Vieira de Leiria Beach is a popular summer spot with colorful awnings that stand out against the sandy shores. A leisurely walk along the waterfront, with traditional Portuguese sidewalks, is a delightful experience. In Vieira de Leiria, you can visit Mariparque Water Park, a perfect setting for a day filled with excitement, with slides, water slides, toboggans, snail tracks, and an array of outdoor pools catering to both adults and children.
Crossing to the opposite bank of the River Lis, you’ll find Pedrógão Beach, inviting you to take a refreshing dip. Nestled like an ‘island’ between the lush sea of the Leiria pine forest and the expansive Atlantic Ocean, Pedrógão Beach boasts an extensive sandy shoreline, the therapeutic benefits of iodine, the captivating Xávega Art, and a serene atmosphere that embraces visitors.
Shortly thereafter, you’ll arrive at the Coimbrão parish, home to a wealth of natural heritage, including the Ervedeira Lagoon nestled within Pinhal do Rei. This natural ecosystem is a haven of biodiversity and provides an ideal habitat for various species. It serves as a winter refuge for migratory birds, offering a tranquil environment rich in nourishment. These ecosystems also play a vital role in shielding inland areas from the impacts of salinity, preserving coastlines from marine erosion, and acting as essential climate regulators.
A bit further along, you’ll encounter the Bear National Forest, one of the central region’s largest natural reserves. Stretching from Pinhal de Leiria, it encompasses the historic Pinhal do Urso and the dunes between Pedrógão and Leirosa.
This forest, primarily composed of pine trees, was planted centuries ago to safeguard the dunes and provide timber for the caravels that propelled the Portuguese explorations to “new worlds” across the globe. The name of the forest might be linked to a legend depicting a battle between King Dinis and a bear, portrayed in an altarpiece at the church of Rainha Santa Isabel in Coimbra through a painting alluding to the event.
Continuing your journey, you’ll pass through Brejos Velhos, Carriço, and ultimately reach Marinha das Ondas, where this captivating section concludes.