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The Iconic Wellness Spot with Queen's Baths Historic Thermal Springs, and Authentic Museu de Cerâmica.

Caldas da Rainha

Caldas da Rainha is a picturesque wellness and spa center with a rich history, perfect for a short trip.

Caldas da Rainha is a travel spot, mostly known by locals, which definitely deserves the attention of a curious traveler. The fact that it's not mentioned in most of the Portuguese travel guides is its main advantage because as a result, this charming city is a perfect place for exploration without crowds of tourists. First of all, it's a wellness center, and additionally, it's a city of arts with museums, offering unique exhibitions, filled with artistic treasures. Even a short walk along the streets or in the central park is already a source of inspiration because of unusual architecture. A great example of the local style is the College of Art and Design. Nowadays it's one of the most prestigious educational institutions in Portugal. Bordallo Pinheiro ceramics factory, famous all over the World, is also located here.

There is an ancient legend, according to which the name of the city is connected with Queen Leonor. Once she came here for bathing in local springs in 1485, loved the place, and then ordered the construction of the first balneological clinic in Europe. The architectural ensemble is unique, being carefully preserved till our times. Most people who come here know Caldas da Rainha as one of the oldest balneological resorts in Europe. Since the 15th century, people have come here to get healing sulfur waters. 

The wellness and spa resort, which has been welcoming tourists for centuries, offers numerous hotels for any budget, entertainment centers, and lush parks. The first spot to visit and a pearl of landscape gardening is the Dom Carlos I park, dating to the 17th century. The museum of artist José Malhoa is located right in the park. It's highly recommended to have a walk here, enjoying an intricate network of paths through the park and along the picturesque lake, or even organizing a picnic in the green meadow. At the entrance of the Museum of Jose Malhoa, there is a statue with an easel in its hands. Anyone who wants to know a bit more about the Portuguese Arts would enjoy the exposition. José Malhoa is quite famous in Portugal, but his best works seem to be kept in Lisbon. As for this museum exhibition, here are maybe not the most interesting of Jose Malhoa’s paintings, but worthy. The most well-known here is the  Portrait of Queen Leonora 1926. 

Caldas da Rainha is a small place, mostly good for a short visit or a weekend. But those who come here for a few days can travel around as there are numerous local attractions, and the city is not far from the oceanside. The first great beach to pay attention to is just a short drive distance,  15 minutes away from Caldas. São Martinho do Porto has a wide sandy beach, perfect for leisure activities safely protected from high waves. Even in midseason, it's a great idea to come here as there is a long promenade for comfortable walking at any time of the year. The pedestrian alley was created by the landscape designer Nadia Schilling, and can be found on the map as  Passadiços da Foz do Arelho with one more spot, the sandy beach of Foz do Arelho. It's safe for swimming with children, well-equipped, but not crowded even in high season.

In common, Caldas da Rainha is a perfect choice for calm rest and a peaceful mind. Nothing can be better than to spend time with your nearest and dearest in a cozy family restaurant after balneological procedures. The visitors have a unique opportunity to taste wine from the local winery Encosta da Quinta. In common, this region is highly popular among expats due to its excellent service, mild climate, and developed infrastructure.

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All About Caldas da Rainha

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When to Visit

The climate in Caldas da Rainha is mostly mild, without radical temperature drops and downs. The whole region is characterized by dry summers and rainy winters with rare minus temperatures. In the coldest months, the temperature does not drop below -6ºС, and in summer its maximum reached temperature is +30ºС. The city is a great idea for a one-day trip at any time of the year as there is no risk of freezing in winter and getting burned in the bright sun in summer. As for those who want to combine visiting Caldas da Rainha with the nearby beaches, it should be remembered that despite the mild Portuguese climate, the Atlantic Ocean remains cool. In summer the water temperature is 18-21 degrees, and in winter no more than 15.

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Getting Around

Caldas da Rainha has a well-developed public transport system with 3 routes served. The local carrier serves blue minivans to get around the city and nearby areas. But the best idea to see the city is to simply walk around. The most interesting places are located

within a 10-15 minute walk from each other. One more great idea is to rent a bike. As throughout the rest of Portugal there is also an option to get a taxi. The price for a short ride around the city will be 5-7 euros. In case of longer trips to the nearby attractions, the price is discussed individually. The specific features of Caldas, which should be remembered by those who come by their car, are extremely narrow streets. From Lisbon, it's possible to get here by bus or by train for 2-3 hours and 8-10 euros.

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Travel Information

You can get an unforgettable experience while traveling in Caldas da Rainha if you consider a few simple Caldas da Rainha travel tips:

1. How do you make the first trip to Caldas da Rainha unforgettable?

Caldas da Rainha is not a popular spot and overcrowded tourist destination. It's more a place for calm rest and a favorite spot of locals. And this is its advantage, as the city is perfect for a deep dive into the real culture of the country. This place is a city of art, and its artistic treasures can be seen not only in museums. The visitors should find time to simply walk along the streets, full of sculptures, and try local cuisine in small cozy restaurants, enjoying the slow motion of life. Even though most people come here to relax in a spa center, the city deserves attention and here can be made a simple but interesting route for a day, or even for a few days' stay.

2. What is a list of Caldas da Rainha hidden gems?

The city is rather small, so it's very easy to see all its significant places in a few hours. As for the places that the guests of the city mostly skip because they prefer to spend time on wellness, there are a few of them. First, Caldas da Rainha is famous for its excellent clay for pottery. The factory, which still produces recognizable ceramic items, was founded here by Bordalo. All the dishes and ceramic tiles are carried out in a bright, original style. 

In your free time, it's recommended to go to Praça da Fruta, an authentic daily fruit and vegetable market. Local farmers have sold their products here every day around the week since the 15th century. And of course, Praça da República, the central square of the city with its lively atmosphere against the backdrop of colorful houses with azulejos is a must-visit place.

3. What dishes are the must-try in Caldas da Rainha? 

The region has its unique cuisine, and one of the dishes for a new culinary experience is “Kavakash dash Kaldash”. These cookies are sugar syrup-coated and then sold in all the shops around the city. One more traditional dish is a sweet omelet, and egg cake shaped like a lamprey fish. 

As for the main dishes to try in the city's restaurants, among them should be mentioned the eel stew, and an unusual local variation of cod, cooked in olive oil. This way of cooking is a significant feature of the local cuisine, so all seafood lovers can enjoy octopus in olive oil.

For a snack, it's recommended to try a seafood sandwich with a soft drink, which will cost a maximum of 10 euros per person.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Get clear and helpful insider tips for the most common queries about Caldas da Rainha

What kind of local souvenirs to buy in Coimbra and where to get them?

As Caldas da Rainha is known for its ceramics, it's recommended to focus on choosing such options for souvenirs. An iconic item is considered to be the cabbage-shaped pottery.

What types of accommodations are available in Baleal?

Baleal offers all types of accommodations for any budget. The visitors have a great choice of affordable guesthouses, beachfront properties, and luxury resorts to fit all their needs.

Are there traditional festivals and events in Sagres?

Yes, there are numerous art exhibitions, music concerts, and traditional festivals. It's highly recommended to visit the Feira de São Bernardo, a unique celebration with live music, and the Festa do Vinho e do Chocolate.