Planning a holiday in Portugal and looking for something a bit different off the beaten track? In this article we suggest 5 places to visit during your Holiday on Portugal's Silver Coast that your average tourist would never find!
Your own "private" BEACH
Whilst the resorts of Foz do Arelho and São Martinho do Porto are well known and hugely popular, less known and certainly less visited are the miles of uninterrupted beach running from just north of São Martinho all the way to Nazaré. If you are happy to walk along the sand for 5 minutes and can live without the comforts of a nearby bar or lifeguard you can enjoy long stretches of empty beach just to yourself - perfect!
I've said it before and I'll say it again but for me Almourol is the ultimate hidden Gem in the whole of Portugal. This castle was built centuries ago on an island in the middle of the Tagus river and is simply stunning. Visitors are ferried over on a boat which makes for an incredibly romantic trip for two or a fun special day out for all the family. And the best thing? It is hardly ever busy, unless you happen to coincide with a film crew like we did last time we went! There is a fantastic picnic area overlooking the castle and a very trendy bar/restaurant which has been recently renovated. Well worth the hour drive there and back from your Portugal Villa.
Not far from Almourol is the ancient city of Tomar. Even with no prior knowledge of the city's colourful past Tomar is still a place worth visiting for its pituresque streets, imposing castle and beautiful monastery. But it is it's fascinating history including fleeing Templars, learned Kabbalists and even suggestions that the final resting place of the holy grail is nearby that really adds to the naturally spooky atmosphere of this sleepy town.
Tomar is also home to one of the best preserved Medieval Synagogues in the Iberian Peninsular which houses a small Jewish Museum.
Another location that doesn't get the amount of visitors it's natural beauty deserves are the islands of the Berlengas. Located about 10 kms off shore this small archipelago is serviced by a boat from Peniche which takes tourists from late May to late September. The Berlengas are home to many protected species of bird and also the imposing fort of São João Baptista, which throughout its history was attacked numerous times by English, French and Barbary pirates. The water is crystal clear and perfect for snorkelling although marine life doesn't get much more interesting than a few starfish and crustaceans - for more experienced divers however there are numerous wrecks that can be visited.
Let's face it, who doesn't love Dinosaurs? But I bet you never knew that not only is the Silver Coast renowned for fossils but there is even a species of dinosaur named after the local town of Lourinhã!
The cliffs overlooking the Atlantic are like treasure troves for fossil hunters but perhaps the most exciting discovery was that of a large carnivore in 1983 which identified as a new species and named Lourinhosaurus Antunesi. The remains of this and other finds, including a complete fossilised nest with un hatched eggs, are housed in the small yet fascinating Lourinhã museum in the centre of town.