A family get-together in the central coast
Invite the whole family to get together for two days of fun in the coastal area of Portugal’s Centre region.
Begin by taking your children to the castle in Santa Maria da Feira, that seems to have been taken right out of a fairy-tale. Let their imaginations run wild, inventing stories of princesses in distress and princes riding to the rescue on white horses. Then come down to earth and show them explanations for a wide array of scientific phenomena in a trip to the Visionarium, in Europarque. It’s educational and great fun!
Continue to Ovar, where the whole town seems to be covered in azulejo tiles, and then on to Furadouro Beach, in order to breathe in the Atlantic air as the kids build sandcastles in the wet sand.
As you pass through Torreira, visit the São Jacinto Sand Dunes Nature Reserve and then head back to Aveiro. Once in the city, a boat trip on a “moliceiro” (seaweed dredging vessel) through the estuary’s canals is a must for the whole family. Alternatively, go for a ride on a “buga” (bicycles provided by the Municipal Council). Why not spend the night in one of the hotels in Aveiro, such as the Meliá Ria or others offering views over the shimmering canals. And don’t forget to let the children taste some of the sweet yellow pastries, “ovos moles”, for which the city is also famous.
On your second day, in Ílhavo Maritime Museum, learn about the fishermen’s arduous work in the icy waters of the North Atlantic. And then eat some fine fresh fish caught off the coast of the Praia de Mira. And for those who don’t fancy fish... try some delicious suckling pig in Cantanhede.
In Coimbra, a trip through the Baixa zone and the Patio of the University Colleges is another tempting proposition. Don’t miss the Chapel of São Miguel and the Joanina Library.
But the biggest surprise awaiting the kids is “Portugal dos Pequenitos”: a unique park designed for children where they can playfully step in and out of houses built to their scale. From Lilliput to Ancient Rome, this short break can be rounded off in Conímbriga, wandering through the ruins of an Imperial Roman villa.