Mira is situated between Aveiro and Figueira da Foz on the long stretch of sandy coast often referred to as the Route of Light. It is easy to understand why it has earned this name: the dazzling effect of the sunlight on the sand, sea and vegetation and the brightness of the contrasting colours of the landscape say it all. It is an area that comprises the town of Mira, situated some 7km inland from the coast and the fishing village of “Praia da Mira” on the coast. The back of this fishing village gives on to a natural freshwater lagoon called the Barrinha. The differing landscape in the short distance that separates the coastal village from the inland town is remarkable: it progresses from the forceful waves of the Atlantic sea and the wide expanse of sand dunes to the lagoon and pine forests surrounding the town.
Originally a fishing village, Praia da Mira has become an increasingly popular holiday destination. Fishing continues to be the main activity here, using the traditional, brightly coloured boats with their long, curved bows, although tractors have now replaced the ox that were originally used for pulling in the nets. A few examples still remain of the typical fishermen’s wooden houses known as “palheiros”, although these are now interspersed with the cafés and restaurants that have sprung up to cater for the visitors who seek the gastronomic speciality that is, naturally, fresh fish. On the patron saint’s day, the 25th July, there is a special treat in store: “sweaty” eel with potatoes that are cooked in the sand. The pot of potatoes is buried in the sand and cooked by a bonfire that is made above it.
Although Mira’s strong Atlantic waves are a favourite with surfers, the natural diversity of the area appeals to all. The Barrinha lagoon is perfect for swimming, canoeing, windsurfing and fishing. The surrounding area boasts a scenic cycling and walking route that takes one past forests, lagoons, sand dunes and the beach.
There is also plenty to see and do further afield. The beautiful coastal and university city of Aveiro is 25km away, the Ílhavo Maritime Museum and the factory of the famous porcelain manufacturer, Vista Alegre, lie an even shorter distance to the North and the historic city of Coimbra is within easy access to the East. A good lunch can always be had en route in Mealhada, a town renowned for its unequalled roast suckling pig. More sun and sand can be found further south at the famous seaside resort of Figueira da Foz, otherwise known as the “Queen of Beaches” and the landing place of the Duke of Wellington in 1808 at the start of the Peninsular War.
In Mira, land and sea come together to provide the perfect destination for a relaxing holiday in an area of unspoilt natural beauty. For the more adventurous, there are numerous outdoor activities to pursue and plenty of varied sightseeing to do in the immediate surroundings. Whether it be for a one-day visit for a quick swim and delicious lunch overlooking the water, or for a lengthier, relaxing holiday next to the sea, Mira has all the ingredients to make your stay a very pleasant and memorable one.
Temperature Average Cº