Mira beach (Praia de Mira) is the only beach in Portugal that has been flying the blue flag for over 30 years! It is also a fishing land that deserves a close visit!
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MIRA BEACH, PORTUGAL
It is often called Palheiros de Mira, a name that is due to the wooden constructions used by the fishing community. The Atlantic Ocean bathes the beach with a strong swell that attracts surfers from the central region of Portugal. Past the dunes, we find the national forest. A place that welcomes the Barrinha Lagoon. A calm place, tranquil and perfect for canoeing, windsurfing and windsurfing. Nowadays, Praia de Mira attracts tourists not only for its magnificent beach but also for the lagoon.
WHERE IS MIRA BEACH?
It is located on the central coast and belongs to the district of Coimbra. It is a town in the municipality of Mira and has 3147 inhabitants.
WHAT TO VISIT IN MIRA?
The municipality of Mira has a lot to see: ocean, beach, culture, tradition, festivals and leisure. So that you can organize your itinerary more efficiently, we have prepared a map with the attractions of the municipality of Mira. We hope it will be useful to you!
It is a very sought after area by vacationers who find a long (7 kilometers) and white sandy beach. The awnings and tents with brightly colored fabrics that are a trademark of Praia de Mira stand out.
The restaurants and bars that support the beach integrate harmoniously into the overall landscape. The beach has several entrances for people with mobility impairments. It also has public toilets, showers, garbage cans and a very clean sandy beach. Mira’s beach is not only the only beach with a blue flag for more than 30 years, but it was also the first to provide free wi-fi to its visitors. Last but not least… The beach also provides information about the intensity of the dangerous ultraviolet rays. In a word: Pioneer!
The local population numbers just over 3000 people. But on a Saturday in August the beach can have up to 30,000 (!) people on its enormous sandy beach. Currently, tourism is the main economic engine of the municipality.
POÇO DA CRUZ BEACH
Poço da Cruz beach is calm, quiet and not very frequented. It is far from the hustle and bustle and offers magnificent conditions for lovers of paragliding and surfing. Near the beach you will find dunes, pine forests, the beautiful Ria de Aveiro and protected areas that are part of the Natura 2000 Network. It won the blue flag in 2007!
The Barrinha Lagoon is one of the nice surprises that the village offers to its visitors. A beautiful and vast lagoon “embraced” by green areas and some houses. Your children will love the playground they will find there. The lagoon also has boats (in the shape of animals) that are loved by the younger ones.
NOSSA SENHORA DA CONCEIÇÃO CHAPEL
It was built by order of Mr. José Pimentel in 1842 and dedicated to the patron saint of the fishermen who live there. A wooden construction that has been maintained and conserved by the locals. Even today it preserves its old layout and location. It continues to be a place visited by fishermen and their families. There, they ask that Our Lady of Conception protect them from the hardships of life at sea.
The chapel stands in front of a huge statue that honors the fishermen of the land.
MUSEUM OF THE GÂNDARA TERRITORY
Visiting this museum is like diving deep into the culture and heritage of the region of Gândara (region that includes the municipalities of Cantanhede, Vagos and Mira). It is also a trip back in time that will take you to the way of life of the people of Gândara in a more or less distant past. It is inside an old elementary school and has two main themes: “Man, Land and Sea” and “Time and Man”. Whoever visits the museum will take a “trip” through the history and evolution of the region’s inhabitants. There you will also find some archeological testimonies that confirm that the region has always been linked to the fishing activity. Museum hours: Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.
They are one more of the region’s brand images. They reflect the art and ingenuity of the people of Mira in the intelligent use of the watercourses that continue to flow. It is believed that the water mills appeared after the appearance of corn in the region. The many water courses (that still have flow today), led to the appearance of these devices that made (still do), an intelligent and ingenious use of water resources. With the progress of technology, the mills started to be less used although it is still possible to find some of these mills in small water courses. If you are curious, visit the mills of Fazendeira, Arraial, Faim, Areia, Lagoa and Visconde (if you follow the cycle-pedestrian trail you will find these attractions).
THE HAYSTACKS OF PRAIA DA MIRA
In 1950, there were about 600 wooden houses built by and for fishermen. The architecture was innovative in that the houses were made exclusively with wood (a fact explained by the abundance of pine forests in the area). Some houses had 2 and 3 floors and the fishermen lived there with their families. Until the late 60’s, it was in this place and in these houses that almost the entire population lived. We should not forget that the chapel of Our Lady of Conception itself was built from this same material.
HAND-CRAFTED FISHING AT MIRA BEACH (Xávega Art)
The artisanal fishing with oxen was an old fishing technique used in the Mira beach. The boats were launched to the sea and from there they were removed by two oxen (also called junta de bois) that pulled cables attached to the bow or stern of the boat. The boat would slide on rolls of pine. There were 10 yoke of oxen pulling the net.
Currently there are only four boats that work here. Their names are: estrela do mar, senhor dos aflitos, lago do mar, and São José Vieira. Nowadays, the ox-joints have been replaced by tractors.
PRAIA DE MIRA ETHNOGRAPHIC MUSEUM
The building was inaugurated on October 5, 1997. It is a building made of wood (similar to the old haylofts of Mira) and with a palafitic architecture (based on stilts). The space houses the tourist office and also permanent and temporary exhibitions.
SÃO TOMÉ FESTIVALS
The Mira’s Patron Saint festivities take place in July and attract thousands of people to the municipality. An event that brings together the pagan and the religious and presents itself as a perfect opportunity to visit and get to know Mira. It is in the Vinconde Garden that the feast of São Tomé takes place. A municipal holiday (July 25), which allows its inhabitants to participate in the biggest event of the year in the municipality. Part of the feast is the blessing of the pilgrims (an ancient tradition that consists of the blessing given by a priest to animals that help in fishing and agriculture), and the procession in honor of São Tomé.
