Points of order: Spring is for getting out of the house and Figueira da Foz is not all beach and sun. That said, this is the ideal time to turn your back on the coast and your attention to the interior of the municipality and to enjoy the green and rural Figueira da Foz, also full of charms.
Starting in transitional environments, such as Morraceira Island, which is also full of life at this time, or the Salinas Route in Lavos, and going as far as the rice fields of Mallorca or Paião. Or go up the right bank of the Mondego to the river beach of Ereira, in the neighboring municipality of Montemor-o-Velho. Or to prehistory in Alhadas and the Phoenicians in Ferreira-a-Nova. This time, following the wise cycle of nature, the “outdoors”, we propose lighter clothes, an active body and a rejuvenated soul! And shake the discovery of the natural treasures of Figueira da Foz, which are many more than these. But these can be a good starting point….
1. Walking in the Abbeys
and discover the new Pollinator Gardens, plots of lawn, one of them right in front of the CAE, which this year have been preserved from cutting and left to flourish for the joy of bees and butterflies. These oases of biodiversity on the normally “trimmed” lawn are the result of a project by the Parque Verde civic movement embraced by the municipality.
Or go and discover the many magnificent trees that populate the Park, download a botanical recognition app and try to identify alders, black poplars, white poplars, lindens, holm oaks, oak trees, feixos, bordos, tipuanas, black oaks and chestnut trees, leafy shelters for thousands of small birds that offer the public a wonderful spring concert.
Or simply read, listen to a podcast or take a nap in the shade of the cozy weeping trees that grow by the stream. And since the heat is still on, enjoy this piece of nature in the city center by exercising in the many leisure and sports facilities of the Abadias Park, which is also pet-friendly.
2. Walking, cycling and picnicking in Serra da Boa Viagem
After the destruction of Hurricane Leslie a few years ago, much was done to clean up and rehabilitate this National Forest, or rather the Serra da Boa Viagem Forest Park, which is still as leafy and refreshing as ever, now with new leisure and picnic facilities.
In spring everything is reborn in this forest crossed by many trails and beautiful notes such as the Chapel of Santo Amaro, the Fountain of Santa Marinha, or the Miradouro da Bandeira. And with luck, a squirrel comes across his path, an animal whose population has grown in this area and delights the youngest. Here too, listen to the music of the birds.
3. Take the Route of the rice fields and fountains of Mallorca
One of the most beautiful pedestrian routes in the county, crossing the magnificent rural scenery of Baixo Mondego, with emphasis on the vast rice fields, which attract hundreds of birds in this season of preparing the land and sowing.
In addition to the natural landscape and rich in biodiversity, you can also enjoy the “work” of rice in full, with large flocks of birds attentive to what comes out of the stirred earth. By May we can already see the rice growing and the plain is entirely green. Circular route (13.4 km), passing by important cultural landmarks such as the Ponte das Cinco Portas or Monte de Santa Olaia, an important archaeological site with a beautiful 18th century Chapel and a luxurious view over the Mondego fields.
In Mallorca, you can’t miss the refreshing Fountains Route eitherThe route is 5.5 kilometers long and consists of eleven points: Fonte das Sete Bicas, Mãe de Água, Nascente da Mãe de Água, Caminho Real, Fonte da Serra de S. Bento, Fonte da Serra de Castros, Fonte do Canudo, Fonte do Casal Benzedor, Cruzeiro de Sanfins, Fonte de Sanfins de Baixo and Fonte de Sanfins and respective identification plates, executed by António Varela, local artisan and mentor of the Route project.
4. Take the Salt Flats Route
and marvel at the splendor of the birds of the Mondego estuary flamingos, egrets, herons, ducks, terns, cormorants and storks are some of the winged inhabitants of this wonder of Figueira da Foz’s natural and cultural heritage, which in spring offer an unparalleled spectacle. Start and end of this low difficulty walk in the Salina do Corredor da Cobra, where we find the excellent Núcleo Museológico do Sal, with all the historical and ecological context of the ancestral salt pans of Foz do Mondego.
5. Celebrating at Pilgrimages
Figueira da Foz has events every year and for all tastes. But as spring invites you to discover the county, to rejoice and to fellowship, we cannot fail to highlight the enormous variety of food and drink on offer. Festivals and Pilgrimages in the more rural communities, ancestral celebrations of more or less regular date that show another Figueira, quite different from the mass bathing and tourist experience.
