Beira Baixa, Portugal (2024)

Road trip na Beira Baixa.
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2024-01-25

Best Things To Do and See in Beira Baixa, Portugal: Experience the essence of this remarkable region as you uncover tourist attractions that will leave you in awe. From breathtaking landscapes to captivating historical sites, Beira Baixa has everything you need for an unforgettable journey of exploration and discovery.

Ready to embark on an unforgettable road trip through Beira Baixa? Our proposal is to visit Idanha-a-Nova, Castelo Branco, Oleiros, Proença-a-Nova, Penamacor, and Vila Velha de Ródão, in this or any other order.

Experience the charm of Historic Villages and discover the enchanting Schist Villages. Immerse yourself in thermal tourism, indulge in boat trips, explore fascinating museums, and traverse picturesque footpaths. And of course, don’t miss out on the culinary delights that Beira Baixa has to offer.

This three-day car journey offers just a taste of what Beira Baixa has in store. In each municipality, we provide additional suggestions to extend your stay and make the most of your time in this remarkable region.

Join us on this incredible adventure and get ready to explore the very best of Beira Baixa, Portugal. Welcome to the Center of Portugal!

Road trip in Beira Baixa

Here’s all the information you need for your itinerary in Beira Baixa, Portugal.

Discover the best things to do and see, explore remarkable tourist attractions, and embark on an unforgettable journey through this captivating region.

Get ready for an exciting adventure filled with stunning landscapes, rich history, and immersive experiences.

Day 1 of the Road Trip in Beira Baixa: Explore Penamacor and Idanha-a-Nova

Historic Center of Penamacor

Centro Histórico de Penamacor (road trip na Beira Baixa).
Penamacor historic center.

Start your road trip in Beira Baixa by immersing yourself in the historic center of Penamacor.

Despite ongoing construction, the monumental area still offers a glimpse of its beauty.

Walk through the Jewish quarter, admire the Torre do Relógio (Clock Tower), and pass by the old Town Hall and pillory.

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Igreja da Misericórdia and continue your journey to the ruins of Torre de Vigia do Castelo and the enchanting Poço D’El-Rei.

Exploring Penamacor: The Church and Convent of Santo António

Igreja e Convento de Santo António em Penamacor.
The Church and Convent of Santo António (Igreja and Convento de Santo António in Penamacor).

Close to the center of Penamacor, you’ll discover the hidden gem of the Convent of Santo António, and let me assure you, it’s a visit not to be missed.

Legend has it that both the poor and the wealthy contributed to the construction of the church, some with money and others with their labor.

While the exterior may not seem extraordinary, step inside the church and be prepared to be amazed by the intricate details of the ceiling and altars.

Normally closed, you can request a visit by contacting the Municipal Museum of Penamacor in advance (277 394 106) or checking if someone has the key at the church entrance.

To fully explore the wonders of Penamacor, we recommend a visit to the Serra da Malcata Nature Reserve, making it ideal to spend the night in Penamacor.

Hotels in Penamacor.

Extra tips: Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the sacristy, cloisters, choir, and the viewpoint at the back of the Church of Santo António.

Alternatively, continue your journey to the Historic Village of Idanha-a-Velha, located in the municipality of Idanha-a-Nova (approximately 35 km away).

In the municipality of Idanha-a-Nova, there are numerous attractions to explore, but for the first day in Beira Baixa, we suggest visiting the Historic Village of Idanha-a-Velha and the Monfortinho Thermal Spa.

In fact, aim to arrive during lunch or dinner time to have a truly unique experience: dine like the Romans!

The Casa da Velha Fonte Restaurant

Restaurante Casa da Velha Fonte na Casa da Amoreira (Road trip na Beira Baixa).
Best Things To Do in Beira Baixa, Portugal: Dining at Restaurante Casa da Velha Fonte.

The Casa da Velha Fonte Restaurant at Casa da Amoreira was the best surprise on this road trip, as far as restaurants are concerned, and we ate very well in the three days.

