Portugal // Coimbra and the Beira Litoral //


Tucked beneath the granite outcrops and wind turbines of the high Beiras serra, the straggling village of CARAMULO glories in some staggering views. It’s a somnolent place, with a belvedere garden and vast, shady chestnut trees at its heart, while several waymarked footpaths radiate from the village through neighbouring hamlets and up to the local peaks. The summit of the loftiest, Caramulinho (1075m), is a five-kilometre drive from the village, while at Cabeço da Neve (a 4km drive) there’s another sweeping viewpoint. The best walk is the circular Rota dos Caleiros (8.2km; 3–4hr), which is detailed in a leaflet available from the turismo: it picks its way past the old stone aqueducts (caleiros) and granite boulders around Caramulinho, with magnificent views east to the Serra da Estrela and west to the Atlantic Ocean.

The extraordinary Museu do Caramulo was founded by two brothers with a love of “art and automobiles” and displays everything from primitive religious sculpture to souped-up Harley Davidsons. Once you’ve browsed through the Picasso sketches and sixteenth-century tapestries, it’s on to the superb collection of vintage cars and motorcycles, most of which are in working order and given a run-out every September for the Caramulo Motorfestival (wcaramulo-motorfestival.com).

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