The villa is locateded in a beautiful area of Portugal. Below are just a few of the interesting things you might like to investigate before you arrive, or even while you’re there.
Places to Visit
Hiking & the Countryside
One of the delights of the region is the beauty of the surrounding landscape, recognised nationally; diminutive fields of local farmers fill the valley floors, enclosed by hills dense in woodland.
Villages consisting of 10 or fewer stone cottages, hang onto the slopes offering views of rivers and the occasional castle. Indeed somewhere only connected by road as late as the 1970’s (walking or donkey being the previous options).
Our region is well known for its Portuguese schist villages (Xisto das Aldeias) – scattered with cottages made of rust-coloured slate. Until recently many of these were abandoned, but with rural and eco-tourism on the rise many have been rejuvenated and offer an insight into the past, restaurants serving traditional foods and artisan craft outlets.
The result of this is that almost all roads are a treat for the eye; routine journeys here would be marked and preserved as ‘tourist trails’ in the UK. The thousands of acres of timber that are dissected by tracks to allow access to the valuable lumber also encourage access to the hiker. Local Turismo offices can provide marked and guided walks for a variety of abilities and interests. You’ll find the nearest in our local town of Gois (Google Plus Code 5V3Q+WW Góis, Portugal)
There are a number of marked routes to follow just a short distance from the Villa, we have copies of these so if you fancy a ramble pick one up and start walking. PR7-GOI goes directly past the Villa on a circular route which takes in the local river beach, local villages and Gois – PR7 GOI – Trilho do Vale do Ceira VNC
For the more adventurous, the highest peaks in Portugal and the second largest National Park, are only 90 minutes drive through the beautiful countryside towards the border with Spain.
Kayaking & Canoeing
Just 3 minutes down the road in Gois, there are facilities to rent canoes and explore the River Ceira. Transerrano a local company based in Gois can arrange a range of guided activities or even simply rent canoes etc. They regularly post on social media, take a look at some of the things that they offer @TransSerranoAventura
The more active and adventurous can paddle downstream towards Coimbra (roughly 3 hours away) and arrange to be picked up and returned to avoid the troublesome ‘uphill’ part of the journey!
Alternately, some three quarters of a kilometre upstream are some wonderful waterfalls set deep in a wooded valley, impossible to reach by road vehicles and as a result, rarely visited.
For the benefit of our guests, we have available the free use of three mountain bikes to allow the closer exploration of the wonderful countryside in the area. If you have personal safety equipment, please bring this with you or alternately it can be hired from a shop in Gois.
Also, there are regular group cycle trips into the hills and valleys organised by a local specialist activities company @TransSerranoAventura that you may wish to participate in.
Portugal has managed to maintain an amazing variety of Festivals, Feiras (market days), Festas (carnivals and folk days) and Romarias (pilgrimage and Saints Days), both at a national, regional and local levels. Each represents an excellent excuse to shut up shop or leave work early. There is always something going on during the weekend…look out for leaflets, posters and banners that spring up around villages a few weeks before each event. Oh, and don’t forget the 13 Bank Holidays!
Gois MOTOFEST. This annual week-long event, which often coincides with a music event held by the local Municipal of Gois in the town square, happens each year in August. With daily events, this huge motobike festival attracts people from around Portugal and beyond. With a number of sound and entertainment stages this is a treat for everyone. @goismotoclube
New dates for the 27th International Motobike Rally in Gois have been set at 11th to 15th August 2021.
The former capital (pronounced ‘quim-bra’) and current ‘Oxbridge’ of Portugal is a pleasant 30 minute drive along a beautifully scenic length of the N17, which follows the valley of the River Ceira. Here you will find some of the better shopping districts, a warren of medieval alleys known as the Baixa below the splendour of the countries foremost University on the hill that dominates the city, many old churches, convents and ancient monuments, museums, gardens, etc. Listen out for the local version of ‘fado’, the national folk singing style, and the ‘burning of the ribbons’ celebrations in May, the end of the academic year for the students.
Getting Around: Coimbra is best appreciated on foot with it cobbled maze of streets, but the old-town is steep so wear comfortable shoes.
COIMBRA UNIVERSITY: One of the world’s oldest, the university of Coimbra hides what is recognized as one of the world’s finest libraries. A gift of king João V in the early 1700s, it is filled with 300,000 ancient books displayed around an extravagant display of gilt. Also golden is much of Capela de São Miguel, an ornate chapel with a brightly painted ceiling, while another room that may be visited is the Sala dos Capelos (Graduates’ Hall), once used as an examination room and decorated with portraits of Portugal’s kings.
If you’re in the mood for history take some time to visit the Santa Clara monastery, on the banks of the River Mondego.
Just south of Coimbra lies Portugal’s best preserved Roman remains, the ancient fortified town of Conimbriga. Here you will find spectacular mosaics, the baths and the old town layout have been excavated. A fascinating example of how the Romans lived, loved and played over 2000 years ago. There’s also a great museum and restaurant there serving a buffet for just 20 Euros which provides some good examples of local and national dishes.
Around an hour’s journey to the west lies Portugal’s beautiful Silver Coast; mile upon mile of sandy beaches swept clean by the Atlantic Ocean. Despite it’s beauty, it remains a little known secret and offers unrivalled peace and seclusion.
If you seek something a little more lively, there’s the traditional Portuguese seaside resort of Figueira da Foz, which has the country’s longest sandy beach! https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Tourism-g189146-Figueira_da_Foz_Coimbra_District_Central_Portugal-Vacations.html
Or for those romantically inclined, why not try Aveiro, complete with fairytale castle and Portugal’s answer to the canals of Venice.