Chef Maria Caldeira de Sousa is passionate about the 1st century BC. and took inspiration from Roman recipes (more specifically from Apicius) to create a colourful, delicious menu, with endogenous products from the region and without added salt or sugar.

To start with chorizo, olives, sheep’s cheese, bread, carrots, aniseed oil and some sweet cherries that refreshed the hot day.

Then there was the Pato Apicício, a platter with duck legs that fell apart because they were so well cooked, with shrimp on top and a sauce to cry for more.

The lamb chops exuded a delicious aroma but the mycological migas were the queens of the meal.

They added wild mushrooms, chestnuts, green asparagus, eggs and spices to the bread in a combination so, so tasty that (literally) I’ve been thinking about this dish for days.

Incidentally, someone at the table said that he could live on these migas and he was really right.

To end the meal, nothing better than Pudding Egitânia made with sheep’s milk and juniper, but only sweetened with honey.

And if food to make us feel good has to be beautiful, we can say that everything that came to the table was perfect.

If you have lunch outside, don’t forget to take a look at the mini museum on the walls of the dining room.

Extra tip: it’s best to book your meal in advance (+351 963 664 600), but even at late hours no one leaves without trying a snack or two!

The Historic Village of Idanha-a-Velha

Interior da Sé Catedral de Idanha-a-Velha.
What to Visit in Beira Baixa. Portugal: the Cathedral in Idanha-a-Velha (Sé Catedral).

The whole village is classified as a National Monument, so to explore Idanha-a-Velha, you only need to walk as far as your feet take you.

However, there are some well-known points that you should include in your itinerary, such as the wall that was built in the 3rd century, the Templar Tower (which has no door), the Manor House of the Family of Morocco, whose interior was never completed. and that will soon be a hotel and the Sé Catedral, or Igreja de Santa Maria.

If you can stay one more day in Idanha-a-Velha, do so and explore the village calmly, otherwise continue your journey to Termas de Monfortinho (about 35 km on the N239).

Accomodation in Idanha-a-Velha.

Indulge in Wellness and Serenity at the Monfortinho Thermal Spa

Termas de Monfortinho.
Termas de Monfortinho (The Monfortinho Thermal Spa).

The Monfortinho Thermal Spa is a haven of relaxation and rejuvenation.

Renowned for its healing properties, the spa’s natural thermal waters are particularly beneficial for treating skin conditions.

However, the spa offers much more than therapeutic treatments. Indulge in soothing massages and take part in wellness programs designed to alleviate stress and promote holistic well-being.

Immerse yourself in the modern facilities and state-of-the-art equipment, ensuring a luxurious and revitalizing experience.

During our road trip through Beira Baixa, we had the pleasure of staying at the Hotel Fonte Santa, conveniently located next to the Monfortinho Thermal Spa.

The hotel provided exceptional comfort, and we enjoyed dining on their spacious terrace, surrounded by starlit skies.

If you prefer to explore other accommodation options in the charming town of Idanha-a-Nova, be sure to check the link below.

Accomodation in Idanha a Nova.

Whether you’re seeking therapeutic treatments or a tranquil escape, the Monfortinho Thermal Spa is the perfect destination to unwind and recharge.

Day 2 of the Beira Baixa Road Trip: visit Idanha a Nova and Castelo Branco

On the second day of this road trip through Beira Baixa we continue in the municipality of Idanha a Nova but then we go to Castelo Branco.

Experience the Magic of Monsanto: Explore the Historic Village and Naturtejo Geopark

Aldeia Histórica de Monsanto (Road trip na Beira Baixa).
Monsanto Historic Village.

Embark on a captivating journey as you visit the enchanting Historic Village of Monsanto on the second day of your road trip in Beira Baixa.

Wander through its winding streets nestled among colossal boulders, and be awe-struck by the majestic Monsanto Castle.

Afterward, immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the Naturtejo Geopark, where nature’s wonders await your discovery.

