Mother’s Day was upon us and the end of the second confinement as well. We found here the ideal time for a family weekend getaway.
It is now possible to circulate between municipalities and even have a meal in a restaurant. The credit is due to the ongoing deconfinement plan, which allows more and more people to be found on the streets. We wanted to take advantage of this ‘new freedom’ and have a perfect family weekend.
There’s nothing more invigorating than a little escape from routine with a trip to celebrate Mother’s Day. And in Portugal, there is no shortage of fantastic places for trips like this. This time we headed to Beira Interior.
I left home early with my parents, godparents, and their children and partners and we headed from Leiria to Gouveia.
We had lunch in a beautiful restaurant – Restaurante Ponte dos Cavaleiros. Located in an old olive oil press, in Arcozelo da Serra, in the municipality of Gouveia, the restaurant and cheese dairy, Ponte dos Cavaleiros, is a meeting point with the traditional flavors of Serra da Estrela. We toured the surrounding area, namely, the community oven and the traditional water-powered mill.
In the restaurant, the food is very good and the house wine is very pleasant, as well as the friendliness of the staff.
With a full stomach, we continued our journey to Celorico da Beira. In Linhares da Beira is the parish castle, located on a rocky hill overlooking the Serra da Estrela. Although there is little information about the primitive human occupation of this site, some authors attribute the foundation of the settlement to the Túrdulos, which would have settled here around 850 BC.
From here we went to Aguiar da Beira, where we would spend the night, not before visiting the Roman Bridge of Candal – about 10km from Aguiar da Beira – it is thought to be a bridge from the Roman occupation that linked Viseu to Mérida (Spain).
Like good Portuguese, we had a picnic in this area and went to the Cavaca Waterfall. In the middle of the stream and close to Caldas da Cavaca, a small lake is formed that gives rise to the waterfall that we see here. This, when falling, forms another lake with a waterfall of about 3 meters high.
Next to the waterfall is a picnic area with tables where we saw that we could have had a snack, if we hadn’t done so, minutes before, in the trunk of the car 😊
We took a walk through the center of Aguiar da Beira, had dinner at a local pizzeria – Senna Bar Pizzaria – and we went to rest because the day was already so long.
We spent the night at Terma’s Park Hotel ***
On Sunday, after a tasty and nostalgic breakfast at the hotel, we went to visit the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Lapa.
The history of Lapa begins in 1493 with the appearance of the image of Our Lady under a limpet, brought to that place by religious who fled from the Moor general Al Mansor.
A few years later, and already under the guidance of the Jesuits, the current Church was built, which was completed in 1635, in the exact spot where Pastor Joana discovered the image of Our Lady.
The cave where the image was discovered has a very new stone where the tradition is that everyone goes, except those with serious sins. We were also curious to test ourselves on that narrow stone, but access may be restrained due to restrictions imposed by covid-19.
Even before lunch, we went to see the viewpoint of the Sanctuary of Senhora de Ao Pé da Cruz, in Sernancelhe.
A viewpoint with panoramic views over the village and surrounding mountains, with a picnic area where you can have a picnic. In the meantime we had already booked a table at restaurante Quinta de Santo Estêvão Restaurant.
The Quinta de Santo Estêvão restaurant is located on a 126-hectare property. The food is very good and the space is very well taken care of. The farm has several animals and is very pleasant for children.
On the way back home, passing through Beira Alta, we stopped in Viseu. Interestingly, and without realizing it, I had never visited Viseu. Except for a few years I went to a concert at the Feira de São Mateus, but it was at night and I saw nothing. This little visit was not enough to really get to know the city, but I will come back.
We continue on foot along the old cobbled road to the beautiful Cathedral, passing the Igreja da Misericórdia, the various gardens and parks and the Praça da República. The various stores of traditional commerce that still survive stood out.
It was time to go home for another week of work, but with renewed energy and completely reinvigorated by those 2 days with the family that felt so good.
Plan your weekend
- Book a hotel in advance and take advantage of the promotions on the websites for this purpose (I make most of my reservations on Booking).
- Research the places to visit nearby and create a brief itinerary so you don’t waste time. Two days go by so fast.
- When making the itinerary, also plan the places where you want to eat, as if you are thinking of eating in restaurants, it is important that you make your reservation in advance. We all know that the new rules require it. Spaces are more conditioned and no one wants to waste 1 hour in queues.
- If traveling with more than 5 people, consider renting a 9-seater van. We usually do that and, apart from saving on fuel and 2 car tolls, it’s a lot more fun.
Want more ideas for a quick getaway? Check out here!