Central Portugal is a richly diverse region in terms of culture, history and nature. Coimbra is the principal city and is Portugal’s third city overall. While Central Portugal does not have geopolitical borders we can separate it without too much trouble.
First of all, we can talk of the districts inside of Central Portugal, these do have specific geopolitical boundaries and are further subdivided into council areas.
Districts of Central Portugal
- Castelo Branco
The population is in the region of 2,500,000 with about 80 people in every square kilometre.
Central Portugal’s Geography.
The interior of the region is mountainous and forested with pine, eucalyptus oak and chestnut making up the bulk of the trees. There are a number of plateaus where you will find towns and cities. The most notable of the mountain ranges is the Serra da Estrela, there is a small but fully functioning ski resort here. There are also a number of artificial ski centres if you can't wait for the season to start.
Rivers and river valleys lie at the bottom of many of these mountains and here you can indulge in a range of outdoor pursuits:
- Quad Biking
- Mountain Biking
- Water Skiing
The coastal part of the region also known as the Silver Coast has a number of world-class beaches. The beaches are best known for surfing and due to the fact that the two highest waves ever surfed, have both been on this coastline the amount of visitors has soared in recent years. More on the Silver Coast here.
Central Portugal’s Wildlife
as you would expect is fairly abundant, Central Portugal lies on the migratory routes of many birds, so large quantities of birds can be found (600 species or more). Wild boar and wild goats can be found in the forests and hills, along with foxes, deer, mongoose, badgers, rabbits, red squirrels and Iberian hare. The far rarer Iberian Lynx can be spotted in certain areas. Wolves can be found only in the far north of Portugal. Occasional rumours of Brown Bears crossing from Spain are heard. Snakes and lizards are commonplace, everywhere in the Iberian peninsular and of course this region is no different.
Central Portugal's Economy
Being in the centre of the country does have some advantages, the modern infrastructure of Portugal has the industrialised North of Portugal linked with the high tech industries of
Lisbon and this has led to a number of industries thriving in Central Portugal.
List of Economic Activity in Central Portugal:
- Textile and Clothing
- Agriculture and Livestock
- Olive Oil
- Plastic Injection Molding
- Information Technology
In the past, poor transport infrastructure held back some areas of Central Portugal, this has now been addressed with an ambitious road-building program, which is now more or less complete.
Now, with an integrated rail, road and sea infrastructure in place, there is nothing to stop all parts of central Portugal, joining in with the economic improvements witnessed elsewhere in Portugal.
Education in Central Portugal
There are a number of Universities in Central Portugal, most notable is the University of Coimbra, this is Portugal’s oldest university and one of the oldest in Europe. Indeed many of the most famous sons of Portugal have trodden its halls.
List of Universities both private and state-run:
- Aveiro University (State)
- Beira Interior University (State)
- Coimbra University (State)
- Figueira do Foz University (Private)
- Vasco do Gama University in Coimbra (Private)
For more information on Education in Portugal.
History of Central Portugal
The earliest signs of human existence in Central Portugal come from a cave burial site located 10 kilometres from Tomar. Nossa Senhora das Lapas is the name of the site and is dated back to about 5000 bc.
The Lusitanians were the first real civilisation of note before the Roman colonization, the ruins of Conimbriga are the best-preserved Roman ruins in Central Portugal but there are others such as the Roman Villa at Rabacal, this is a 4th century Villa built along the old Roman road between Olisipo (Site near Sintra) and Bracara Augusta (modern day Braga).
Other Roman remains can be found in the form of archways and small bridges all over Central Portugal.
After the fall of the Roman Empire Central Portugal was largely taken over by the Visigoths, they ruled for 3 centuries the 5th to the 8th.
The 8th Century saw the arrival of the Moorish invaders and Central Portugal became a battleground between Islamic warriors and the Christian Crusaders.
The Christian Reconquista is a long fight that culminates in a Christian victory and the formation of the first Portuguese county, Coimbra county boundaries are little changed today and they were the precursor to Portugal becoming a country. Portugal in fact was the first country with constant boundaries, governed under one ruler in Europe. It is fair to say, in the modern sense of the word, that Portugal is Europe’s first country.
Central Portugal Property
Most people are aware that the price of a property in the region is below that of anywhere else in southern Europe, but it is perhaps the choice of property that is most surprising.
From seaside or lakeside villas through to a stone cottage in a pretty hamlet, Central Portugal has something to offer you.
If you are looking for a sustainable greener future then a small farm may be what you are looking for and there are plenty to choose from.
Or perhaps you wish to immerse yourself into Portuguese culture then a village property may be more suitable. Retirement to a nice country villa or a holiday home in the sun they are all possible
Follow the link for an inexhaustible array of property for sale in Central Portugal.