We therefore challenge the reader to go to the parishes and also to get to know the festive traditions that multiply in the many localities still with a strong dedication to genuine ethnography and gastronomy. Celebrations such as the Festivities in Honor of Saint Anthony, in early June, in Carritos or the Festivities in Honor of Our Lady of Sorrows, in May, in Alhadas, among many others.
And if May is the Month of Mary and the tributes to the various Our Ladies multiply, June is the month of St. John in Figueira da Foz. And, here, we strongly advise you to end the season at the celebrations taking place all over the city from the middle of the month, including Feira Popular next to Forte de Santa Catarina.
6. Explore the sights
Figueira da Foz has probably the best views in the world, especially at sunset. City patriotism aside, we do have some breathtaking viewpoints that in this season of abundant nature gain even more beauty, especially at this time, those that allow you to contemplate the countryside.
This time we suggest taking the bikes and discovering Paião and its viewpoint of the St. John’s FountainThis is a “hidden” treasure on the south bank, which is being rehabilitated by the Parish Council and offers a fantastic space for rest and contemplation, over the agricultural fields of the Mondego and its abundant birdlife.
7. Visit the Quiaios Lagoons
There are three, Braças, Vela and Salgueira, and they mark the landscape in green and blue, separating the agricultural areas to the east and the National Forest that protects these wetlands from coastal erosion and the advance of the dunes.
This forest was seriously affected by a recent large fire, but nature is already showing its strength again, especially around the lagoons and especially the largest one, the Lagoa da VelaIt has leisure areas where you can relax and enjoy the beautiful view and the many birds, especially herons or birds of prey.
According to the Municipality of Figueirense, “Lagoa da Vela, which is part of the Natura Network, is one of the largest natural lagoons in the Iberian Peninsula and an excellent bird watching spot (about 132 different species)”. In addition, two birdwatching points have recently been built (at Vela and Braças). The paths have been improved and there is also a new walkway on the west bank.
If you are in Figueira da Foz, that is, south of Serra da Boa Viagem, going to Lagoas is a good excuse to use your bike and “inaugurate” the new panoramic road of Cabo Mondego, passing through Murtinheira and the parts of the Quiaios forest untouched by fire, where spring is certainly inspiring and rejuvenating. With a refueling stop, of course, in the typical village of Quiaios.
8 Discovering the Carniks Dolmen
You’ve probably heard of it but never had the chance to go there. This is the right time. This 6,000-year-old monument is located in Serra das Alhadas and is part of the so-called Megalithic Route, which covers the mountains of Alhadas, Brenha and Boa Viagem. It is a large and reasonably preserved funerary structure, framed by an expanse of forest and certainly a must-see for fans of antiquities. And for fans of a good bike ride to the interior of the county with mild weather and nature in bloom.
The access is reasonably well signposted, the information board is in good condition and there are even picnic tables nearby. Then, in the winter, we strongly suggest a visit to the Santos Rocha Museum, where all the collection made in this monument, especially by the archaeologist António Santos Rocha himself, is exhibited and contextualized. And please don’t leave graffiti or litter on this national monument….
9. Getting to know the Noah’s Ark of Figueira da Foz
Yes, there is. And it’s almost in the city center. It is a “small” proposal but we have to do it, because it is a didactic and scientific project of great merit, which is due to the young activist biologist from Figueiredo Jael Palhas and because it presents, in such a small space, an impressive variety of botanical and animal species, especially batrachians.
This special pond is located in Praça da Quinta da Borleteira, between the School Center and the E-Leclerc and is part of a network of waterholes. Noah’s Ponds network, which seeks to raise awareness of the preservation of aquatic flora and fauna and wetlands. A refreshing mini oasis, surrounded by stone pines, ideal for families with children, because the square also has a playground. (note to local authorities: what a good information panel is needed…)
10 Outdoor group sports
Get a group of friends together, enjoy the good weather and leafy nature and go play basketball or soccer. Spring is also a time for socializing par excellence and the season calls for the outdoors. So get out your ball and shoes and start mobilizing a team – there are plenty of good places. In basketball we have already done the work for you, in our Guide to the public basketball courts (or courts, as our Brazilian brothers say) in the municipality, some of them in green spaces, such as Abadias or Campo da Cerâmica, both in the city center. But there are soccer and basketball fields all over the county. Just do it.