Ferreira do Zêzere is a beautiful place full of good surprises! Mountains, valleys and green landscapes that will make you contemplate and reflect. If you live in Lisbon and you are looking for a magical place to spend a weekend, look no further. You have just found what you are looking for!
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FERREIRA DO ZÊZERE
Immense unexplored treasures and small places practically unexplored. The county’s natural resources offer several options to those who visit: nautical tourism, magnificent landscapes, tranquility, relaxation and a magnificent gastronomy! The surprise is permanent in Ferreira do Zêzere. It is still a place little known (and frequented) by the Portuguese (and foreigners). A hidden pearl!
WHERE IS FERREIRA DO ZÊZERE?
90 minutes if you live in Lisbon, 120 minutes if you live in Porto and only 40 minutes from Coimbra or Leiria! This is the time that separates you from an oasis that perfectly combines the blue of the water with the green of the mountains!
WHAT TO DO AND VISIT IN FERREIRA DO ZÊZERE?
There are many tourist attractions in this Portuguese region. But as time is a scarce and limited commodity, here are 15 suggestions for your visit! And so that you can organize your visits in an efficient way, we have prepared a map for you. We hope it will be useful!
FERREIRA DO ZÊZERE RIVER BEACH
It is called the fluvial beach of Castanheira but is more famous as the fluvial beach of Lago Azul (Blue Lake is the name of the place). Endowed with two floating pools that make the delights of adults and children. The beach has public toilets and a first aid station.
The Blue Lake is a must-visit place. The natural beauty and nautical activities are the great attractions of the lake that offers a small port for small boats and jet skis. In this place you will also find some hotel and restaurant facilities.
If you are a lover of nautical activities, know that in this area you can go windsurfing, kayaking, seagull rides, wakeboarding, water skiing, rowing, diving and boat trips. There are 25 kilometers of water surface with perfect conditions for this type of activity. It was here that I tried water skiing for the first time. I was a fan! If you have never tried it, don’t miss the opportunity!
DORNES – THE ENCHANTED PENINSULA
Be sure to visit Dornes! The “Enchanted Peninsula” was considered one of the 7 wonders of Portugal. A historical place embraced by the river and wrapped in shades of green and blue. A mystical riverside village full of legends. Every year the ancient medieval religious traditions fill the streets of this small and beautiful place. The Sunday of the Holy Spirit and the 15th of August stand out.
Dornes is a very small town with only two or three tourist attractions. One hour is enough time to walk through its streets and alleys. A short walk that will bring you closer to the soul of the village.
In addition to the short walking tour, we suggest you visit the Temple of Nossa Senhora do Pranto, the Fluvial Beach, and, of course, the Pentogonal Tower.
PENTEGONAL TOWER OF DORNES
It was built by the Templars as a defense and surveillance structure for the Zêzere region, during the period of the Christian Reconquista (718 – 1492). It was erected on top of an old Roman tower and is made of schist and limestone. If you visit the tower, look closely at the war symbols on the door of the monument. Bent over the Castelo de Bode reservoir, the Torre de Dornes harmoniously integrates the magnificent landscape and is today a symbol of the region.
NOSSA SENHORA DO PRANTO SANCTUARY
This is a 12th century sanctuary dedicated to the Lady of Pranto. The exterior of the temple is modest like the medieval churches. A contrast to the beautiful interior, adorned with saints, a main altar (with the virgin and her dead son) and a magnificent pipe organ. It is worth the visit!
RIVER BEACH OF DORNES
A good place to stroll or relax after a good lunch. Not ideal for summer vacations as the sand is not ideal. Nearby Dornes, you will find better options for a beach afternoon (such as the Fluvial beach of Castanheira). If you are looking for a quiet weekend to recover energies, Dornes is the perfect solution for you! A place with a mystical, romantic energy and plenty of things to spend your time doing: walking tours, boat trips, water activities, a few dives in the Zêzere and a perfect gastronomy (especially) for those who like river fish.
WALKS ALONG THE ZÊZERE
Walking along the banks of the Zêzere is a real pleasure. There are several hiking trails in the region that you should enjoy: São Pedro do Castro, Dornes and Pombeira. It is precisely in Pombeira that a 9-kilometer trail begins and ends. You can do it at any time of the year and the difficulty level is medium. If you do it, don’t forget to look everywhere because the beauty is infinite.
SÃO PEDRO DO CASTRO CHAPEL
It is a religious monument erected on a Roman castro (fortified place) overlooking the river Zêzere. Whoever overcomes the (difficult) path to the chapel is presented with a fantastic and rewarding view. It’s worth the effort! But it should be noted that the access is made by a dirt road that is in poor condition and quite steep in the final stretch. The last 300 meters must be done on foot (I did it by car but I don’t advise it…).
ÁGUAS BELAS CHURCH
It is perhaps the most beautiful and imposing temple in the region (it is located in Águas Belas, a few kilometers from Ferreiro do Zêzere). It was built between 1894 and 1897 and replaced an old church that existed there with the same name (Nossa Senhora da Graça church). It stands out for its grandiosity and its main facade in the bell tower. It is rectangular and consists of a nave and a chancel.
NOSSA SENHORA DA GRAÇA CHURCH
The church of Our Lady of Grace is in Areias (10 kilometers from Ferreira do Zêzere). It was built in the 16th century by Dom Manuel I. The main facade is beautiful and inside the church you will find a chancel adorned by arches and a vaulted ceiling. It is the most beautiful church in the Zêzere region. It is difficult to find it open, but its beautiful exterior is enough for a visit.
