The top 10 reasons to visit the Silver Coast of Portugal
The Silver Coast of Portugal, also known as the Costa de Prata is a region in Portugal that stretches from Lisbon to Figueira da Foz, though on some searches, the area can be defined as far north as Porto.
Maybe not as famous as the Algarve, but this also means not as busy or commercialised.
Although the defined search may be subject to some discussion, one thing that is not open to discussion is the beauty and diversity of this area.
It is a region where mass tourism has not taken hold, but is developing rapidly as one of the areas of Portugal where growth is at it’s highest, so if you want to visit an area of outstanding beauty, with out crowds of tourists, now is the time.
There are many reasons to visit the Silver Coast of Portugal but here are our top 10:
Beaches (praia) on the Silver Coast of Portugal
The beaches on the silver coast of Portugal have something to offer to everybody, whether you are looking for semi deserted coves, wild rugged rock formations or long stretches of pristine sand lapped by the Atlantic.
This beach is close to Nazare. Photo Courtesy of Tipping Point North Beach Nazare
If you would like the water without big waves or less crowded beaches, a trip to Obidos nature lagoon (Foz do Arelho) is a must, there is a narrow passage to the Atlantic, but this natural lagoon has many cycling and walking routes, where you can enjoy nature and the natural habitat.
If you are looking for the perfect family beach, there is Sao Martinho do Porto, which offers a horseshoe bay, where the beach is protected making it perfect for families, there are plenty of activities on this beach such as bouncy castles and a large inflatable water play in summer.
Fun in the sea at Sao Martinho do Porto
Nazaré, is a traditional resort where you can see the wooden fishing boats and drying fish on the sand or for the more energetic Nazaré has one of the most famous surf beaches in Portugal.
Or drive a little further along the coast (north along Atlantic Road) where you will find lots of beautiful and often deserted beaches to explore and enjoy.
But if you are looking for a beach break from your city visit, why not try Estoril or Cascais, close to Lisbon but both relaxing with clear blue water lapping at the shore.
With over 100 kms of coastline there will be something to suit every taste what ever you are looking for.
Food and eating on the Silver Coast of Portugal
There is a great variety of food to enjoy on the Silver coast, from freshly caught seafood through to traditional Portuguese dishes served in the many restaurants.
The choice is extensive, from Michelin starred restaurants in Lisbon and Cascais through to small family run eateries.
If you are out of the main tourist areas you can get a ‘Prato do Dia’ dish of the day or ‘Prato do Menu’ which will include the main dish, drink and a desert (often also the bread and olives starter). The menu can be for as little as 8€ and can include not just a drink but a carafe of wine.
Some of the must eat foods are Carne de Porco à Alentejana, who would ever have thought of Pork and clams together in a meal?
Or maybe the octopus, from Petiscos (tapas) through to grilled octopus as a main meal.
But our favourite is the bacalhao with migas
Or why not try one of the many varieties of sardines, from the freshly caught and grilled variety to the natural dried version from the beach and no visit to the Silver Coast is complete without trying one of the many custard tarts, especially the Pasteis de Nata or Bolas de Belem (a donut filled with custard!).
Holiday Accommodation on the Silver Coast of Portugal
The range of accommodation is extensive, whether you are looking for a 5-star hotel or a traditional run B&B.
If you visit Nazaré, you will still see many of the older Portuguese ladies dressed in local costume sitting on street corners and along the main drag with 'aluga-se' signs selling rooms for rent
If you are looking to stay on the Silver coast you can book a villa with private pool by the beach or a city centre apartment, a small run hostel, which can provide surf lessons or even a night in a castle at Obidos.
The choice really is large as you can imagine and for a great selection of properties why not take a look at Portugalholidays4u.com, to book direct with the owner and avoid those commission fees.
Water sports on the Silver Coast of Portugal
As you can imagine with over 100 kms of coastline there will be many water sports available.
The Big Wave Tour is held in Nazaré, which currently holds the world record for the largest wave ever surfed and is held annually, but for those wanting to take part in surfing there are many surf schools or suitable beaches such as Peniche and Baleal, or Nazaré, making these areas perfect for a surfing trip.
If fishing is your sport choice there is the option to go deep sea, big game or even shark fishing, all available from Cascais, or the opportunity to fish from the rocks on one of the many coves.
For those that like to dive, the Berlengas Archipelago, a short boat ride from Peniche has some perfect diving spots with hidden caves.
