Rio Maior – salt and more

Rio Maior

To see Rio Maior ?

No it is not a touristy destination! If you forget the Park of Candeeiros, the salt mines, the quietness of sleeping in Alto da Serra, the food at Cantinho da Serra, Pátio do Nicolau and other, what do you have?

​Nothing, except its people, and cultural events, churches… shops… bars… not much!

Rio Maior – Casa da cultura

Casa da cultura

“Baptized” as the house of culture, this modern building is an auditorium with 250 places, built in 2006 by the municipality.

Rio Maior – Center

Old quarter

There is really nothing astonishing in Rio Maior but the old centre of town still has some personality, with old churches and mansions recently recovered.

Rio Maior – Modern church

Modern church

I remember the old small and nice church of Rio Maior and entered for the first time in the new one. 

What a difference… 

Wide, modern lines, the best of it is the access (easy to reach) and… parking.



Fifty years ago, Rio Maior was, for me, a garden surrounded by houses, with a small sporting field, where I went a couple of times to play Hoquei on wheels or handball.

​Nowadays the field is gone replaced by modern pavilions, and the garden won an also modern church, but it is still there, respected by the city’s development.


​Salinas (salt mines)


More than 200 meters above sea level, in a large valley in the southern end of the Natural Park of Aire and Candeeiros, a very salty spring is an odd event, that becomes the most distinguished reference of Rio Maior.

Locals trade salt (and anything else tourists decide to buy), in a line of wooden cabins, to resist to the salt.

In one of those cabins, a friend of mine started selling a new sweet pastry, his secret – “Pastel de Ló”.

Natural Park of Aire and Candeeiros


When entering the natural park of “Serra de Aire e Candeeiros” you may be hit by the strange landscape, where aeolic generators dispute the domain of antennas and tourist adaptations.

It’s a wrong idea, and the park still has some wild areas.

It’s especially impressive the descent from Casais Monizes to Alcobertas.

​The road is surprisingly straight, and the descent is done in a wide scenery, almost giving the sensation that you are flying.



About 10 km distant from town, the village of Alcobertas has a strange presence of a “cyst” in the church.

It’s a prehistoric dolmen with a silly top: a modern roof.
​I don’t like the idea, but it is funny to see.