Visting Leiria

Historic postcard showing the main square and a view on the castle

Leiria is located about 122 kilometres to the south of Aveiro, which is a two-hour drive. It is a rather small, student city,  recommended in guidebooks as a good starting point for visiting Fatima, Batalha or Alcobaca.

Square in LeiriaSquare in Leiria

Leiria city has a very interesting history and it was this history what encouraged me to explore the place. Firstly, it was in Leiria, where the Portugal's first printing press was established in 1480. Secondly, Leira was the main place of residence of King Denis, who gave the city to his wife Isabel as his token of love.

Main square in LeiriaMain square in Leiria

The Moorish castle, located near the city centre, shows traces of the past glory of this place. As one of the most important fortresses in Portugal, the castle was being continuously captured and regained. These are not all the reasons for visiting Leiria. Here, you can also see Pinhal de Leiria, an over 700-year old Pine Forest.

Market in LeiriaMarket in Leiria

Unfortunately, due to bus delays I had to postpone sighsteeing in Leiria (I arrived in the city late in the afternoon). There are no hostels in Leiria but I had heard that restaurant owners often rent rooms to their customers. However, I didn't want to risk sleeping outdoors, so I had booked a room in Dom Dinis, a small three-star hotel in the centre of Leiria.