This region, where the sea is always present, is considered particularly interesting to live, study and work, not only for the quality of the economical and material resources, but also for the richness and beauty of natural and cultural, a characteristic of the region.
Leiria, the capital of the regional district, hosts the Polytechnic of Leiria headquarters and three of its schools: the School of Education and Social Sciences (ESECS), the School of Technology and Management (ESTG) and the School of Health Sciences (ESSLei). It is a small city size where you can find the old and the new and a very good cultural tradition, hand in hand with a safe environment and a very good quality of life. Guarded by its beautiful castle has leisure areas to walk and enjoy throughout Lis river bank, cinemas and cultural spaces. In the historical center, besides finding the traditional flea market, you can attend cafes and bars, terraces and other places of interest. In the evening, which is always lively, especially in the Rodrigues Lobo Square (Praça Rodrigues Lobo), you will find many of our students, about 11,500 students are studying and living in the city.
The region of Leiria and West is rich in historical and cultural heritage. There are two of the most beautiful Portuguese monuments in – the Batalha Monastery and Alcobaça Monastery – classified by UNESCO as World Heritage. These two historical and artistic treasures of Gothic-style symbolize great moments in the history of Portugal, therefore not exempt a visit. The first – whose construction was ordered by the D. João I in honour of the Portuguese victory at the Battle of Aljubarrota, in 1385, and the second – a repository of the vast and centuries-old presence of Cistercian monks, where lie the tombs of D. Pedro and D. Inês de Castro, who represents the most beautiful tale of love story of Portuguese kings. The nearby castles of Leiria, Ourém and Porto de Mós, medieval and haughty, carry out centuries of history and memory and also deserve a visit.
Fátima Shrine, located 20 minutes away from Leiria, is a place of reference that annually receives over five million pilgrims, being one of the most important Marian sanctuaries in the world.
There are many places of interest that you cannot fail to visit and learn about!
:: West region – ride the wave! ::
The beauty of the sea and the nature are perhaps the most beautiful things we have in this coastal region. A few miles from Leiria, along the coast, the beaches follow one another: more than a dozen. They are very attractive places during the summer for sunbathing, strolling by the sea or ride a bicycle along the Atlantic Road.
Nazaré is the most typical beach, composed of narrow and winding streets, among the white houses and which end up in a very blue sea with outstanding waves. For that reason Nazaré has developed a project called The North Canyon Project to make the most of Nazaré sea potentialities, which are exclusive for being under the impact of the Canyon of Nazaré, a geomorphological undersea characteristic that powers such remarkable waves.
But there are many others: S. Pedro de Moel is a very beautiful and serene beach, where is a perfect symbiosis between the preservation of the natural environment and the harmony of dwellings; further north, you can find Pedrógão beach, known for its extensive sand pit that allows the realization sports of numerous events in summer; S. Martinho do Porto, in the municipality of Alcobaça, has a magnificent bay, and, further south, Foz do Arelho (Caldas da Rainha) or Supertubos (Peniche), with conditions conducive to practice various water sports such as surfing, fishing, diving, sailing, rowing, jet skiing, windsurfing and bodyboarding.
If you enjoy camping with friends, you can find lots of places in the region suitable. Nazaré, for instance, where Polytechnic of Leiria has a leisure park.
There is also the Pinhal de Leiria, whose plantation was ordered by the king D. Dinis, in the late thirteenth century, a region’s natural reference, right near the coast.
Besides the beaches, we still have in this region the presence of the mountain, where we can feel the purity of the air and we can go hiking, contemplating the landscape or even practice more radical activities. In the Serras de Aire and Candeeiros, inhabited by protected species and dominated by the limestone, there is a world of things to do outdoors. And below us, towards the deep underground, stand up true geologically sculpted in stone monuments, some of the most spectacular caves in Portugal. A visit not to be missed!
Caldas da Rainha
A little further south, there is Caldas da Rainha, a thermal, artistic and cultural city by excellence. In the School of Arts and Design (ESAD.CR) the imagination speaks louder. It breathes creativity and irreverence, characteristics of artistic environments. Caldas da Rainha has also been one of the major ceramic centers in the country, with factories considered authentic living museums. The pieces of the artist Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro stand out for their originality and scathing criticism in relation to social and political customs of his time, with iconic symbols like the popular figure of “Zé Povinho” and the cabbage dishes.
Sought for its cultural and artistic events, with events that mark everyday life, the city of Caldas da Rainha also has a strong commercial component, where it is pleasant to shopping, sightseeing and socializing.
The medieval town of Óbidos, built within the walls, is a little paradise that is worth visiting: to drink a ginjinha, see the castle or visit the Chocolate Festival.