Exploring Caldas da Rainha - Cool Cat Portugal

Sometimes an overlooked city in the heart of the western center region of Portugal, Caldas da Rainha has proven again and again to be a spectacular city to live in! So much so that it's increasingly gaining more attention from the expats community and it’s quickly becoming their chosen city to settle in!

Caldas da Rainha is a thermal spa mid-sized town, rich in sulphur waters, which are considered excellent treatments for the skin and bone ailments. The city’s name is literally translated into “Queen’s Spa”, thanks to Queen D. Leonor who founded the city in the 15th century.


Ready to explore Caldas da Rainha with Savvy Cat 😸?


LOCATION

Caldas da Rainha’s location in Portugal is just another bonus point for the city!

To those who do not like the fast-paced lifestyle of the Capital but would like to be just close enough to it, Caldas may be just for you, as it’s just 1 hour away drive from Lisbon.

Additionally, it’s quite close to the district’s capital, Leiria, with a 40 minute drive and close to beautiful Coimbra with a 1h30 drive.


It’s also very close to some of the most beautiful historical cities and beaches in the Central area - like the Medieval town of Óbidos just 15 minutes away! The gorgeous shell-like bay beach of S. Martinho is 20 minutes away and the striking Nazaré, known for its world record waves, just 30 minutes away. Not to mention the lovely beach of Foz do Arelho backed by a river-mouth estuary that is also just 15 minutes away.


And many more great locations worth exploring nearby.


HISTORY


Like we mentioned before, the name Caldas da Rainha, “Queen’s Spa” or “Queen’s Bath”, stems from Queen D. Leonor who founded the city in the 15th century.


Legend has it that, Queen Leonor while traveling from Óbidos to Batalha encountered a group of peasants bathing in foul-smelling waters by the roadside. The Queen stopped to inquire about this oddity, and the bathers told her that the waters possessed curative powers. She decided to try them and was pleased to find that she was quickly relieved of an unknown affliction that she had been suffering. On that site, the queen ordered a hospital built so that others could enjoy the same relief.


The city is famously known for its “larger-than-life” Portuguese caricaturist and sculptor, Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro, who is credited for creating the popular cartoon character “Zé Povinho” representing the ordinary working-class Portuguese person. Zé Povinho is somewhat an unofficial personification of the Portuguese folk!

In 1885, Bordalo Pinheiro opened a ceramics factory and school which are still up and running today! Expect to see beautiful ceramics displayed throughout the city, thanks to our beloved artist!


CURRENT LIVING


This central city is intrinsically connected to the Arts & Culture!

As one of UNESCO’s appointed Creative Cities, Caldas da Rainha holds several distinguished cultural institutions:

  • Seven museums from Art, History and even Cycling: Ceramics Museum, José Malhoa Museum, Cycling Museum, Barata Feyo Museum, António Duarte Museum-Atelier, Hospital das Caldas Museum, Leopoldo de Almeida Museum

  • Cultural and sport venues like Cultural and Conference Center (“CCC - Centro Cultural e de Congressos”),

  • A center for performing arts, exhibitions and conferences,

  • Expoeste - Exhibition Center of the West, which hosts a great variety of of exhibitions;

  • A multi-sport municipal complex;

Because of this strong connection to Art & Culture, it’s only natural that one of the most successful and famous art and design Universities in the country is located here: the ESAD.CR, Upper School of Arts and Design, which offers a wide range of courses like plastic arts, ambient design, industrial design, ceramic and glass design, graphic and multimedia design, product design, typographic design, theater, sound, image, and cultural management and more.

Regarding healthcare, there are three hospitals:

  • Centro Hospitalar do Oeste - Public hospital;

  • Montepio Rainha Dona Leonor- Private hospital;

  • Hospital Termal Caldas da Rainha, a thermal hospital.

Along the beautiful places you can explore in this small-sized city, Parque D. Carlos I located right in the center is one of them that is absolutely worth mentioning: take a break and relax in the lovely green scenery composed by a medium-sized lake with a small island in the middle where you can find elegant swans, striking peacocks and sweet ducks.


Another notable spot in the city is Praça da República, fondly known as “Praça da Fruta” (Fruit Square), that hosts a farmers’ market every morning and a weekly market on Mondays selling second hand and vintage clothing.


Caldas is a very walkable city as you can easily walk anywhere. Either for a long walk, to run errands or going shopping, you will find it quite effortless to do so.


On a not so bright note, although Caldas da Rainha does have a railway station served by the Linha do oeste, the trains are all regional meaning that they all make frequent local stops. It’s also worth mentioning that the Linha do Oeste trains and service are severely degraded and for many years now there has been a public outcry demanding better conditions of the service and the actual trains.


However, there is a good bus transportation system with a bus station providing access to various destinations within Portugal and interurban services to nearby towns and villages around Caldas.



REAL ESTATE MARKET IN CALDAS DA RAINHA


Because Caldas is getting increasingly more popular amongst expats (as well as with the inflation), we are now seeing a significant and rapid increase in rental prices.

Nonetheless, the prices are still miles away from Lisbon and remain quite affordable, which is a great advantage for families, looking to settle here.


One of the biggest issues Savvy Cat Realty faces in Caldas when searching for our clients is that there are definitely not a lot options available. If you are looking for a rental in the city center, you might have encountered this problem as well.

Right now there is a lot more demand than offer in Caldas, so searching for a good rental will prove to be quite difficult and frustrating.


In terms of rental pricings, expect to find quite small T1’s for about 450€. T2 or T3 can range from a minimum of 600€ to 1200€.


Regarding properties for sale, you can honestly find a bit of everything. Of course, houses near the beach will increase considerably in price value.

Nonetheless, in the Caldas area you are able to find ~125k T1 houses in good condition; T2s ranging 140k to 400k and T3 and higher for 140k to 650k.

 

🔔Ana Caramujo has traveled to Caldas da Rainha and we have a wonderful video all about this beautiful city! Check it out below 👀😸

 

Hope this article was helpful, any questions you might have feel free to contact us! We are always available at contact@savvycatrealty.com if you need any assistance ;)

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