Travelers, welcome to Leiria! Are you ready to start a new adventure in another Portuguese city? So let’s get to know the city that we are about to explore.
Leiria located in the district of Leiria, is located at the edge of the pine forest Pinhal, a pine forest that separates the city from the sea that crosses the coast along which there are some tourist sites and some nice views of the city. We can define Leiria as a city located halfway between Lisbon and Porto. Today it is home to industries and commerce with an important economic weight (favored by education, health…) but despite this modern side, the city preserves traces of the past with all its historical monuments. Its historic center extends between the hill of the castle of Leiria and the river Lis. The city also includes the “Região de Leiria” that owns districts such as: Marinha Grande, Ourém, Alcobaça, Fátima and the nearby Nazaré. In recent years there was a development on a global level, with the creation of numerous new parks, public spaces and so on; it was also built a long walk along the river, much appreciated by anyone, sportsman or not. Good news for football lovers, an important structure (and also very beautiful!) to visit is the Estádio Dr. Magalhães Pessoa.
To know more (what to eat, where to eat, where to have fun, things to visit…) continue to read.
The city is culturally vibrant thanks to various cultural entities that populate it (such as Leiria’s Public Library, Afonso Lopes Vieira, Arquivo, Ateneu, Leirena and O Nariz, Associação Fazer Avançar, FADE IN, Metamorfose, ECO). Well, we’ve already said enough, it’s time to start our tour.
PLACES TO VISIT (MUSEUMS/THEATERS…)
Banco de Portugal
- Sé Catedral de Leiria: it is the cathedral of Leiria that combines the Mannerist style and the Baroque style. The façade has an impressive appearance while the interior is much simpler than you can imagine, creating an harmonious and balanced contrast. The cathedral has three chapels and behind the church there is a cloister with a small courtyard and galleries inside. Two other interesting and beautiful churches to visit in the city are Igreja and Convent de Santo Agostinho and Santuario de Nossa Senhora da Encarnacao.
- Then there is the Santuário do Senhor Jesus dos Milagres, a few kilometers from Leiria, maybe it is the most important one as one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations in the country, which every year attracts thousands of pilgrims.
- Moinho do Papel: this was the structure where took place the production of the paper. However today the building is a museum where you can learn all about the method of the production of the paper in pre-industrial times. In addition the structure has a mill, where takes place the grinding of cereals, and a small stream which gives to the structure a rustic appearance. You can also buy flours produced with river energy. Interesting don’t you think??
- Museu de Leiria: the museum tells the story of Leiria from prehistory to the most modern times. Once it was an ex-convent (and you can see it), it gives the impression of being on one side a museum and on the other a very special church! The exterior is very beautiful, dominated by the celestial color while the inside opens with the patio, dominated by the yellow walls and all this goes to create a nice contrast.
- Centro de Interpretação da Batalha de Aljubarrota: this center tells an important piece of Portuguese history (but we will not reveal you it eheh!) and is particularly focused on military history. All this is explained with modern audiovisuals (in a suggestive cinema hall) and objects. Some weapons, have been recreated on purpose to make them try to visitors and in particular to children. The visit doesn’t take place only inside but also outside where the guide will show you the green space with some weapon (it seems want to be recreate the battlefield) and will continue the historical events. Not far from the structure there is a small pine forest where to rest.
- Banco de Portugal: located in a beautiful ancient building, the structure is used as an art gallery and once intended for cultural use. Therefore the space is used to host important painting exhibitions. In addition, the building is part of the urban landscape and therefore you can understand its predominance in the city.
- Castelo de Leiria: you can’t go to Leiria and don’t visit its castle! It is an indispensable stop. The structure is very beautiful and fairy and its style is Gothic. It is situated on a plateau and so we let you imagine the breathtaking view of the whole city, as if the castle dominates it from up there! The interior is just what you see in the historical films set in medieval castles, the various rooms, objects (such as weapons), the balcony, the bell tower, the small church… It is particularly impressive in the evening, when it’s all lit up. All this to say that you have to see it absolutely!
- Glass Museum of Marinha Grande: the museum is dedicated to the birth and development of the glass (with many models and collections absolutely in glass therefore eyes open to all that fragility!). However this also looks at other aspects such as technological and cultural always related to the main theme. The building is distinguished by its neoclassical style (and it is quite evident).
- If you love art and want to know more about who were the artists who gave their contribution, don’t miss Joaquim Correia Museum, a museum dedicated to this artist; Casa-Museu João Soares, a beautiful modern building with a part built in glass, inside which there is a library, rooms with temporary and permanent exhibitions and some rooms made available for small cultural initiatives (who knows maybe it can happen that you are there in one of these moments!); Edifício da Resinagem, dedicated to contemporary art.
- Centro de Interpretação Ambiental: it is a center dedicated to the theme of the environment and is located next to the river Lys. Its intent is to raise awareness and educate man towards respect and the preservation of nature that surrounds us. It does this through theme exhibitions, images, videos, sensory activities. A really interesting place from which you can learn a lot.
The theaters we can find in the city are: Teatro José Lúcio da Silva, Teatro Miguel Franco (one of the most important), Leirena Teatro-Companhia de Teatro de Leiria.