Embark on an Unforgettable Journey in Naturtejo and Penha Garcia Geopark: Discover Trilobite Tracks and Breathtaking Landscapes

Rota dos Fósseis em Penha Garcia.
Listening to explanations by Joana Rodrigues from Naturtejo. Route of the Fossils in Penha Garcia.

As you venture through Beira Baixa, make sure to include a visit to the remarkable Naturtejo and Penha Garcia Geopark.

Start your exploration in Penha Garcia, where you’ll have the opportunity to ascend to the captivating Penha Garcia Castle.

From this vantage point, marvel at the serene water mirror of the Penha Garcia Dam Reservoir, surrounded by awe-inspiring natural beauty.

Continue your journey along the renowned Fossil Route, where you’ll witness a unique natural phenomenon known as the “painted snakes.”

These extraordinary trace fossils showcase the intricate tracks left by trilobites, offering a glimpse into the ancient past.

While navigating the geopark, be prepared for the terrain, which includes steep ascents and descents with loose stones. Remember to wear suitable footwear to ensure a comfortable and safe experience.

As you explore, don’t miss the chance to visit the charming windmills and embrace the refreshing atmosphere at the Pego river beach.

To enhance your adventure, consider indulging in a delightful picnic amidst the stunning landscapes. For a truly unforgettable culinary experience, we recommend stopping by Geo Cakes in Idanha-a-Nova, where you can savor delectable treats that will perfectly complement your outing.

Geo Cakes em Idanha a Nova. Road trip na Beira Baixa.
Lunch box from Geo Cakes in Idanha a Nova.

Our lunch was in the form of a varied lunch box that was delicious!

Gazpacho, bread, salad, pies, patties (and other snacks I don’t remember), natural fruit juice, biscuits, fruit salad, and even coffee to finish.

Geo Cakes has other organic products for sale so we really recommend checking out their page when visiting Idanha a Nova.

After this meal in Penha Garcia we went to Castelo Branco (about 58 km), where embroidery and works of art were waiting for us.

Embark on an Artistic Journey: Discover the Best Things to Do in Beira Baixa, Portugal at the Castelo Branco Embroidery Interpretation Center

Immerse yourself in the cultural tapestry of Beira Baixa, Portugal, as you embark on an artistic journey at the Castelo Branco Embroidery Interpretation Center.

Explore the best of this enchanting region while delving into the rich heritage of Castelo Branco embroidery.

Discover one of the best things to do in Beira Baixa as you uncover the captivating artistry of the region’s renowned embroidery. Marvel at the intricate Castelo Branco stitch, skillfully crafted using natural silk on linen cloth, and admire the traditional motifs that depict the vibrant beauty of plants, fruits, and human figures.

As you delve into the museum’s exhibits, you will learn about the fascinating flax cultivation process and the intricate production of silk, gaining a deeper appreciation for the art form’s intricate craftsmanship. Experience the seamless blend of tradition and modernity as you admire both historic masterpieces and contemporary works by esteemed national designers.

Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the living artistry of Castelo Branco embroidery firsthand, as skilled artisans delicately embroider quilts in the designated area. This authentic glimpse into the creative process highlights the enduring legacy and cultural significance of this art form.

Located in the heart of Beira Baixa, the Castelo Branco Embroidery Interpretation Center offers a captivating exploration of the region’s artistic heritage. Immerse yourself in the beauty and craftsmanship of Castelo Branco embroidery, and let the threads of tradition weave a tale of art, culture, and timeless allure.

Discover one of the best things to do in Beira Baixa, Portugal at the Castelo Branco Embroidery Interpretation Center, where artistry comes to life amidst the vibrant tapestry of this remarkable region.

Explore the Cultural Delights: Visit the Cargaleiro Museum, One of the Best Things to Do and See in Beira Baixa, Portugal

Museu Cargaleiro em Castelo Branco (Road trip na Beira Baixa)
Cláudia Baltazar at Museu Cargaleiro.

