Things to do in Mealhada Portugal range from hiking to thermal baths. The area also has some of the best restaurants in the region.
Travelers love Quinta dos Tres Pinheiros, which offers 2 outdoor pools and an A Adega restaurant that serves regional cuisine for lunch and dinner. It’s also family-friendly.
1. Leitao a Bairrada
Leitao a Bairrada is a popular regional dish that represents the true taste of Mealhada. It consists of suckling pig that’s roasted and basted until its skin is crunchy. The pigs used for the dish are sourced from the Bairrada wine region and fed on acorns. The meat is rubbed with fat, coarse salt, pepper, and garlic before it’s skewered and cooked in eucalyptus and vine-fueled ovens. It’s usually served with batatas fritas, orange slices, and a fresh salad on the side.
Wines from the Bairrada region are dominated by Baga, a grape that can be challenging in youth but can develop incredible complexity with decades of aging. Luis Pato is considered the godfather of Baga, pioneering techniques that allowed him to tame the grape and produce world-class wines from it.
Enjoy a wine-pairing lunch with local roast suckling pig at Luis Pato. Then sample the latest vintages of this great winery’s classics and more modern innovations.
2. Bussaco National Forest
The Bussaco National Forest is a nature reserve that attracts wildlife lovers and hikers. The reserve’s soaring mountain peaks are home to a wide variety of species, including wild boars, deer, and pheasants. The forest also contains many scenic hiking trails, some of which lead to ancient shrines and castle ruins.
Visitors can also visit the Palace Hotel of Bussaco, which is a beautiful neo-Manueline palace built for Portugal’s royal family in the 19th century. Even if you don’t stay at the hotel, it is worth taking a look inside to see its elaborate azulejos and period furniture.
Another popular attraction in the area is Termas de Luso, a famous thermal bath. The spring waters here have been healing people for centuries. The hot mineral water is thought to have curative properties, and it’s said that it can relieve joint pain, rashes, and gastrointestinal issues. The baths are free to use and open daily. You can also take a relaxing mud bath at the spa.
3. Thermal Baths
Located in the heart of Portugal, Mealhada is a hidden gem that offers visitors many unique things to do and see. From its beautiful national forest to its delicious cuisine, Mealhada has something for everyone.
Visitors can easily get around the city by car, bus, or train. The city center is a tranquil neighborhood where you can find numerous restaurants and cafes. Alternatively, you can rent a bike or take a taxi to get around the city.
The weather in Mealhada is typically sunny and dry. The months with the lowest chance of precipitation are August and July, while the highest is in mid January. Winds are usually calm, with occasional gusts.
4. Roman Ruins
Roman ruins are an important part of European history and Portugal is home to many. The best known is Conimbriga, a well-preserved and detailed site with houses, public buildings, and walls that has been classified as a National Monument for decades.
There is also a reconstructed Roman theater and a western bathhouse to explore, as well as an ancient mausoleum. The park is also home to a range of wildlife and Mediterranean vegetation.
The best time to visit Mealhada is during the months of May to September when the weather is warm and dry. The town comes alive with festivals during these months, including the Festival do Leitao (Suckling Pig Festival) in July.