Covilhã: Travel and tourism

St. Martin Chapel
St. Martin Chapel
The seat of the county, Covilhã, is the largest town of the Serra da Estrela area and its prosperity has for long been linked to the textile industry, which developed from the wool produced by sheep grazing on the slopes of the mountains.

A lively town, as can be seen at its busy and colourful markets and fairs, Covilhã also grew popular among visitors travelling to the heights and resorts of the Serra da Estrela, namely to Penhas da Saúde (once a health spa and now attracting skiers) and to Torre, the highest point, rising to 1993 metres and surrounded by slopes used for skiing and other Winter sports or just to have fun in the snow.

At Covilhã, it is worth strolling along the pretty municipal garden which offers a panoramic view of this pleasant town, or visiting the old Jewish quarter, the former Royal Factory which now lodges the University or the Sant'Iago Church, with its sober Baroque dome.

Along the county of Covilhã, typical granite houses and water-mills may still be seen at villages such as Paul and Unhais da Serra.

From Covilhã, visitors may also embark on a gastronomical tour featuring the famous Serra cheese, made from the milk of ewes and prized for its rich flavour, but also delicious home-made bread and sausages and succulent dishes such as a typical red bean soup, roast kid, lamb stew with bread or grilled trout, among many other specialities.
Pousada de Juventude das Penhas da Saúde Pousada de Juventude das Penhas da Saúde
Penhas da Saúde, Covilhã
The Youth Hostel of Penhas da Saúde is located in the middle of the Serra da Estrela Natural Park, at an altitude of about 1900 metres (6300 feet).

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