About The Silver Coast and Caldas da Rainha
The Estremadura on the lower half of the Costa de Prata (Silver Coast), is the
alternative Algarve in every sense of the word.
Discerning visitors who were familiar with the Algarve twenty years ago will find much that is familar here.
Sixty miles north of Lisbon is an area totally unspoiled, which boasts quite an
extraordinary wealth of architecture and fascinating towns. The beaches equal
any in the Algarve, and the countryside is open and undeveloped with fertile
rolling hills just as beautiful as the famous Minho ranges.
The Silver Coast is easily accessible from the main cities and airports, only forty minutes from Lisbon and two hours from Porto.
Nearby is the Praia d'el Rey Golf Club which has been recognised as one of the finest golf courses in Europe along with the newly opened Bom Sucesso Design Resort and Golf Club. The rolling surf of the world famous Peniche coastline borders the Praia D'el Rey Golf Club and the Bom Sucesso Club has been built near the upper reaches of the Obidos Lagoon, so golf is not the only sport here. The nearby medieval town of Obidos is just 40 minutes from Lisbon making Praia d'el Rey easily accessible. On the doorstep a host of watersports, horseriding, tennis, etc. There are many interesting sights for all the family within close range, or perhaps you would prefer to just laze away your days at the side of the pool.
Eating out is very reasonable and the local dishes are quite delicious, with a wide selection of restaurants to choose from, ranging from the small local tavernas to quite up market restaurants. Children of any age are welcome in restaurants in Portugal.
Night life can vary from sitting outside listening to the crickets over a bottle of wine, to rustic dancing in the street at one of the village Festas. Or of course you can always dance the night away at a Discothèque until dawn.
We recommend starting a holiday in or near Caldas da Rainha, which is perfectly situated in the heart of a fascinating list of places in the better guides. Make Caldas your base and you may find you do not want to wander far afield.
Caldas da Rainha.
(The Spa of the Queen).
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 and boating lake in the centre.
It is a traditional retreat for the Portuguese escaping the heat of the city of Lisbon. Popular for it's spa, clean air, and nearby beaches.
Caldas is a working and regional market town, with three markets every weekday. It has city status and was founded by Queen Leonor who formed the thermal hospital at the springs.
The daily fruit market is central to the activity; it sells fruit, vegetables, nuts, cheese, some basket wear, flowers and ceramics.
Walk through the pedestrian precinct from the fruit market. You will pass a bakery on your right which sells fresh bread in the mornings.
The covered fish market. The fish sold here is caught by the fisherman of
Nazare and Peniche. Sardines are traditionally
cooked over barbecues outdoors. Try pouring a little olive oil over your boiled
potatoes for a Portuguese lunch.
Most days there are a few market stalls on the harbour square at Foz do Arelho
beach, especially on Sunday mornings.
Every Monday there is a massive market just out of town.. This market sells everything from Tractors and chickens, to shoes and furniture. Barbecued chicken is served in the tent style restaurants.
Bank opening times can vary but are usually open from 9 to 3 on weekdays. If you are changing money or travellers cheques the charge is often 3 to 5 euros per transaction (not per cheque). So change as much as possible at one time to avoid repeated charges. Most major credit/bank cards will give you cash from the many Multibanco machines around towns. The machine should instruct you in your own language, just enter your PIN number at the prompt.
Shops often close between 1 and 3 for lunch, many supermarkets are now open all day.
Sunday shopping only at hypermarkets. At the hypermarket credit cards are accepted. Just push the green button twice on the electronic terminal at the checkout.
Unlike other regions of Portugal, around Caldas it is normal to have one portion between two people, or in the restaurants which give you two prices the lesser price is for half portions (meia doce - pronounced maya dose). One portion will often feed three kids. Half a portion will feed one adult. Credit cards are now taken in many restaurants, but you will often find the smaller places have barely
heard of them. Often this is where you will eat the genuine local dishes.
Good Seafood and Traditional Dishes:-
Off the beaten track:-
Recommended in the Daily Telegraph, Restaurant 'A Lareira' (upper price range). Children's portions on front page of menu, adults are not encouraged to share one portion. The waiters mostly speak English. The chateaubriand is excellent. Various fresh fish daily. Halfway between Caldas and Foz turn towards Alto do Nobre at the sign.
'A Ribetajana.' The only place we know where fish is almost as reasonably priced as meat. (when grilled it is often over cooked, we recommend 'a monier' or fried). Their speciality is Javali (Wild boar). Family run and when Paulo or his daughter Carla is in charge the service is better. Marco, their son speaks English.
The best T-bone and Halibut:-
The traditional steak restaurant known as Solar dos Amigos (mid price range) It looks rough, but you will have the best Steak (sometimes Halibut or Sea Bass) in the region cooked before you on an open fire.
Adega Velha, in the village of Fanadia. Recommended are Bacalhau a Lagareiro
(salted cod, garlic, oil, and small potatoes in their skins), Entrecosto (pork ribs)
and Trancha de Novilho (beef fillet on a skewer).
Caldas da Rainha is perfectly situated in the heart of so many places of interest, including the picturesque mediaeval walled town of Obidos.
Read the Portugal Silver Coast Property Blog
Portugal Villa Apartment with Pool and Tennis Court for Holiday Rental
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