Located close to the West Coast of Portugal is the thriving and beautiful city of Caldas da Rainha. Located on what is more commonly known as The Silver Coast, Caldas da Rainha is less than an hours drive from the Capital City of Lisbon (Lisboa). The Caldas Municipality covers an area of 256 square kilometres and has a population of approximately 52,000 residents, of these more than half reside with the city.
The City of Caldas is approximately 10km inland from the Atlantic Ocean and consists of 12 parishes, these are:
- A dos Francos
- Caldas da Rainha – incorporating Nossa Senhora do Populo, Coto and Sao Gregorio
- Carvalhal Benfeito
- Foz do Arelho
- Salir de Matos
- Santa Catarina
- Tornada and Salir do Porto
Of these, three are parishes:
- Foz do Arelho
- Serra do Bouro
- Salir do Porto
The three parishes are all on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean.
The City can be traced back to the 15th century when Queen Leonor ordered the establishment of a hospital and a church at the site of a therapeutic hot springs where she was taken for treatment of an illness and was cured. The Thermal Hospital is, in the world, the oldest purpose built institution. It is home to over five centuries of history. The city is referred to locally simply as Caldas. The full name of Caldas da Rainha is simply translated to “Queen’s Spa” or “Queen’s Baths.”
There are many and varied cultural institutions throughout Caldas. There are museums that cover a wide range of cultural interests and including, art, history, cycling, ceramics, manufacturing.
The recently built CCC (Centro Cultural e de Congressos – Cultural and Conference Centre), is the centre for many concerts and exhibitions through the course of the year. A wide range of performing arts including, opera, choirs, musicals, theatre, dance are featured at the CCC Centre during the course of the year.
There is also multi-sport municipal complex, swimming baths and public parks where outdoor concerts are held throughout the year.
There are higher education institutions in Caldas and these include a reknown School of Ceramics and a major Art and Design School.
As you explore this wonderful City, you will appreciate everything that is on offer from this vibrant and historic area. There are beautiful buildings and architecture that line the many pedestrianized city centre streets. These are often paved with the local Calcada stones that are prevalent throughout Portugal. Many of the buildings have been sympathetically restored and blend seamlessly with the texture of this city.
In the centre of Caldas is a beautifully designed public park. Part of this has been left in mostly natural state with wonderful walking paths, trees, shrubs, flowers and the placement of benches to allow you to sit, relax and enjoy the environment. A further area of the park has been somewhat more landscaped and a pond has been incorporated where the children can enjoy feeding the ducks and swans. There is also a recently renovated Cafe/Restaurant in the park which is very close to the well thought out children’s play area.
There are a plethora of cafes and restaurants to be enjoyed, many on pedestrianized streets where you can wile away a relaxing hour or two sipping on a chilled glass of wine, soaking up the sunshine, the environment and enjoying the colour and splendour of the City. There are restaurants to suit every taste, from the delicious Portuguese cuisine to Italian, Chinese, Indian and many others including a recently open vegetarian restaurant that is proving very popular.
No description of Caldas would be complete without mentioning the wonderful, colour and flavour filled daily fresh fruit and vegetable market where you can purchase far more than fruit and vegetables. There are delicious local cheeses on offer as well as bread, nuts, dried fruits, flowers, plants and some local artisan crafts. The market is open early in the morning and runs through until about 2:00 in the afternoon.
Caldas da Rainha offers you all of the facilities required for modern life. These include …………
- A large hospital that provides excellent and caring health care.
- Doctors offices on both a private and muncipal level
- Dentists where you can receive an excellent level of dental care.
- Weekly general market where you can find almost anything for the home and garden.
- A monthly antiques market that is held in the centre park.
- Large modern well stocked supermarkets, many of which now provide regional items from around the world.
There is also the La Vie Centre which is an indoor shopping mall and is at the side of the Sana Hotel. It provides many shops including.
- Mobile phone providers
- Cafes and an excellent food hall
Health care is obviously one of the main concerns of people relocating but most, when having to use the services, have commented on the exceptional level of health care that is offered in Portugal.
There are several large hotels in the area and also a number of smaller family owned hotels.
The city has a busy railway station and a bus station with excellent transportation services provided for travellers going both north and south across the country. There is an excellent bus service that take you to Lisbon Airport that is less than an hour away.
Caldas da Rainha is a busy and diverse city offering visitors the hustle and bustle of city life, the feeling of a large village where people are friendly and will happily chat to you about the city and the surroundings. The added bonus is that it is less than 10 minutes away from the beautiful beaches of Foz do Arelho and the Obidos Lagoon and the stunning Medieval town of Obidos.