AÇUDE DO PEGO
It is difficult to find this place endowed with endless beauty. The Pego Dam is a structure that was built by the Romans and was part of their irrigation system. This system irrigated the Ceras stream valley. After you get there, enjoy the waters and the total relaxation environment that the Pego Dam offers you.
A viewpoint with a magnificent view of the Zêzere River, the blue sky, the green of the Sierras, and the little chapel of São Pedro do Castro. There you will also find a picnic area.
Finding this Windmill is not a simple task. There are no directions to find it. The best solution is to ask the locals for information. If you manage to get there, you will find a structure with a different shape than any windmill you may have seen before. The windmill is in a place of great scenic beauty and also for this reason the visit is well worth it.
It dates back to the 16th century, when Pias became a town. Pias was the county seat during the reign of Dom João III (1502-1557). It is a moment with the classification of property of public interest. A little deteriorated.
LANGALHÃO TOWER RUINS
For history buffs. The ruins of a lookout post (a Medieval watchtower) to which are linked legends of a Giant thief who robbed those who passed by here. Another monument classified as property of public interest.
HISTORY OF THE ZÊZERE REGION
The Zêzere area has always been a place that has attracted the different peoples of human history. The Romans extracted gold from the Zêzere river, the Templars used the region as a defensive line. In 1159, Dom Afonso Henriques (the first king of Portugal), donated these lands to the order of the Templars. It was during this period that the most emblematic symbol of the region was erected: the Pentagonal Tower of Dornes.
The region’s development has always been difficult! The geographical spread in terrioles and hamlets, the plague in the 16th century, and the French invasions in the 19th century are blatant examples of the difficulties experienced by its people.
It was already in the 19th century that the name Ferreira do Zêzere appeared. In 1940 and 1950, the county suffered profound transformations that were due to the rising waters of the Castelo de Bode dam. This event led to the change of residence of approximately 1000 people. Currently, the reservoir is one of the great attractions of the region. It is an important economic engine that generates employment and wealth for the locals.
FERREIRA DO ZÊZERE IN 150 SECONDS!
WHAT TO VISIT NEAR FERREIRA DO ZÊZERE?
To visit with calm and tranquility the whole Ferreira do Zêzere area, we suggest 4 complete days. In case you have some time left, then take a trip to Tomar and/or Vila de Rei. You won’t regret it!
From Tomar to Ferreira do Zêzere is only 16 kilometers away. A journey that can be made in a 17-minute drive. The beautiful city of Tomar was once the headquarters of the Knights Templar. Tomar has much to offer its visitors. Its biggest attraction is the Convent of Christ!
From Ferreira do Zêzere to Vila de Rei is only 16 kilometers that can be covered in 19 minutes by car. Vila de Rei is another place of endless beauty. An oasis of fresh air with countless attractions: Natural pools, walkways, waterfalls, viewpoints and magnificent gastronomy!
WHAT TO EAT IN FERREIRA DO ZÊZERE?
Wild boar and suckling pig are two of the region’s long-standing specialties. As for desserts, tigelada and regional cakes (good husbands and good wives) are the most emblematic sweets. More recently, other delicacies have emerged! The steaks in the hat, the fish from the river, the crayfish and the roast kid are also dishes that should not be missed. A final note for those who love the taste of river fish. In Dornes you will find restaurants that will satisfy them.
There are five gastronomy festivals that take place in the region, namely: January: migas festival, April: crawfish festival- May: broad beans festival, June: egg festival, November: pumpkin festival. In 2009, Ferreira do Zêzere became the egg capital. In 2012 it entered the Guinness book of records with the largest omelet in the world! The world egg day is celebrated every year in this region (on the second Friday of every October).
RESTAURANTS IN FERREIRA DO ZÊZERE
QUINTA DO ADRO RESTAURANT – GRILL HOUSE
Over 420 reviews on GOOGLE, a Cifrão ($) only as a price reference and an overall rating of 4.3 stars (out of a maximum of 5). The comments refer to a cozy space, the friendliness of the staff, the quality of the food, and a great price/quality ratio. The specialties are grilled food (as the name of the place implies).
RESTAURANT “A GRELHA DO ZÊZERE”
Very popular restaurant with over 800 (!) comments on Google and an overall rating of 4.3 stars (out of 5). The comments insist on a very clean, well decorated space, well prepared food and an adequate price-quality ratio (between 15 and 20€ per person). Judging by the comments, the Steak in the Hat seems to be one of the best options.
HOTELS IN FERREIRA DO ZÊZERE
There are plenty of accommodation options in the region: 2 4-star hotels and an aparthotel with the same rating. If you are looking for more affordable solutions, then you should know that there are also 3 camping sites and several local accommodation options (ideal for families).
CASA DO ADRO HOTEL
4-star hotel. Over 360 reviews and an overall rating of 4.3 stars (out of a maximum of 5). The accolades mention modern architecture, a large room and bed. Cleanliness, friendliness and a good breakfast are also strong points.
CAMPING SITE CASTLE OF BODE
Over 340 reviews and an overall rating of 4.3 stars (out of 5). Praise mentions a clean space with plenty of shade and a good pool. The park bar is also highly praised. Less positive opinions refer to a very hard soil that makes it difficult to pitch tents. Changing rooms in need of renovation.