Covilha is located in the central east part of Portugal, relatively close to the country's border with Spain. You can arrive here after a good four hours' ride on the train from Lisbon or in less than three hours by car. Alternatively, you can also approach it from the direction of Porto, but it will take around the same amount of time, if not more.
Although Covilha itself is quite an interesting middle-sized city, most people only stay here because of its proximity to the beautiful, natural sights of the Serra de Estrela Natural Park. The mountain range, which contains the highest peak of Portugal at just under two thousand metres, is an ideal destination for hiking, mountain biking, and -- as it's the only place where you can find snow in the winter in Portugal -- it is also the Portuguese people's beloved skiing area.
The ride to Serra de Estrela from Covilha leads you through the amazingly atmospheric little mountain villages of Seia, Manteigas, Gouveia, and Guarda, where the local people earn their living through the wool industry as well as cheese making. If you are here, make sure to taste this local specialty as you are guaranteed not to eat something like this again during your trip!
However, if you prefer to spend your time in and around Covilha, you will have much to do either. In the centre of the city, you will find the remains of the old fortress dating back to the twelfth century. Walking along its walls, you can observe the breathtaking mountain scenery around the town. Another typical Portuguese building and must-see is the Igreja da Santa Maria, a local church that has its facade completely covered with Portuguese azuleijo tiles.
For those willing to dig deeper into the town's history, the Museu de Lanifícios is recommended. Here, you can learn more about the golden age of wool production in the area, with visits to the town's mills that now stand empty and unused.
There are several Covilha hostels for those wishing to spend the night here, and it is probably a good idea, as the distances are quite huge and this is the last biggest settlement before Serra de Estrela where you can still comfortably do your shopping and take care of all of your needs.
Hi, I'm JudyM,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Covilha hostels. Welcome.