SPROUTS FAIR (FEIRA DOS GRELOS)
It happens annually in the month of May in the parish of Carapelhos (with the support of the Mira Chamber). Who visits the fair, has the possibility to buy vegetables directly from the Horta da Confraria. But if you prefer to eat on site, know that you will have at your disposal several dishes that have in common … turnips and sprouts! The Turnip Greens Fair contributes to the promotion of the region’s cultural heritage and seeks to evolve with the passage of time by including new products (such as turnip ice cream!) that keep up with new trends. Spectacular!!!
The Grelos Fair brings together locals, tourists, chefs, artists, writers, businesses, and more. Not to be missed!
MIRA MAIN CHURCH
It was built by Bishop João de Melo in 1690. Over time, it underwent several restorations with special emphasis on the nineteenth century and, later, in 1972 and 1981. It boasts eighteenth-century and baroque architecture. It has a longitudinal shape, flat walls and rococo tiles inside. On the ceiling we can appreciate eighteenth-century paintings.
Located right in the center of the village of Mira, the Jardim do Visconde is a place of great beauty! In the past it may have been the private garden of the Casa do Visconde da Corujeira, a leading figure in bygone days who tried to create an exotic garden here. The garden’s fauna and flora became famous at the time and stories of whalebone, rare plants, and fan-tailed pigeons still survive. It is a perfect place to rest for a while and to appreciate some treasures. Highlights include a tree 26 meters high and 2.7m in diameter (the Norfolk Araucaria), and the statue of Infante Dom Pedro (the figure that granted autonomy to the town of Mira in 1448).
6 HIKING TRAILS IN MIRA
There are six pedestrian routes that the municipality of Mira offers to those who visit, namely: Museums Route, Mills Route, Vala Real Route, Conglomerate Route, Mira Dunes Route, Pine Forest Route. A total of 60 kilometers through rural paths that will take you to the discovery of the county. A healthy and fun way to walk around and get to know the soul of Mira!
MIRA CYCLO-PEDESTRIAN TRAIL
If you prefer to get to know the village of Mira through a bicycle tour, know that the municipality offers a cycle path of great quality! It has an extension of 26 (!) kilometers and an environmental value of great relevance. The route crosses wooden bridges, water courses and the Barrinha and Mira lakes. It also crosses dunes, beaches, a forest, reed beds, willows and agricultural fields.
It is located in front of the old house of the Viscount of Corujeira. It was rebuilt in 1993 keeping some elements of the original monument. It is a property of public interest.
HISTORY OF MIRA
The name “Mira” is derived from “Mir” or “Emir”, which in Arabic means chief, lord or prince. The name Mira is therefore due to the Arabs who referred to Mira as the “land of the Lord” – Mira was distinguished by its beauty and appealing climate. The most famous written reference to Palheiros de Mira dates from 1821 and refers to the village of Mira…
“is 6 kilometers from the ocean… a place whose inhabitants are almost all fishermen”
In Coimbra’s newspaper of 1812 we can find a slightly more obscure reference that says…
“The old bar of Aveiro had depth… in the year 1777 – 8 palmos… It was near the coast and haystacks of Mira”.
Also in the Coimbra newspaper, in 1815, we can find a note about the felling of pine trees on the beach of Mira. This reference is one of the first to the designation that the village still has today.
“In October 1815, being in Mira Beach, I heard many of the inhabitants of that village crying the future doom of their buildings by the successive felling of the pine trees that sheltered them from the sands.
Visiting the Ethnographic Museum is an authentic journey into the past of Praia de Mira. Here you can observe the past and the evolution of the village through its architecture, fishing instruments, way of life, costumes and the very relationship between the people of the region.
VIRTUAL TOUR TO MIRA BEACH
In the town of Mira no one goes hungry! The gastronomy is another great reason to visit this municipality. Fried mackerel with tomato rice, grilled sardines with baked potatoes, squid, greens, sweat eels, fish stew, baked cod with potatoes in the sand, pork, cod to the burial style and much more! A note for the quality of the bread and corn bread, which are a masterpiece of gastronomy and come from the old water mills. If you’re a good fork, don’t miss the third weekend of September because this is when the Mira Gastronomic Show takes place!
RESTAURANTS AT MIRA BEACH
CAFÉ RESTAURANT CANAS III
We chose to mention this establishment because it is the one with the best relationship between Google rating and meal price. 2-digit restaurant (out of a maximum of 3). It has over 830 reviews on Google and an overall rating of 4.5 (out of a maximum of 5). It is located next to the Mira bar. The comments insistently mention the quality of the barbecue chicken, the friendliness of the staff and the good relationship between price and quality.
HOTELS AT MIRA BEACH
Our suggestion goes to the choice of Palheiros de Mira. The choice is based on two reasons. First reason, it is the accommodation that best represents the soul of the municipality of Mira. Second reason, it is effectively the solution that presents the best relationship between price and google rating. More than 105 reviews and an overall rating of 4.4 (out of 5). Friendly space, perfect cleanliness and friendliness of the owners are the positive attributes most mentioned by guests.
WHAT TO VISIT NEAR MIRA BEACH?
40 minutes and 44 kilometers separate Mira beach from the city of Figueira da Foz, the queen of the Silver Coast. Beach, casino and fishing villages with soul (Buarcos) are just some of the attractions you will find in Figueira. Click on the picture if you want to know everything you can visit in Figueira!
From Mira beach to the city of Aveiro it is only 30 minutes and 29 kilometers away. The “Venice of Portugal” is a unique city in the country. A perfect city to spend a weekend, relax and take a few boat trips through the canals! And of course, don’t forget to taste the “real” Aveiro “ovos moles”, one of the city’s symbols!