Certainly one of the most surprising cities of Center of Portugal, Leiria, beautifully located by the Lis River, is a city full of curiosities. A city that has always been a powerful centre of cultural creation, home to endless cultural associations, deeply engaged in changing the world through knowledge. And creativity.
We are all a bit fed up with huge shopping centres, lacking daylight and character, where every single soul goes on Sunday when it’s raining. In Center of Portugal, we have a very special antidote for that: a charming city called Leiria that could well be the shopping Mecca of the region!
All the shops that matter are located in beautiful artistic buildings, some of them quite glamorous and noble, at the heart of the city. So it’s time to hit the shops of Leiria, a smart buying city! We are not shopaholics, we’re improving the economy!
There are 4 main shopping districts in Leiria that will surely catch your eye focused on the following areas: Rodrigues Lobo Square, Sant’Ana Square, Castle district and riverside district! You can easily discover the city and its shopping delights on foot, feeling the sun on your face and taking time for a nice cup of coffee at the inviting city squares!
Things to see & do in Leiria
Castle of Leiria
There is something quite unique about the Castle of Leiria, some sort of mysterious aura, attracting the Gothic tribes every year in August for a dark yet exciting music festival called Entremuralhas (literally, within the castle walls). In the castle quarter, you will see fine examples of street art depicting major novels of Portuguese literature, along with inviting shops and pleasant cafés, where you can surrender to the Southern European way of life: finding pleasure in the small things and living life to the fullest!
Rodrigues Lobo Square
This is actually the main square of the city, a true meeting point for locals and visitors. The place to enjoy the wonders of al fresco life. Housed in beautiful glamorous buildings, world brands can be found at the blink of an eye.
Garage building is an outstanding example of art nouveau style, dating back to the first decade of the 20th century, designed by Augusto Romão, who worked with prestigious Swiss architect Ernesto Korrodi. The refurbishment project was later carried out by Portuguese architect Sara Saragoça Soares.
In Cónego Maia Square, another charming building of the beginning of the 20th century (1911) created by Augusto Romão, which is one fine example of art nouveau style.
The former building of the Bishop Palace is one of the most enchanting examples of this shopping district. The renovation project has the signature of world acclaimed Portuguese architect Carrilho da Graça, led in 2000.
Museum of Leiria
Housed in the former Convent of Santo Agostinho, the amazing Museum of Leiria has opened its doors to the public. The museum collection has spent 97 years in several venues of the city, but now it is finally gathered in this renewed building. The museum tells the story of the city in the most surprising way!
Cathedral of Leiria
Built in 1559, the Cathedral of Leiria is a beautiful sober Mannerist building, as well as one of Portugal’s finest example of hall churches (Hallenkirchen), along with the Monastery of Alcobaça and Jeronimus Monastery in Lisbon.
Legend has it that there was a bell tower in the Cathedral of Leiria, however the inhabitants who lived on the other side of the city could not hear the bells tolling for prayer. This is why in 1770 the Bishop D. Miguel Bulhões e Sousa ordered the construction of another bell tower on the slope of the castle, that is to say, detached from the Cathedral. Locals say that “Leiria has a tower which is not a Cathedral and a Cathedral that does not have a tower.”
Located at the heart of the historical centre of Leiria, Sant’Ana square is a quite busy spot of the city, mainly because of the beautiful Sant’Ana Market, a roaring cultural centre offering interesting events all year long.In this district you will see outstanding examples of modernist architecture, dating back to the first decades of the 20th century, designed by architect Santa Rita. Housed in these amazing buildings, several restaurants, shops and charming cafés.
If you think that the only sport in Leiria is window shopping, think twice! By the river Lis – that unlike other rivers, it flows to the North (another curiosity of Leiria) – there is a pleasant area, ideal for biking and walking. In this area you can visit two amazing museums: Museum of Leiria and the Paper Mill Museum, two cultural references of the city.
Beaches of Leiria
Discover the beautiful sandy beaches in the region of Leiria. A great destination for your Summer vacations !
Leiria can be the ideal starting point for discovering a fascinating region that owns a rich historical and cultural heritage. The whole region of Leiria is a paradise for gastronomy lovers. One of the most important Catholic shrines - Fátima Shrine - is located in this region. There are eye-catching beaches, world heritage sites and breath-taking natural parks.
🚗 Leiria ➔ Batalha - 14 km
🚗 Leiria ➔ Fátima - 30 km
🚗 Leiria ➔ Alcobaça - 35 km
🚗 Leiria ➔ Nazaré - 36 km
🚗 Leiria ➔ Peniche - 85 km