Things To Do In Leiria
Located a couple of hours outside of Lisbon is the ancient city of Leiria, historically famous for its university and historic monuments. Today it is a popular tourist destination as well. There are some fascinating activities to do here, especially for lovers of art and history. Some of the most popular things here include exploring structures like the Leiria Castle, Leiria Museum and the Igreja de Sao Pedro. The Praca Rodrigo Lobo is a great place to embrace the beauty of the city and unwind listening to some street musicians and sipping on some fine wine. This city is a dream for culture fiends. There is some activity here to suit every sort of visitors.
Visit the Leiria Castle
One of the best things to do in Leiria is to visit the confines of the exquisite medieval castle located on a hilltop with stunning views of the surrounding city and countryside on offer. The Moorish influence on the castle is from King Afonso Henriques, who initiated its construction. Following this it was later renovated by King Denis and King John in the 14th and 15th century respectively. This is a great place to explore for lovers of history and art.
Museu da Imagem em Movimento
A unique place to visit, this museum was constructed in 1996 and houses the history of cinema and photography. It is full of exhibitions containing vintage cameras, equipment, images and manuscripts that can give visitors fascinating insights into the evolution of Portuguese art and cinema. It makes for an educational and fun activity for kids and adults alike.
Museu de Leiria
Another educational excursion and one of the best things to do, is a visit to the Museu de Leiria. The museum itself is almost over a 100 years old and was shifted repeatedly before taking up the empty space once occupied by the Convent of Santo Agostinho. There are numerous fossils, artefacts, paintings and sculptures being exhibited here from the Roman and Iron eras.
For lovers of history and design, the best activity to enjoy is a visit to the Leiria Cathedral, a 16th century structure that displays influences from the Baroque, Romanesque, Classical and even Mannerist design styles. There is a stunning altar inside which is something to behold. The structure was nearly destroyed in the 1700’s due to an earthquake and later due to the Peninsular War in the 1800’s.
Day Trip to a Paper Factory
A slightly off-beat tourist activity is a day-trip to the local medieval paper factory named Moinho do Papel. The structure’s origins date back to the early 14th century and it was later restored in 2009. It gives visitors a deeper outlook of the news industry in Portugal via artefacts like the Almanach Perpetuum, which was one of the country’s first ever published book.
Praca Rodrigues Lobo
The focal point of the city is its city centre, also known as the Praca Rodrigues Lobo, named after the famous 17th Century writer by the same name. This is the best place to enjoy a meal or a cup of coffee and just unwind in the city. There are numerous boutique stores surrounding the square which is ideal for visitors looking to shop a little.
Igreja de Sao Pedro
Once the city’s main cathedral, this 12th century structure is one of the earliest examples of the Romanesque design influence that has shaped so many structures across the city. There are intriguing carvings on the inside of the structure depicting carvings of animals and everyday life in the city. This is a fantastic activity for all curious visitors.