Immerse yourself in the artistic wonders of Beira Baixa, Portugal, and embark on a cultural journey at the renowned Cargaleiro Museum.

Discover one of the best things to do and see in Beira Baixa as you delve into the captivating world of ceramics and artistry.

The Cargaleiro Museum offers two distinct poles that showcase the remarkable works of Mestre Cargaleiro.

The first pole showcases pieces from Cerâmica Ratinha, representing the daily ceramic use in the Beira region, alongside treasures from Cerâmica de Triana, a neighborhood in Seville and the second pole presents an exquisite collection of Cargaleiro’s own masterpieces.

Both poles of the museum offer a unique and enriching experience that beautifully complement each other.

We highly recommend visiting both to fully appreciate the breadth and depth of Cargaleiro’s artistic legacy. With an entrance fee of €2, this immersive cultural journey is accessible to all.

Additionally, on the first Sunday of each month between 10 am and 1 pm, admission is free, providing an ideal opportunity to explore the museum’s treasures without any cost.

Immerse yourself in the world of Cargaleiro’s ceramics, marvel at the intricate craftsmanship, and gain a deeper appreciation for the cultural heritage of Beira Baixa. The Cargaleiro Museum invites you to discover the vibrant artistic traditions that have shaped this region and left an indelible mark on the world of ceramics.

Visit the Cargaleiro Museum, one of the best things to do and see in Beira Baixa, Portugal, and let the artistry and craftsmanship transport you to a world of beauty, culture, and inspiration.

Culinary Delights: Restaurants and Dining Experiences in Castelo Branco

Treat your taste buds to an unforgettable dining experience at Cabra Preta Restaurant in Castelo Branco, a must-visit destination among the best things to do and see in Beira Baixa, Portugal.

Savor a delectable feast starting with a delightful assortment of local delicacies, including sheep’s cheese with honey and toasted almonds, wood-fired bread with artisanal butter, and flavorful Beira olives.

The board of black pork paio and the award-winning parsley soup will tantalize your senses and prepare you for the culinary delights that lie ahead.

Indulge in the signature dish of cod and veal à Beirã, served in a clay pot and accompanied by aromatic rice and perfectly fried potatoes.

The harmonious blend of flavors will transport you to the heart of Beira Baixa’s gastronomic heritage. Finally, satisfy your sweet tooth with the Cloud Tostada—a heavenly treat of oven-toasted egg whites adorned with a luscious red fruit sauce.

After this sumptuous meal, take a leisurely stroll to the nearby Jardim do Paço Episcopal or explore the charming City Park just across the way. These tranquil settings offer the perfect ambiance for digestion and relaxation.

For a restful night’s sleep, unwind at the Hotel Meliá Castelo Branco, boasting stunning city views.

The modern rooms, tastefully decorated common areas, and a delightful breakfast spread will ensure a pleasant stay.

Should you wish to explore other accommodation options in Castelo Branco, please refer to the list below.

Accomodation in Castelo Branco.

Delight in an unforgettable dining experience, immerse yourself in the culinary treasures of Beira Baixa, and create lasting memories at Cabra Preta Restaurant in Castelo Branco.

This gastronomic adventure promises to be a highlight of your journey through the captivating region of Beira Baixa, Portugal.

Day 3 of the Beira Baixa Road Trip: visit Vila Velha de Ródão, Oleiros and Proença-a-Nova

On the last day of the Beira Baixa road trip, we covered quite a few kilometers between Vila Velha de Ródão, Oleiros and Proença-a-Nova, so if possible, stay a few more days.

So, after leaving Castelo Branco, we went on a cruise in Portas de Ródão in Vila Velha de Ródão (about 35 km).

Cruise through Portas de Ródão: Discover the Hidden Gem of Vila Velha de Ródão

Monumento Natural das Portas de Ródão (Road trip na Beira Baixa).
Portas de Ródão Natural Monument (Monumento Natural das Portas de Ródão).