Sao Martinho do Porto is an excellent beach for child friendly swimming, sailing, (kite) surfing, canoeing, etc. and the nautical club can offer lessons and equipment hire.
Or for just some great family fun, the large inflatable water park that is available during summer.
Golf on the Silver Coast of Portugal
The Algarve is famous for its golf courses, but it won’t be long before the Silver Coast is competing for this title, with some amazing golf courses over looking the Atlantic Ocean. Planet Golf now recommends 7 top class golf courses on the Silver Coast, such as the Royal Óbidos Spa & Golf Resort. Severiano Ballesteros was involved in the design of the golf course, where he took advantage of the undulating terrain to produce a 6,400 metre course that incorporates the natural surroundings.
The golf course at Royal Óbidos Spa and Golf Resort
And after a day golfing where better to relax than in the club house that overlooks the 18th green and the Atlantic Ocean.
You can enjoy top class food or just relax at the spa and enjoy a glass of wine, with the stunning view.
Culture and heritage on the Silver Coast of Portugal
There is no shortage of culture and heritage available on the Silver Coast, from watching the traditional methods of drying fish on the beach through to visiting one of the many festivals and celebrations that are held in the towns and villages.
Sardines and Octopus drying on the beach in Nazare. Photo courtesy of Tipping Point North Beach Nazare
Many of the villages in this area remain traditional with white washed houses with bright yellow and blue detail around the windows and doors. In some areas you can still find beautifully tiled buildings (azulejos)
Most of these villages have family run restaurants where you can eat local cuisine, cooked the traditional way.
Or visit one of the many castles and preserved villages, far away from the high rise tourist accommodations found in other areas of Portugal.
There are 3 UNESCO world heritage sites on the Silver Coast:
Each one is stunning and definitely worth a visit, this article maybe of interest to you UNESCO World Heritage Sites you won’t want to miss on your visit to central Portugal
Pena Palace Sintra. Photo courtesy of Kuddel Muddel travel Blog
Towns and villages on the Silver Coast of Portugal
There are many villages and towns that should be visited such as Óbidos one of the most well preserved and picturesque, medieval walled towns in Portugal. The streets are narrow and cobbled with an array of shops, restaurants and white washed houses, overlooked by Óbidos castle.
Travel a little further inland and you will find Alcobaça Monastery, one of the most magnificent gothic monuments in the country and home to the tombs of Pedro and Inés, Portugal’s famous and tragic lovers.
Or a visit to Museu de Cerâmica in Caldas da Rainha, a spa town famed for its ceramics, this museum is one not to miss with examples of the famous tiles dating back to the 17th century.
Tiled buildings in Caldas da Rainha
Festivals and festas on the Silver Coast of Portugal
The Silver Coast has no shortage of festivals, whether a small local festa or a large international music festival, again there will be something for every taste and budget.
The most famous festival is in Lisbon in July, Nos Alive festival, a large international music festival lasting 3 nights with some of the biggest names, in pop and rock performing.
If you are looking for a more traditional festival, Sao Martinho do Porto holds the Santo António festival (patron saint of fishermen) in June.
Or you may be lucky and find one of the many village festas, where there is traditional music and dancing late into the night.
However if you are looking for something a little different, why not try the chocolate festival in Obidos? Castles and chocolate, can you imagine anything better?
What is the cost of a holiday on the Silver Coast of Portugal
Portugal is still relatively inexpensive as a holiday destination and as the Silver Coast is less developed than many other areas of Portugal, the cost of a holiday here will not be too expensive (in comparison with other similar locations in Europe).
With Lisbon International airport providing low cost flights from many countries and a fantastic pubic transport system your holiday budget will go further.
To stay by the coast or in Lisbon, the price will often rise, but there there are still many reasonable places to stay.
If you are staying in a self catering accommodation, there are many markets that sell amazing fresh food and the experience makes a great part of your holiday.
Weather on the Silver Coast of Portugal
The weather on the Silver coast is Mediterranean, with long hot summers and temperate winters.
The further inland you go the hotter it can get during summer.
Along part of the coast there are sea fogs, but this often lifts reasonably quickly due to the sun.
During the winter there will be rain, but this ensures the area remains a lush and beautiful green environment.
Summer temperatures often reach over 30 degrees Celsius and drop to an average of 10 degrees during winter.
As the area is so diverse it is difficult to give an average temperature, but this chart will give you an idea.
Average temperature of the Silver Coast. photo courtesy of weatherguide.com
In Summary, the Silver Coast will have something to offer everybody, and we hope you enjoy your holiday.
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