Leiria: Travel and tourism

Crossed by the river Lis and its tributary, the Lena, all the region is characterized by fertile fields and forests, namely pinewoods, which provide a landscape of unusual amenity and soothing shades of green.

Leiria itself is dominated by the hilltop castle built in 1135 by the first king of Portugal, Afonso Henriques, and restored in the early 14th century by King Dinis, when it gained a fine keep and graceful loggia, with eight ogival arches fixed on twofold pillars.

The castle commands a magnificent view over the city, namely the charming old town, with small dwellings over archways and elegant arcades.

It is worth admiring the small Church of Saint Peter (12th century), the 16th-century Cathedral and the grand stairway leading to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Incarnation, from the same century.

Pinhal de Leiria, the long coastal pine forest planted by King Dinis to supply wood for ship building, extends northwards to the beach of Pedrógão, quite popular during the Summer, and the nearby lagoon of Ervideira offers good fishing.

The county has a rich gastronomical tradition: along the coast, you can find varied and abundant shellfish and the characteristic caldeirada (a rich stew of a variety of fish and potatoes); inland, the diet is succulent and robust, with specialities such as morcela de arroz (a well-seasoned blood sausage with rice), roasted sucking pig or chanfana (stew made with goat and wine).

The delicious brisas do Lis (Lis breezes), famous for their sweetness, were originally created by the nuns from the old Santana Convent.
Hotel Ibis Leiria Hotel Ibis Leiria
$$ (30 to 50 euros)

The Ibis Leiria hotel is located south of Leiria, between the A1 and A8 motorways. Only a 10-minute walk from the city centre and 25 kilometres (15 miles) away from the Sanctuary of Fátima and the beach of São Pedro de Moel, it is ideal for weekend trips; Batalha and Óbidos are nearby historical cities.

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