Embark on a captivating cruise to explore the magnificent Portas de Ródão Natural Monument, a true hidden gem in Vila Velha de Ródão.

Departing from the river pier, the boat journey takes you through the breathtaking landscapes of the Tagus River, where you’ll encounter the largest colony of griffon vultures in Portugal, as well as other remarkable bird species like storks and kites.

As you sail along, knowledgeable guides will regale you with fascinating stories and legends of the area, including tales of Rei Wamba, the fapiopa hole, and the mystical Pedra da Rainha.

Conclude the tour by ascending to Castelo do Rei Vamba, also known as Castelo de Ródão, and enjoy a panoramic view of the Tagus River’s mirror-like waters.

For an extended stay in Vila Velha de Ródão, explore the hotel recommendations below. Otherwise, continue your journey to the enchanting Cascata de Oleiros, located approximately 60 km away.

Accomodation in Vila Velha de Ródão.

Embark on the Georota do Orvalho: Discover the Best Things to Do in Beira Baixa, Portugal

Cascata da Fraga de Água d'Alta.
Fraga de Água d’Alta Waterfall in Oleiros (Cascata da Fraga de Água d’Alta).

The Georota do Orvalho is a captivating pedestrian trail nestled within the Naturtejo Geopark, located in the municipality of Oleiros. This trail offers an incredible opportunity to experience the best of Beira Baixa, Portugal.

As you traverse the 8.9 km trail, immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Oleiros and embrace the serenity of the Fraga de Água d’Alta Waterfall. Along the way, you’ll encounter breathtaking views and captivating landscapes, providing a memorable adventure for nature enthusiasts.

Don’t forget to visit the stall at the beginning of the trail, where you can sample and purchase regional products, including the renowned medronho liqueur, medronho brandy, and delightful cookies. These local delicacies are the perfect accompaniment to your journey through Beira Baixa.

After an invigorating walk, satisfy your appetite at Adega dos Apalaches, where you can indulge in the authentic flavors of the region. Treat yourself to the mouthwatering lamb stew, a true specialty of Oleiros, and savor the culinary delights that Beira Baixa has to offer.

Embark on the Georota do Orvalho and uncover the best things to do in Beira Baixa, Portugal.

Immerse yourself in nature, indulge in regional delicacies, and create unforgettable memories in this enchanting region.

Indulge in Culinary Delights at Adega dos Apalaches

Cabrito estonado na Adega dos Apalaches (Road trip na Beira Baixa).
Cabrito estonado at Adega dos Apalaches.

Since its opening in 2016, Adega dos Apalaches has become a culinary gem, renowned for serving the typical dishes of Oleiros.

This charming establishment offers an exceptional dining experience that perfectly captures the essence of Beira Baixa, Portugal.

As you step inside, the inviting ambiance and the tantalizing aroma from the oven room, where succulent meat is roasted, will captivate your senses.

At Adega dos Apalaches, there is no traditional menu – the chef’s expertise and personal touch dictate the dishes served, ensuring a unique and unforgettable gastronomic journey. The fixed price of the daily menu is €27.50, while the carvery option is €22.

Savoring a meal at Adega dos Apalaches is a cherished memory in the making. Each dish is carefully prepared using fresh ingredients sourced from the garden and mountains, showcasing the dedication and passion of the culinary team.

Prepare to be enchanted as platters full of flavor and artistry are presented before you, embodying the true essence of Beira Baixa.

Embark on this gastronomic journey at Adega dos Apalaches and discover one of the best things to do in Beira Baixa, Portugal.

The Experimenta Landscape Project: Unveiling Artistic Wonders in Beira Baixa, Portugal

Moon Gate na Ribeira de Oleiros (Projeto Experimenta Paisagem).
Moon Gate at Ribeira de Oleiros (Experimenta Paisagem Project).

