Serra da Estrela
The “Star Mountain Range” is the highest mountain range in continental Portugal. The oddly shaped massif, glacial lakes, and beautiful forests make this natural park an outstanding scenic attraction. A unique feature is the Covão dos Conchos dam, which features a natural sinkhole known worldwide. Typical handicraft of this region includes leather and woolen articles, handmade clogs and the Queijo Serra da Estrela, a soft cheese made with raw sheep’s milk, cardoon thistle and salt. Finally, the Estrela Mountain Dog is one of the oldest breeds in Portugal that is devoted to guard herds and homesteads.
The Cova da Beira region has a particularly rich gastronomy and typically includes partridge- or hare- based dishes, roasted wild boar, Sabugeiro dark rye bread or chestnut broth. Parsnip (cherovia) is celebrated in a summer festival, which brings people nationwide to taste pastries and savory foods made with parsnip. Another food staple is the pastel de molho (beef turnover covered by saffron gravy). The region is also very popular for its fruits, namely cherries, peaches and chestnuts, and cheeses (Castelo Branco cheese, Beira Baixa Yellow cheese, Beira Baixa Piquant cheese and curd cheese). Others regional products include quince and pumpkin jam, Pinhel cavacas, filhós, esquecidos, olive oil cake, olive oil and honey.
Wines and by-products
The Cova da Beira region offers a wide selection of quality wines (Dão, Douro, Pinhel, Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo, Almofala Sparkling wine), and wine by-products such as honey/arbutus-berry brandy, jeropiga (unfermented wine), pear liquear and Almeida Cherry brandy. Do not miss an opportunity to visit the Covilhã and Fundão wineries.
There are several Classified Real Estates in Covilhã Municipality, namely the Santa Cruz Chapel (Sítio do Calvário), São Martinho Chapel (Rua Marquês de Ávila e Bolama), Morgadas House (Rua Alexandre Herculano), Orjais Castrum and ruins from a construction site close to Nossa Senhora das Cabeças Chapel (Orjais), Covilhã Walls, fragment of the roman stone-paved street close to Covilhã Train Station (S. Pedro).
Other local attractions
The Public Garden (Jardim Público) was built in 1908 around the extinguished São Francisco Convent. It was renovated and then later inaugurated in 2001 (Avenida Frei Heitor Pinto). Other gardens offer beautiful views and enjoyable leisure time, like Jardim do Lago (Alameda da Europa) and Jardim Botânico de Montanha (Parque Alexandre Aibéo). Also, be sure to visit all the diverse museological spaces in Covilhã such as the Museu de Arte Sacra (Casa Maria Alçada, Avenida Frei Heitor Pinto, Covilhã) and Museu de Arte e Cultura (Rua António Augusto de Aguiar, Covilhã). A visit to Museu do Queijo (Rua dos Casínhos, Peraboa), Centro Interpretativo da Cereja (Rua da Estalagem, Ferro) and to Museu dos Lanifícios (Universidade da Beira Interior) is included in the social and cultural program. Finally, WOOL – The Urban Art Festival of Covilhã uses several walls in the city as a support for interventions of urban artists (http://www.woolfest.org/). For all attendees of the conference dinner, a tour is included.
For more information, visit the city hall’s website: http://www.cm-covilha.pt/
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