Porto de Mós is a picturesque village located in the centre of Portugal, in the heart of the Aire e Candeeiros Mountains Natural Park.
Endowed with an undeniable historical and religious heritage, the municipality is also home to stunning landscapes, fascinating natural structures and surprising Jurassic footprints.
Stage of one of the most important battles for national history, Porto de Mós is much more than an inattentive look can see through its dry stone walls.
This is a land of artisans and markets, local parties and pilgrimages, nature and history, but mainly delightful surprises.
Several points of interest and activities are available in this town, which, together with its distinct gastronomy, make this municipality a destination worthy of your visit.
Want to know what Porto de Mós has to offer? Join us and discover the 15 reasons why you should visit the region:
1. Porto de Mós Castle
Currently classified as a National Monument, this unique architectural work was once built on a Roman lookout point. Visiting the castle of Porto de Mós is an exciting experience, which allows you to observe its architecture and understand the significant role it played in 1385 when hosting the Portuguese army on the nights before the Aljubarrota Battle. This surviving castle resisted the 1755 earthquake and underwent some restoration works that finally gave back the characteristic glow that it showcases today.
2. Jurassic Viewpoint
This viewpoint is a tribute to the Jurassic era, which left several natural resources to the municipality and allow it to have a series of industrial and tourist activities today. Composed of 15 limestone blocks, representing the main periods of the Jurassic era, it is possible to observe the dominant rocks of the Serras de Aire and Candeeiros. This monument is located at 500 meters of altitude, in a place where it is possible to admire an absolutely stunning landscape over Leiria, Porto de Mós and the Batalha Monastery.
3. Roman Road
In the parish of Alqueidão da Serra remains the route of the Roman Road with approximately 100 meters long. Conceived to facilitate the iron flow, this was the path that led Nuno Álvares Pereira to the Military Field of S. Jorge on the Aljubarrota Battle Eve, on August 14, 1385.
4. Windmills of Alqueidão da Serra
Located at the top of the hills to use the wind as an energy source, these windmills symbolise rural artisans and their knowledge. The municipality has several windmills scattered throughout its territory, but only three are currently active. When visiting these magnificent buildings, it is possible to go back in time, as some still transform the grain into flour with millstones.
5. Mira de Aire Caves
Elected one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal, Mira de Aire Caves, is a mirror of a fantastic set, which also includes the Alvados and Santo António Caves. Visiting the Mira de Aire Caves is like visiting an underground paradise where it is possible to observe numerous limestone formations on a stunning route in the world of stalactites.
Considered by experts as one of the most beautiful and richest in Europe, these are the largest caves in Portugal, which extend for about 11km of tunnels. Discovered in 1947, it is now possible to visit about 600 m of this magnificent natural formation. Let yourself be dazzled in this journey of approximately 1 hour, at 110 m depth, in an experience impossible to forget.
6. Pottery Workshop
Visiting the Pottery of Barro Vermelho is much more than visiting a traditional pottery; it’s like going back in time and understanding how clay becomes the most diverse utensils of our daily lives. Here, the ceramic pieces on display exhibit a characteristic shine and the love and devotion of the last potter in the parish of Pedreiras, who works using the wheel. “Put your hands in the clay and see how pots, pitchers, plates and bowls are modelled and get lost with the finishing of a beautiful hand-made painting in the most various decorative pieces.
7. Aljubarrota Battle Interpretation Center (CIBA)
CIBA is a project that aims to safeguard and enhance the heritage related to the Military Field of S. Jorge while helping the visitor to understand what the Aljubarrota Battle was and how it happened. Immerse yourself in this 4-core exhibition area that combines an innovative concept of entertainment and education. The first nuclei are dedicated to the Aljubarrota Batlle when it happened and the archaeological discoveries on the battlefield. During the visit, it is also possible to watch the projection of a fantastic multimedia show that reconstructs the Battle and the events that originated it. The last nucleus is presented in the outer space of the Center, indicating places of great importance.
