Central Portugal is a region of Portugal ranging from the Atlantic coast to the mountainous interior.
- 1 Aveiro
- 2 Castelo Branco
- 3 Coimbra
- 4 Fátima
- 5 Figueira da Foz
- 6 Guarda
- 7 Leiria
- 8 Óbidos
- 9 Tomar
- 10 Viseu
The Beirões have endemic age old traits. The ancient Celtic-Iberian people gradually come down from the safety of their highlands and mixed with Mediterranean newcomers arriving on the lower coastal regions and upriver from estuaries. The later Lusitanian tribes are known over time, perhaps for reasons of self preservation, for having retreated to the high ground and also preferred forest cover to open spaces. The Punic Wars/Roman period decimated much of those people and their culture, however, despite the migrations and mixing of different ethnicities, pockets of relatively unmixed groups survived within areas of difficult access. With invasions happening from time to time, the pattern of survival kept repeating itself, enabling the accomulated experience and traits to be passed along with every new generation. Until recently, traits manifested themselves by a mix of wisdom earned through hardship and the degree of stubborness typical of mountain people with the optimism inherent by the common need to cooperate in order to survive. Nowadays, new roads, bridges and the forces of globalisation have diluted such endemic characteristics somewhat, however "a leopard can't change its spots".
Central Portugal lies between the country's two most important urban areas, centred between Lisbon, Porto and Vilar Formoso/Ciudad Rodrigo border crossing with Spain, thus benefiting from the railway and road connections between them. In particular the regular "Comboios de Portugal" long-distance trains, Alfa Pendular and Intercidades making scheduled daily stops at Coimbra and Aveiro railway stations, from there one can link up by bus or rental car to other destinations in the Centro.
This strategic position, coupled with a relatively low population density (approx. 3 million), did not warrant the Centro region to have its own airport. Both Lisbon and Porto international airports provide excellent connections with bus and train links radiating from there. Aerodromes near Coimbra and Aveiro exist to service private pilots and small aircraft.
Geographically the "Zona Centro" is not a very large area, never the less, it's topography is made up of a variety of terrain types, ranging from mountains to coastal beaches. The main road network is comprehensive in both quality and quantity. The secondary roads vary from excellent to average and continuously meander through every little hamlet, field and vilage forever, it seems much larger than the actual size.
The railways connect Aveiro and Coimbra to Spain via Vilar Formoso but road travel remains the best option to move around and visit interesting places.
Motorbiking or cycling about are a good way of visiting out of the beaten track places.
Visit the mountains of Estrela, Marofa, Gardunha, Lousa, Caramulo, and Bussaco.