7 Activities for Families, Away from the Beach
The Silver Coast of Portugal has a lot to offer for families beyond the beautiful beaches. We would like to share some of our favourites.
- The Medieval Town of Óbidos
This historic walled town is a must-see for its narrow streets, impressive buildings and castle. You can easily keep children entertained here for a day, as there is plenty to see and do, including:
- The Castle – the Castelo de Óbidos was once a royal palace, but it has been restored and is now a hotel. While you aren’t allowed inside the castle itself unless you are staying there, you can walk around the walled village. The narrow, windy streets are quaint and filled with interesting shops and restaurants. There are four churches within the walls, including the Igreja de Santa Maria which you can go inside. You can walk along the Castle ramparts. But, this is not really suitable for children, because the stones are uneven and there is a steep drop to one side (without handrails).
- Visit the Livraria de Santiago Bookstore – The bookstore is located in a former church and is worth a visit, especially for book lovers. There are hidden nooks to read in and the altar and other artefacts are still in place, making it quite special.
- Municipal Museum – located in the old town hall, the museum features exhibits on the history and culture of Óbidos.
- Horse-drawn carriage rides – You can take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the town, seeing it from a different perspective.
- For the adults, you can’t leave Óbidos without trying its famous drink – Ginja de Óbidos – a cherry liqueur that’s often served in a chocolate cup.
- Buddha Eden Garden
The Bacalhôa Buddha Eden is an oriental-style garden, located in Bombarral. The oriental garden, with around 35 hectares of land, is the largest of its kind in Europe. There are giant Buddha statues, pagodas and a central lake with Koi Carp fish and dragon statues rising out of the water. There is also a restaurant, snack bar and shop. Admission to the garden is free, but there is a charge to enter the exhibition and to take a train tour (which at the time of writing was €6 per person and free for children under 3 years old).
- Go-karting in Bombarral
We think that go-karting is great fun for both children and adults. You can rent carts from 15 minutes at Kiro Karting, based on 8 hectares of land. Ok, so it’s not cultural and it might not be to everyone’s taste, but if you want a morning or afternoon away from the beach, why not get the adrenal pumping?
- Walk in Dinosaurs Footsteps
The Silver Coast is home to many dinosaur fossils, and there are several sites where families can learn about these prehistoric creatures. In Lourinhã you can visit the Museu da Lourinhã, where you can see fossilised bones, footprints, eggs and even embryos from Jurassic dinosaurs. Also in Lourinhã is Dino Parque – the largest open-air museum in Portugal. You will find around 186 real sized dinosaur models, a museum with an extraordinary paleontological heritage and you will also get to see how paleontologists work. There is a picnic area and a restaurant.
There are also hiking routes where you can discover fossils for yourselves.
- Monastery of Alcobaça
Take a trip to this UNESCO World Heritage site. This medieval monastery is one of the most impressive in Europe, with its grand architecture and historic significance. It is closely associated with the beginning of the Portuguese monarchy. For us, the two highlights are the delightful Cloister of Silence and the spectacularly carved tombs of King Pedro I and his love Dona Ines de Castro. Despite damage by invading Napoleonic French troops, both tombs remain remarkable and are worth the visit alone. If you want to make a day trip out of this, you can combine it with a visit to Tomar and Batalha.
Tomar is a city of great charm, known for its artistic and cultural wealth. It was formerly a seat of the Order of the Knights Templar.
Batalha is a peaceful little town, but it was the setting for Portugal’s most important battle, the Batalha de Aljubarrota in 1385.
- Bowling Caldas
For rainy days, we like the indoor activity of bowling and Bowling Caldas is a great facility. There is an indoor restaurant with a terrace outside.
- Day Trip to Berlengas Islands
About 10km off the coast of Peniche lie The Berlengas Islands – a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve with stunning natural landscapes, including beaches, cliffs, and caves.
The glass bottom catamaran tour by Odisseia Viva from Peniche Marina takes around 4.5 to 5 hours and includes snorkelling. Dolphins can often be spotted from the boat, which makes the trip extra exciting. At the time of writing, tickets cost €15 for children and €20 for adults – and we think that is well worth it!
At Spencer Becks, we enjoy helping our clients get the most out of their property viewing trips. So, if we have missed something that you think we should include on our blog, get in touch with us via our social media accounts to let us know!