Western Region Portugal | Praia de Santa Cruz Beach
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Praia de Santa Cruz - The Western Region

The Western Region

The Santa Cruz Beach is one of the various dozens of beaches of the Atlantic Coast, that form part of the Western Tourism Region. In the official site of this tourism region, Santa Cruz is described as being “the Queen of the Western Beaches local and traditional, on a more cosmopolitan environment, a set of numerous beaches of distinct characteristics, beautiful with their natural outline, and very pleasant, it is the elected place for lovers of Sun and Sea holidays".

Land of Windmills, Vineyards and Sea

Of the Western Tourism Region they form part of the councils of Alenquer, Arruda dos Vinhos, Bombarral, Cadaval, Caldas da Rainha, Lourinhã, Óbidos, Peniche, Rio Maior, Sobral de Monte Agraço and Torres Vedras. They are naturally united in this common space, sharing the same cultural heritage in one only feeling, caused by centuries of vineyard culture and a closeness to land and sea.

The Western Region has unique scenery that combines with the sea, the rivers, lakes and islands, the cultivating fields, the vineyards, mountains and valleys. The whole extension of the region is bathed by the Atlantic Ocean, over watched by the Berlenga islands, forming a numerous group of beautiful beaches.

The East is a massive extension to the north from the Serra de Montejunto. Between these natural borders and through mountains and valleys, the white housing of the villages spreads its shades of green, brown and gold along the fields.

Nature was generous and sculptured numerous mountains, valleys and cliffs, making this region one of mild climate, sometimes wild, rummaged by the winds from the Atlantic. This higher force of Mother Nature created an uneven richness: The idyllic beaches where the tourists spend their time, the wind that feeds the sails of the windmills, the weather to produce the excellent and much appreciated wines of the region.

There are many protected areas. The protected landscape of the "Serra de Montejunto", the Natural Reservation of the Berlenga Islands, the only marine reserve in the country, and the Santa Cruz/Peniche Natural Reserve.

Land of mills, land where the ancestral windmills, destined to the mowing of grain and cereals, co inhabit and dispute in the high hills, the same space and the same winds with the “new mills” the imposing turbines that are generators of “clean” electrical energy.

Visiting the Western Region

The cities, towns and villages are witnesses of time and mark the splendor of history. Various are the signs that were forgotten in time:

  • The archaeological stations of Furninha in Peniche, and the caves "Gruta Nova da Columbeira", close to Bombarral from the Middle Paleolithic Period.
  • Various traces in the Rio Maior area, like Cabeço de Porto Marinho, Vascas, Arruda dos Pisões and others that make up the Upper Paleolithic.
  • From Calcolithic, remains in the area of Torres Vedras, the important habitat of Castro do Zambujal, the "tholos of Barro" and the "Cabeço da Arruda" and close to Cadaval the habitat of Pragança.
  • Of the Roman presence remains the ceramic oven in Peniche and the civitas de Eburobritium, close to the vila de Óbidos

 

Text: Afonso Diniz
Photos: Artur Henriques
Published: 21-Jul-2005
Updated: 28-Feb-2006

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The Caixeiros windmill,
Municipal Patrimony
The pastel colors of the beaches at sunset
The cultivated fields
 

The Castle of Óbidos

Porto dos Barcos in Assenta

Praia Azul

Praia da Vigia

 
 
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