The cities may have their own modern accesses but the rivers are the great thoroughfares down through these stony massifs.
In Coimbra, where the historic centre immediately grabs the attention, save time for over on the left bank of the river Mondego. Visit the Portugal dos Pequenitos (Portugal of the Little Ones), great for young and old alike, and the Churches of Santa-Clara-a-Velha and Santa-Clara-a-Nova, the latter a significant pilgrimage destination.
Aveiro, on the mouth of the Vouga, charms with the colours of its estuary and seaweed gathering boats successfully contrasting with its university complex, a fine example of contemporary Portuguese architecture.
In Viseu, the austerity of the stone impresses as it does in Guarda with its Se fortress church standing on the site of a former Jewish neighbourhood.
Castelo Branco is to be found heading south. With a flatter and richer landscape, the Tagus lies just beyond.
One of the best resorts in the country, Figueira da Foz provides a fine finale to Centro de Portugal complementing its historic villages and the twenty border castles route, taking in the defensive strongholds essential to Portugal holding onto its independence.
The great diversity with cities of a very human dimension and glorious nature are only the beginning of your invitation to Centro de Portugal.