Although a small country, Portugal’s mainland is vastly different from the north to the south. The central region of Portugal (otherwise known as Centro) is a mountainous landscape covered in pine and chestnut tree forests. Historic villages dot these mountains, dating back almost 1000 years, where religious festivals and ancient rituals still thrive today. Enjoy touring hundreds of years old stone castles, most of which are now national monuments, sampling savory traditions foods, visiting thermal springs, and hiking the beautiful Serra da Estrela mountains.
Numerous opportunities for adventure also exist along Centro Portugal’s coast. Watch big wave surfers from around the world flock to the famous wave at Nazaré, a spectacular sight to see, especially when this wave is pumping. The beautiful town of Peniche also has great wave formation, drawing surfers of all levels here throughout the year. Peniche is also the launching point for diving the Berlengas Islets. The Berlengas UNESCO Biosphere Reserve has some of the best diving in Portugal, where crystal clear waters are home to a wide variety of fish. The best diving in the Berlengas UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is in the summer months when sunfish, or mola mola, congregate here by the hundreds, a spectacular sight to see.
The best diving in Centro Portugal is within the Berlengas UNESCO Biosphere Reserve on the Berlengas Islets. These waters offer excellent diving with good visibility throughout the year, but particularly during the summer. The incredible variety of marine life found here is why this area is a protected biosphere reserve. Divers will see chub mackerel, conger eels, sardines, octopus, hake, sea bass, sole, chub mackerel, horse mackerel, john dory, white seabream, cuttlefish, squid, spider crab, edible crab, and common stingrays. In June and July chances are high you will encounter ocean sunfish (mola mola), dolphins, and dwarf whales.