Inserted in the Natural Park of Serras de Aire e Candeeiros, Fórnea is characterised by a massive depletion of the earth’s crust, with the shape of a natural amphitheatre. Enriched by the surrounding nature, its 500 meters in diameter and 205 in height will make you feel like a tiny ant. The erosions caused by the rains and the spring waters created an impressive natural scenery that leaves no one indifferent. The low vegetation and the limestone mark that characterise it at the top form a natural spectacle among the vegetation, the scarps, and the waterfalls, which burst at times of greater precipitation.
9. Dry Stone Walls
The limestone mountains of Porto de Mós are a collection of architectural forms born from the skill of its inhabitants and the need for them to adapt to an unfavourable environment. Cultural Heritage, the dry stone walls are testimonies of lives made of daily suffering.
The dry stone walls seal plots of land, delimit paths, define fences for cattle and land retention structures, creating a truly incredible landscape for its visitors.
10. São Miguel Church
The region’s religious heritage is unquestionable, and in almost all locations, it is possible to find a church, chapel or wayside cross. São Miguel Church acquired the architectonic configuration of today when it was remodelled after its destruction caused by the earthquake of 1755. Built on a chapel whose patron saint was S. Miguel, the church stands out for its beauty and architecture. The walls are covered with beautiful figurative panels representing scenes from the Old and New Testament. The two side altars have beautiful images of N. Senhora do Rosário and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the roof of the church imposes the painting of the patron saint of the parish, S. Miguel.
11. Olive oil production
In the parish of Pedreiras, it is located the Féteira house, a place where it is possible to observe and understand a little more about the olive oil tradition. From harvesting and extraction to packaging, it is possible to follow the entire journey on a very interesting journey from olives oil to oil. The oil produced comes from the olive groves of the house and the region, essentially characterised by olives of the Galician variety. The Oil mill that started its activity in 1912 combines traditional production processes with modern extraction processes, producing a final product of excellence.
12. Porto de Mós Ecopista
Once used for the transport of coal between the mines of Bezerra and Porto de Mós, the old railroad is now transformed into a modern ecopista that allows you to go for a hike or a bike ride. Here, you can practice sports and enjoy the stunning mountain landscape in a very rich journey in terms of scenic, fauna and floral beauty. Along the way, you can find several observatory stations such as the picnic area, rest areas and local viewpoints where you can take the opportunity to rest and replenish your energies before continuing.
13. MIAT – Industrial and Artisanal Textile Museum
Intending to preserve the region’s industrial heritage, this museum aims to enhance the memory of the generations that made Mira de Aire and Minde one of the most prominent poles of Portugal’s textile industry during the 20th century. Inside it is possible to visit a permanent exhibition that includes the machinery and equipment of the textile industry over the generations. The purpose of the space is to inform visitors about how wool was processed to manufacture the most various textile items.
14. Portuguese Pavement
Those who don’t know the Portuguese Pavement don’t really know Portugal, and there is no better place than Alqueidão da Serra to explore your knowledge. As we know it, the Portuguese Pavement results from floor paving with white and black limestone to form decorative patterns or mosaics due to its contrast. Visiting a quarry is to know the origin of the ground that we tread all over the country. It is really incredible to observe the ease with which is broken by the hands of professionals, transforming decades of experience in actual art.
15. Lagoons of Arrimal
In the parish of Arrimal, you can find three lagoons, which bring together different aquatic flows and serve the local population for irrigation and domestic uses. Surrounded by nature, its waters create an exciting and inviting landscape for a relaxing stop by its banks. As a result fro the collection of river waters in small superficial depressions, the lagoons waters gather a very peculiar fauna that is very interesting for the most observant observer.
Our visit to the Porto de Mós region lasted 3 days, but there is much more to discover in the area for those who value traditions and nature.
It was a relaxing and interesting visit, and we are sure that we will return to this region of Portugal in the near future.
We hope that this guide is the perfect companion to explore Porto de Mós and that you have an unforgettable trip.