The captivating Experimenta Landscape Project is a collaborative effort led by a trio of talented women: Marta Aguiar, Sofia Marques e Aguiar, and Mariana Costa. Their visionary work breathes life into the landscapes of Beira Baixa, enchanting visitors with art installations that seamlessly blend with nature.

In Oleiros, prepare to be mesmerized by the Moon Gate—a captivating circle nestled in the picturesque Ribeira de Oleiros, embraced by lush trees that become illuminated after sunset, casting a magical glow.

Venture to Proença-a-Nova, specifically Serra das Talhadas, where the vibrant Farol dos Ventos (Wind Lighthouse) stands out against the rocky backdrop, a vibrant burst of colors not far from Siza Vieira’s Torre de Vigia (Watchtower).

For more insight into the world of Art in the Landscape and Water Lines, be sure to follow Cortiçada Art Fest, where you’ll find additional information and experiences to enrich your journey.

Oleiros offers more than just artistic wonders; it beckons nature enthusiasts with a variety of trails and pedestrian routes, including the Grande Ruta Muradal-Pangeia (International Appalachian Trail). Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the Schist Village of Álvaro.

With so much to discover, consider extending your stay and immersing yourself fully in this captivating region.

Accomodation in Oleiros.

Experience the artistic marvels, embrace the natural beauty, and uncover the hidden gems of Beira Baixa as you embark on the final destination of your road trip, leading you to Proença-a-Nova, just 30 km away.

Living Forest Science Center: An Enchanting Exploration of Nature in Beira Baixa, Portugal

Centro Ciência Viva da Floresta em Proença-a-Nova. Road trip na Beira Baixa.
Centro Ciência Viva da Floresta in Proença-a-Nova

Embark on an unforgettable journey at the Living Forest Science Center, Centro Ciência Viva da Floresta, offering a multitude of engaging activities for all ages.

Discover the wonders of Beira Baixa’s diverse forests and the fascinating creatures that inhabit them, providing an immersive learning experience.

Engage in hands-on exhibits that reveal the secrets of tree age determination, the impact of rain on scorched soil, and the intricate world of leaves under microscopic examination. Encounter captivating ant colonies in action and marvel at the vibrant aquarium replicating a riverbed ecosystem, showcasing a variety of fish species.

With an entrance ticket priced at €3 (€2 for children), the Living Forest Science Center is an exceptional value. Additionally, enjoy free admission on special occasions such as National Scientist Day (May 16th), National Day of Scientific Culture (November 24th), and the anniversary of CCVFloresta (July 21st, National Day of Scientific Culture).

During the summer, take advantage of the idyllic river beaches like Praia Fluvial do Malhadal or Praia Fluvial de Fróia in Proença-a-Nova, offering refreshing swim opportunities amidst breathtaking surroundings.

Extend your stay in Proença-a-Nova to fully immerse yourself in the abundance of activities available in Beira Baixa, Portugal.

Discover the region’s hidden treasures, indulge in nature’s beauty, and create lasting memories.

Accomodation in Proença-a-Nova.

Unlock the wonders of Beira Baixa’s Living Forest Science Center, where education and adventure intertwine, and experience the best things to do in Beira Baixa, Portugal.

Final Tips and Recommendations

As we conclude this road trip through Beira Baixa, we want to provide some additional hints and tips to enhance your experience.

Throughout the article, we have included prices and links to the websites of the companies and institutions we visited, ensuring easy access to further information.

Beira Baixa offers a diverse range of accommodations, from charming hotels to cozy guesthouses, ensuring a comfortable stay amidst the stunning landscapes.

We sincerely hope that you have enjoyed joining us on this journey through Beira Baixa.

Our aim was to inspire and motivate you to explore this extraordinary region. The landscapes, cultural richness, and unforgettable encounters we had along the way have truly made this adventure one to remember.

Please note that while this road trip was made in collaboration with Turismo do Centro, the opinions expressed in this article are our genuine reflections of the experiences we encountered.

Set out on your own discovery of Beira Baixa and unlock the hidden treasures of this remarkable territory. Your journey awaits!

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