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I’m sure you’ve heard about the Algarve, Lisbon and Porto, in Portugal. But, have you heard about Ovar, Aveiro, Coimbra, Castelo Branco and all the “centre area” of this country?

Well, let me then introduce you! Aproximately 2,5 years ago I went for the first time to Portugal for work. That was the first time I signed a contract by myself. I had the opportunity to meet Salomé (an experienced hotelier and now my friend), who was the one that introduced me to all this “particular area”. She put me in contact with the Tourism Promotion Board of the Centre of Portugal, and they invited me to a fam-trip through the centre, which was a great experience and I got to know how charming this region was.

Silvia (in representation of the ARPT Centro de Portugal) and I took a car from Porto and drove around cities like Aveiro, Curia, Cantanhede, Figueira da Foz, Coimbra, Castelo Branco, Fundao, Guarda & Ovar. That was the beggining of a new future destination for me and nowadays I have a very good relationship with the tourism sector, hoteliers, that are fighting for this destination to be known.

So today, I want to show you a little bit of this region and guide you around!

Let’s start with Aveiro, the best known city and the second most populous city, in this area. Aveiro is also called the “Portuguese Venice”, due to its canals and boats (called “moliceiros”) that look similar to Venice. There is a regatta every summer where these moliceiros show their colours and people celebrate a big party by the river.

In the 10th century, it was known as “Aviarium”, that means “a preserve for birds”. Aveiro has a well-known lighthouse (with an elevator!), which is the highest in Portugal, the second highest in the Iberian Peninsula (the first one is located in Chipiona, Cádiz, Spain) and one of the highest in the world. “Hotel As Américas”, “Hotel Aveiro Palace” and “Hotel Moliceiro” are some examples of a great accommodation there. For food? “Solpoente” restaurant is a good place!

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You could book a hotel right in the centre of Aveiro or, you could do what I did last weekend. I love to “live the culture and the environment of everywhere I go”, so here I wanted to feel as a Portuguese and take the chance to experience December by the sea.

Just 30 minutes away from Aveiro by car you will find the “COOL & SEA BEACH HOUSE”. A house made by wood in Ovar (one of the best cities to go specially in Carnivals, 6th of March next year), consisting of 6 rooms, cosy, portuguese style, 3 minutes away walking from the beach and a modern and “feel at home” atmosphere inside. It reminds me to those kind of hostels in California, but cooler and trendier! I am very used to hotels where you receive a keycard, go into your room, and that’s it. Here you get a key, go into the garden-solarium, realise that you have a jacuzzi on your right side, and it is “bubbling” just getting ready for you. After that, you are stepping through the kitchen, where on the left hand there is a fireplace for those cold nights when you get out of the jacuzzi and have a hot chocolate. I got the “Orquídea” room (on the pic), with a private bathroom. Comfortable bed, flat TV, wi-fi and the coziest feeling while listening to the sea.

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Next morning we woke up and found a delicious breakfast where we could have cereals, different kinds of breads, juices, coffee, fruits, cupcakes, yoghourts… And later on, we took a walk by the beach, enjoying the great weather of 18 degrees. Ovar is a good point of reference for visiting the area of the Centre.

So we drove to our next stop: Coimbra (1 hour away from Ovar by car). Coimbra was the first capital of the country until the 13th century. Was the National Capital of the Culture in 2003 and it is very known because of its University, which is one of the oldest in Europe. This was once the residence of the Royalty,  and it also has a prison. A romantic city, with narrow streets, castles, churches, known as “the City of the Fado”. And what is “fado”? It is a Portuguese music genre where the singers express their bad times singing. In 2011, Fado music was inscribed in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists. After touring the old town, we went to Conímbriga, which is a Roman settlement. But in the middle of the way, we found a very old bus, what we thought was a good spot to take pictures!

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After a touristic day, we wanted to go out at night, and we went to Magnolia Club and 4everclub! Both good spots to go out nearby our Beach House!

The next day we went to Porto, one of the best places to eat octopus or bacalao! And as a picture says more than a 1000 words, here they are. By the way, my favourite restaurant here is “Chez Lapin”, where I reccommend you to have a “Bacalao with bechamel” with Porto wine. Delicious! Other restaurants are “Book”, where you will experience eating on books in an antique library that now is a restaurant; “Canelas de Coelho”, modern Portuguese tapas, very good service and decoration, and cheap; “Shis”, a sushi restaurant on the sea, with top views and not expensive.

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We will be back to the Beach House! Hoping my followers will give it a chance to this destination too!

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Revealing Tourism