Local area - places to visit
Óbidos is an extraordinary place and somewhere that anyone driving past and seeing the ancient walls must want to visit. Located 10 km west of Praia D’El Rey the medieval walled village has a turbulent past full of historical events that have marked the country and has been declared a national monument. Indeed, the whole village is a royal “wedding present" and back in 1282 King D. Dinis offered it as a gift to his new Queen Isabel on their marriage!
The picturesque & cobbled streets are lined with colourful houses dressed with geraniums and bougainvillea, and the Gothic windows, doorways and whitewashed churches are all surrounded by the walls of the 12th century castle, which is now a renowned hotel, and is a great place to spend time.
Caldas da Rainha
Caldas da Rainha is famous for two things, the thermal springs that have brought people to the town for centuries and ceramics, which have inspired a tradition of art and culture.
It is a busy market town with some charming areas including a beautiful and spacious park with towering plane trees, a tranquil boating lake, a vibrant and colourful daily fruit and vegetable market and a shopping district lined with cafés and traditional family owned shops.
Peniche is a busy fishing town with a large harbour and excellent seafood restaurants. In the main square is the baroque Misericordia Church with a painted
ceiling depicting scenes from the New Testament, but the town's most famous building is an imposing 16th century fortress. It was once used as a prison controlled by dictator Salazar's secret police
to incarcerate political opponents and today houses a museum about local history.
Peniche is also the surfing capital of Portugal and the surrounding area offers superb sandy beaches including nearby Baleal, and to the west is Cabo Carvoeiro, a rugged cape with bizarrely shaped pinnacles and sea caves offering panoramic ocean views all the way to the islands of Berlengas.
An archipelago of islands about 10km from Peniche and a nature reserve it is only accessible by boat or small ferries which leave from the harbour in Peniche. There are wonderful cliff and sea views, and the islands are home to thousands of seabirds, and the clear azure waters are ideal for swimming, snorkeling, fishing and diving. There is a restaurant and a water sports hire service on the island.