Museu de Leiria
Leiria is not only lively on a cultural level, but there is a lot as regard the space dedicated to entertainment… Let’s discover where.
- River Lis: right here, on the banks of the river, there is an area so pleasant to walk around or you can choose to rent a bike and make the whole route on it. This area is located near the Museum of Leiria and just in those parts of the city we want to suggest you a beautiful restaurant (just in case you were hungry or if you are there and are looking for a place to eat the typical dishes), it is named Pé do Rio, overlooking on the river.
- Jardim Luís de Camões: it is a small garden with a tree-lined avenue. This public garden is very famous because here took place one of the most beautiful events in the city, the Exposição Distrital do Bicentenário happened in 1940 at the time of the well-known author Miguel Torga. And if this garden is not enough, the municipal park of Leiria is just a few steps away.
- Troncão Parque: this really is a complete and very inviting park! It has tables and benches, barbecue (and so the pic-nic area), toilets, various fitness equipment, bars, playgrounds (soccer, volleyball…). So there’s something for everyone! Another park but suitable and designed just for the little ones with many interactive and fun games is the Cool Park Leiria.
- Praia do Pedrogao: whether it’s winter or summer, there is nothing better than a beautiful and healthy walk along the ocean, right here in this vast and unique beach of the city. It could seem a bit wild but it is made more urban by the buildings behind. In any case, as a good seaside places, the promenade is full of bars where you can stop for a while and enjoy excellent fish! So don’t miss this opportunity.
- Then, going to the main square of Leiria, Praça Rodrigues Lobo (in the historical heart of the city), every week there is a market of antiques and crafts, unmissable to discover the Portuguese lifestyle. In addition the square is home to bars used especially for cultural events. For shopping instead we have the shopping center Leiria Shopping, not bad the structure! But we also have material for those who love football, in fact a must is the view of the colorful Estádio Municipal de Leiria, with a truly remarkable structure.
- Among some interesting activities to do we find: Quinta do Pinheiro Manso for a tour on the back of a magnificent horse, Unum Secretum an enigmatic escape game. In addition, if you have time you have to visit the surroundings areas and each of these has beautiful and important attractions. Among the various areas there are: Marinha Grande, Batalha, Alcobaça, Obidos (with its beautiful medieval village is also the home to one of the best events, the Chocolate Festival), Nazaré (with the panoramic funicular connecting the area near the ocean, what a view!)
Jardim Luís de Camões
Leiria is a city of students and that is why it has a rich nightlife. The latter is mainly concentrated in the areas near the center and in the square Praça Francisco Rodrigues Lobo. In these areas there is everything: pubs, bars, discos, clubs.
Among the locals we find:
- The Box: nightclub
- Clube Musique:nightclub
- Palace Kiay: disco
- Guilt Leiria: disco
- Mulligan’s Irish Bar
Açorda de mariscos
As for the typical dishes also here there is something to discover, let’s see.
- Açorda de mariscos: it is a dish made of bread soup with garlic, eggs, coriander, shrimp, clams and different spices.
- Frango na Pucara: it is chicken (cooked in a terracotta pot) with the addition of ham, butter, spices, mustard, Porto (you should know what it is, anyway for those who still don’t know or need to a review, very bad haha, is the typical wine of the city of Porto).
- Feijoada de chocos: this dish consisting of red beans with calamari. Simple but with a strong flavor.
- Touchinho do ceu: it is a dessert prepared with many eggs (we know of the great and beloved use of eggs in the Portuguese culture), sugar and almonds. The taste is delicate and the texture is half between a sponge cake and a gelatinous dessert.
- Pão de Ló: it is one of the best delicacies of the Center of Portugal. A beautiful sponge cake, high and soft with many different variations. So good!
- As for the wine Quinta de Melgaço is the best in the city.
Touchinho do ceu
WHERE TO EAT (RESTAURANTS/CAFE’…)
As a last step, there are them, the locals where you can taste the typical Portuguese food.
- Restaurante Casa Da Nora: Mediterranean, European, Portuguese, international, vegetarian cuisine, vegan options, gluten-free menu options.
- Ao Largo: European, Portuguese, vegetarian cuisine, vegan options, gluten-free menu options.
- Olive Restaurante: European, Portuguese, contemporary cuisine.
- Taberna do Anastácio: European, Portuguese cuisine.
- A Casa da Mãe Joana: European, Portuguese, vegetarian cuisine.
- Cervejaria Joao Gordo: Mediterranean, European and Portuguese cuisine.
- Restaurante Montecarlo Salvador: Mediterranean, European and Portuguese cuisine.
- Toasty: European, Portuguese cuisine.
- Mau Manel: European, Portuguese cuisine.
- Leitao 1743: cafe/wine bar with Portuguese cuisine, street food.
- Liceu – Casual Food: Mediterranean, European, Portuguese cuisine.
Well, our tour in Leiria ends here while our adventure around Portugal is still quite long so we leave immediately for our next destination that will be… Continue in the next episode hahah!
Let us know your opinions about this place. If you liked it or not, if you’ve been there or you’re going to go there? What you liked the most or least? We’re curious to read your opinions.
A big kiss to everyone.
Below we will list the accommodations that you can find in Leiria.