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Covilhã, a city to visit even without snow

Covilhã and the region of Serra da Estrela, in Portugal, are most visited during the winter. The snow attracts many people to enjoy the landscapes of the valleys and mountains, to do extreme sports, or to experience the typical gastronomy. This is also the best time to consume the famous buttery sheep cheese from Serra da Estrela.

All these reasons are excellent for visiting Covilhã during the winter, but the region continues to have much to offer during the rest of the year.

We have a tradition of visiting Serra da Estrela at least once a year during the winter and we always adore the atmosphere we feel in that area.

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This year, we received an invitation from Hotel Puralã and decided to visit the city of Covilhã during late spring and explore what this area has to offer during this time of year.

Covilhã is a city in the central interior of Portugal, often known as a point of entry for Serra da Estrela, the highest point of mainland Portugal. Covilhã is a city associated with the craft of wool, very rich in culture, history, and gastronomy, reasons why it is worth visiting.

Check here all our posts about Portugal

How to get to Covilhã

Covilhã is located in the Beira Interior, in the interior center of Portugal. It is about 280 km from Lisbon and 250 km from Oporto. The easiest ways to get to the city are by car, via the A23 highway, or by train, along the line of Beira Interior on one of the CP trains that connect you to Lisbon or Oporto.

Check here the train schedules and prices

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What to do in Covilhã after winter

See urban art in the historical center

O Mocho - Bordalo II, Covilhã, Portugal
O Mocho – Bordalo II

The Wool Project was born to bring to life the abandoned walls of the city. It has been taking place during the last years and has counted with interventions of artists both national and international.

Diving in the icy waters of one of the river beaches of Rio Zêzere

The most famous river beach in the area is Valhelhas, but there is also Sameiro beach, Unhais da Serra, Vale do Rossim, Louriga, and Paul.

Visit a traditional grocery store from 1935

Tentadora Shop, Covilhã, Portugal
Tentadora Shop

The Tentadora is not only a space dedicated to showing traditional Portuguese products, but also a coworking space. From the old days, it kept the name and also the traditional furniture.

See the Church of Santa Maria

Church of Santa Maria, Covilhã, Portugal
Church of Santa Maria

It is a church known mainly for the impressive panels of traditional blue tiles that line its exterior. Its construction dates back to the 16th century.

Visit the Woolen Museum

A museum about the textile industry that reveals the importance of this industry to the region.

Visit the Cheese Museum

A modern place where the tradition of Serra da Estrela cheese production and gastronomy is described.

Take the Santo André elevator

A transparent lift that allows a beautiful view of the city of Covilhã during the ascent or descent. It opened to the public in 2009.

Where to Sleep in Covilhã

When we visited Covilhã, we were invited to stay at the Hotel Puralã – Wool Valley & Spa. This hotel has been completely renovated and is now a Boutique & Lifestyle Hotel that acts as a gateway to the offers of the region and the history of the city through woollen, wool, yarn, and industry.

Staying at a hotel dedicated to wool spiked our interest. When we entered the hotel we noticed a very comforting atmosphere with a decoration allusive to wool and natural materials. The woods and fabrics bring colours of comfort to the environment.

Starting at the reception, the friendliness of the staff is outstanding, they guarantee a short guided tour of the hotel and during the stay, in the various interactions, they always ensure that guests feel welcomed.

The Rooms

The room we stayed in was a suite with a bathtub in the centre. In addition, it has a full bathroom so that you can alternatively take a shower instead of using the bathtub.

The decor is very neat and the room has amenities of excellent quality. Bathroom products are of the Damana brand. Guests are also offered a complimentary bottle of Serra da Estrela water, slippers, and a bathrobe for access to the spa. The room also had a television that can be paired with your smartphone for sharing content.

Throughout the hotel, there is free wi-fi of excellent quality.

The Spa

During the afternoon we visited the Natura Spa, where once again we were very well received by the receptionists. The Spa has an indoor swimming pool with relaxation area, an outdoor pool, a sauna, and a Turkish bath. There are also massages and treatments available. Some of the massage options use wool as an integral part of the ritual. There is also a free gym. The space is very pleasant.

The Restaurant and the Bar

We opted for dinner in the hotel restaurant, which has a buffet or à la carte service. We chose the buffet which had besides salads and desserts, two main dishes and some very tasty snacks. In the same area, there is a bar, which also serves snacks and great cocktails. We recommend you try the Puralã Club cocktail.

The Breakfast

Breakfast is served in the restaurant until 10 am each day and consists of fresh bread, crispy croissants, cheeses, cold meats, scrambled eggs and bacon, local sweets and a selection of cereals and seasonal fruits. The products are of high quality and the service keeps the attention that the hotel has accustomed us from the beginning.

Book your stay in Hotel Puralã – Wool Valley & Spa here.

Where to Eat in Covilhã

In the gastronomy of Covilhã, in addition to the cheese from the mountains, we find the regional sausages and ham and cornbread. You can also find fried Cherovia, the mashed potatoes and at the table, you can not miss the much-loved oven-roasted lamb. To help all go down you can try the excellent white and red wines of Cova da Beira and the typical liqueurs of the region.

A Cozinha d’Avó

This restaurant is part of the Clube de Campo da Covilhã and overlooks its swimming pool. Here the gastronomy is traditional and you can find delicacies like the oven-roasted lamb, polvo à lagareiro and bacalhau na telha.

Taberna A Laranjinha

This establishment, created to look like a traditional restaurant of wines and snacks, is much more than that. It is a meeting place for locals and for those who visit the city. There you can sample delicacies such as pork cheeks, bacalhau com natas and a fantastic rye toast with smoked ham, wild mushrooms, cheese, and starry egg. There are also divine snacks and delicious desserts.

Paço 100 Pressa 

It is a restaurant in the historic center of Covilhã that is part of a Bed & Breakfast. The place is divided between an interior room and a nice patio where we had lunch. The couvert is made up of typical products of the region. We recommend the ovos à professor as a starter (scrambled eggs with asparagus and bacon). The specialties are grilled meats and grilled octopus.

Visiting Covilhã during the late spring was an experience that made us realize that this region is so much more than a place to visit when there is snow. There is a huge effort to boost the interior of the country by the local communities, and it is worth spending a few days here to visit and learn about the culture and gastronomy of Covilhã. Also, we loved staying at Hotel Puralã so we recommend that, if you come to visit the region, get to know this so-welcoming place.

If you still have time…

  • Visit Serra da Estrela
  • Visit Monsanto
  • Spend some time at Fundão and experience the typical cherries (May / June)

Planning your trip to Covilhã?

If you are planning a trip, check our resources page.

Activities at Covilhã

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