Located in Silver Coast Portugal, Caldas da Rainha is considered by many to be a perfect place to live in. Surrounded by beautiful beaches, century-old traditions as well as several modern amenities, this city is rapidly becoming one of the favourite spots for expats in Portugal!
The history of this vibrant city dates back to the days of queen D. Leonor, who gave this Silver Coast town its name.
It is believed that in 1484, during a journey from Óbidos to Batalha, this Portuguese queen was passing through these lands when she saw several sick people bathing in natural spring waters. They believed the intense smelling waters cured several health conditions.
Curious, D. Leonor decided to also test the waters' healing properties. Witnessing first hand its benefits, and bearing a kind heart that gave her the epithet "the perfect Queen", in 1485 she ordered a public hospital to be built so that all those who needed treatment could benefit from these sulphurous waters… The world's first thermal hospital was thus created.
The town of Caldas da Rainha (which in Portuguese means "waters of the queen") was built around the hospital, growing rapidly thanks to the popularity of its thermal treatments which attracted the upper class bourgeois, as well as the Portuguese nobles.
During the 19th century, the city witnessed another boom in its growth with the establishment of several ceramic factories. The abundance of clay in the region helped transform the town into one of the main ceramic production centres in Portugal, namely with the creations of the famous ceramic artist Rafael Bordallo Pinheiro.
In recent years, the so-called "louça das Caldas" (Caldas pottery) experienced a renewed rise in its popularity, both contemporary design and more traditional pieces inspired by naturalistic motifs. Among these, the most popular include pieces representing fruits and vegetables, namely the very iconic cabbage leaves, as well as the famous Bordallo andorinhas" and sardines.
Ceramics with themes inspired by humour, caricature and eroticism are also a symbol of Caldas da Rainha, with emphasis on the popular figure of Zé Povinho and the Caldas phalluses.
Caldas da Rainha ceramics: a mix of tradition and creativity
The town of Caldas da Rainha, on the Silver Coast of Portugal, is the cradle of one of the most characteristic ceramic styles in Portugal. In the streets and shops, you will find several examples full of colour... and humour!
A creative, young & trendy lifestyle...
Today, Caldas da Rainha thrives on this mix of much-loved traditions from the past and vibrant energy that pulses through various aspects of the city's everyday life.
Among the best known attractions of Caldas da Rainha is its "Praça da Fruta"! Here, you can find everything from local fruit, where the Maçã de Alcobaça (apples) and the Pêra Rocha do Oeste (pears) stand out, as well as vegetables, bread, nuts, cheeses, sausages, fresh flowers and even traditional handicrafts.
In Caldas city centre, there are also a wide range of cafés and restaurants, where you will find everything from international cuisine to family-run traditional Portuguese restaurants serving regional delicacies!
The famous "Rua das Montras" is one of the most popular shopping areas of this bustling city and a meeting point for residents and tourists alike.
Despite being a vibrant city, the laid-back Silver Coast lifestyle is very much present and there is always time to enjoy Portugal’s authentic pleasures. All year round, there are always reasons to leave the house! The mild climate and more than 300 days of sunshine per year are an invitation to enjoy everything the city has to offer.
For those who appreciate fresh air and green spaces, Caldas da Rainha also offers many reasons to live or visit! Starting with the D. Carlos I Park, an oasis of green located right in the heart of the city!
Here you will find children's play areas, a tennis court, cafés and a lake where you can enjoy a lazy afternoon in a row boat... all surrounded by luxuriant gardens and beautiful sculptures.
On warmer days, local families gather for a stroll, spread a blanket on the lawn or sit on one of the terraces to relax.
Living in Caldas da Rainha
Despite its small-town charm, Caldas da Rainha offers everything you would normally find in a big Portuguese city such as Lisbon, Porto, Cascais or Coimbra. However, properties for sale in Caldas da Rainha are much more affordable and it's family-friendly atmosphere is unbeatable!
Some services available include:
Hospitals: Centro Hospitalar do Oeste (public hospital), Montepio Rainha Dona Leonor (private hospital), Hospital Termal Caldas da Rainha (thermal hospital)
Culture / Leisure facilities: CCC - Centro Cultural e Congressos de Caldas da Rainha, CinePlace (movie theatre)
Museums: Museu da Cerâmica, Museu José Malhoa, Museu do Ciclismo, Museu Barata Feyo, Atelier-Museu António Duarte, Museu do Hospital das Caldas, Museu Leopoldo de Almeida
Sports facilities: Bowling Caldas, Caldas da Rainha Municipal Pools, Bombeiros Voluntários pool, Os Pimpões (pool), Centro de Alto Rendimento de Badminton, Caldas Rugby Clube, Clube de Ténis Caldas da Rainha
Shopping Centres: La Vie, Rua das Montras...
Schools in Caldas da Rainha:
Pre-Schools: Escola Básica do 1.º ciclo com Jardim-de-Infância do Bairro dos Arneiros, Jardim de Infância Infancoop
Elementary Schools: Escola Básica D. João II, Escola Básica da Encosta do Sol, Escola Básica Integrada Santo Onofre, Escola Básica do 1.º ciclo com Jardim-de-Infância do Bairro dos Arneiros, EB 1 do Bairro da Ponte, Escola Básica dos 2º e 3º D. João II
Private schools: Colégio Rainha D. Leonor
High Schools: Escola Secundária Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro, Escola Secundária Raul Proença, Escola Técnica Empresarial do Oeste
Universities: ESAD.CR - Escola Superior Artes e Design, Escola de Hotelaria e Turismo do Oeste
Language Schools: The English Centre, Wall Street English - Caldas da Rainha, Lancaster College Caldas da Rainha
Special Education: Centro de Educação Especial Rainha Dona Leonor,
Dance schools: Escola de Danças de Salão, Os Pimpões
Music schools: Conservatório de Caldas da Rainha, Academia de Música de Caldas da Rainha
Also, very nearby you will find beautiful beaches and a natural lagoon, with ideal conditions for water sports or hiking/cycling surrounded by natural landscapes and plenty of fresh air!
Divided between the municipalities of Caldas da Rainha and Óbidos, this Óbidos lagoon is the most extensive coastal lagoon system on the Portuguese coast. With an area of approximately 6.9 km2, it is an important natural habitat for several species, especially migratory birds. The lagoon waters are also ideal for sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, rowing, kiteboard, jet ski, nautical ski and stand-up paddle.
Foz do Arelho beach
Considered one of the most beautiful beaches on the Silver Coast, Foz do Arelho offers the choice between two very different beach types: lagoon and sea.
Joining Óbidos Lagoon and the sea, the lagoon side is ideal for families with young children due to its calm waters. The lagoon beach is also perfect for windsurfing, benefiting from the wind that is normally felt here.
On the other side, the beach is open to the sea, providing excellent conditions for surfing. Foz do Arelho beach has a Blue Flag and is supervised during the bathing season. It also has a wide range of services available, such as tents and sun umbrella rentals, parking, bars and restaurants.
Salir do Porto beach
Further north, you will find Salir do Porto beach, which also belongs to the municipality of Caldas da Rainha.
Located on the south bank of São Martinho do Porto Bay, this beach is famous for its giant sand dunes, the highest in Portugal! The beach is also extremely popular with families, due to its calm waters, natural beauty and golden sand.
Here, you can also practice various water sports, including canoeing or stand-up paddle.
As you can see, Caldas da Rainha offers an unbeatable lifestyle!
Want to know more about the Silver Coast?
Located in the heart of Portugal, the Silver Coast offers plenty to see and do, great food and the hospitality of the locals who welcome the growing expat community with open arms…