A traditional visit to monuments, famous squares and museums, that’s what a popular city trip usually includes. Leiria is no exception to this - it has a lot of history behind it - but I’m quite impressed with all the nature and atmosphere that comes together in the city.
Despite being a city, when you are inside the green parks, you almost forget that you have cars, stress, and traffic very close to you. The only thing you hear is the water falling into the river.
As a nature lover, I really enjoyed being at Parque dos Caniços because I found it amazing to have a waterfall in a middle of a city! However, there is very little information about this place on the internet - it is not a famous attraction. But please don’t miss the opportunity to get there anyway! This is the place I really recommend to sit on a stone and look at the landscape for a while or read a book.
These waters belong to the river Lis, which gives the name of many important buildings in Leira, namely the bus station.
The river Lis plays an important role in Leiria’s identity, being one of the few rivers with its flowing in a south-north direction and, in the final kilometres, in an east-west direction.
The river crosses the centre of Leiria, being followed by green areas and the Polis route - spaces which are much used for leisure and sports.
Divided into two paths - beige for pedestrians and green for cyclists - Polis is a walking path that passes through the middle of the city, skirting the Rio Lis scenery. Along the way, we crossed seven pedestrian bridges, all with different themes. My favorites were the one with a clock and the other was a bridge with a bar counter as if were drinking a beer while you were looking at the river. You can bring a snack with you and enjoy lunch there.
In Leiria you’re able to find many museums free of charge. This is one of them. According to the information on the museum, Leiria’s Paper Mill is one of the first ones created in the Iberian Peninsula.
Its legacy begins in 1411, in a space dedicated to the milling of cereals (corn, wheat and rye), the manufacture of oil and the production of paper had influenced the arrival of typography in Leiria and the Jewish culture.
Outside the museum there is, once again, a beautiful park to visit and to take beautiful pictures (some of them will make it look like you are in a beach because of the sand close to the watermill).
Visiting Leiria | Portugal
Perhaps the main attraction of the city, Leiria Castle, is a common destination for every single tourist. It’s almost mandatory to visit the castle (if you’re in shape, because the path is always climbing).
Even if you aren’t a fan of history, there is no way to avoid this place, as the castle is visible from all over the city. It’s located on a hill, at the top of the city.
If you choose to visit this castle, get ready for a trip to the past whilst also can finding a beautiful view over the city. At the end of the route, inside the castle, you will find a terrace with “windows” where you can sit and have a lovely moment.
The castle has been closed for rehabilitation and has opened again to the public on 22 May.
What I didn’t expect was to find; tiny potted lettuces on the street. Yes, I’m not crazy. On the streets, instead of planting flowers as a way to decorate the city, they also use plants that people can eat to decorate and bring colour the city - it’s a combination of decorating the streets and feeding the needy.
Famous Portuguese Writer
Eça de Queiroz was a famous Portuguese writer who wrote important books such as the Maias’ and the ‘Crime do Padre Amaro’. In spite of being Portuguese, his books were translated into about 20 languages.
Near the heart of the city, I accidentally found the house where he wrote one of his bestsellers. He lived there for a year and was inspired by the city to write Crime do Padre Amaro.
Unfortunately the house is not open to visitors, but those who are curious can peek through the window – it’s a very old house without any reconstruction - or learn about his life by visiting an exhibition opposite the building with his name.
Leiria is very easy to reach by car our bus. For further information about events in Leiria visit: https://www.redecultura2027.pt/pt/agenda