If you go
WHERE TO STAY Vale do Ninho Nature Houses Ferraria de Sao Joao, Penela, Coimbra 011-351-919-048-373
Three simple renovated stone cottages make for scenic-butaffordable contemporary accommodations for the whole family. The property is pet-friendly and highly eco-conscious, welcoming cyclists and offering bicycles for use during a guest’s stay. Cottages from $127 for two, including breakfast.
3200-509 Lousa 011-351-239-994-621
Every cottage in this car-free village showcases the work of a different artist in keeping with that cottage’s theme. One of these, Casa das Esterias, like some of the other seven accommodations, boasts a wide balcony overlooking the verdant valley. Cottages from $74 for two, including breakfast.
WHERE TO EAT Varanda do Casal Casal de Sao Simao 011-351-236-628-304 varandadocasal.com/visite.html This sun-filled second floor restaurant specializes in carefully prepared traditional dishes, such as roasted young goat served with chestnuts and delectable local potatoes ($18 for two to share). Many dishes are cooked in the wood oven, including the scrumptious orange tart drizzled with dark chocolate ($3).
D. Sesnando Rua de Coimbra, Penela 011-351-239-561-207
This contemporary restaurant has an impressive wine collection, with some 400 varieties of red. The local cheese (Rabacal), served warm with honey ($5), is a treat as is the shareable main course, cataplana de marisco, which is chock-full of shellfish in a spicy sauce ($28). Save room for the mousse duo: pineapple, and
walnut made with local nuts (each $3).
WHAT TO DO A2Z Adventures Rua das Oliveiras 53, Leiria 011-351-9111 222 93 a2z-adventures.com/en Among the many Schist Village tours offered are bicycling and walking adventures that appeal to everyone, from endurance cyclists to leisure walkers who prefer to base out of one village. Tours can be guided or self-guided and include van support. Packages including transfers, lodging, activities start at $722 for a selfguided week based on doubleroom occupancy.