Rio Maior

Nestled in the Santarém District of Portugal, Rio Maior is a hidden gem where tradition and nature coalesce. Known for its fascinating salt pans, lush landscapes, and rich cultural history, this small town offers an authentic Portuguese experience. Read more

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Visit Rio Maior in 2024

Rio Maior is far from your typical tourist destination, which is what makes it so special. The town's most famous feature is its ancient salt pans—remarkable in that they are located about 30 km inland, far from any sea. These salt pans have been exploited for centuries, and today, they offer visitors a unique glimpse into traditional salt extraction methods. You can even buy locally harvested salt as a memento.
The surrounding region is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, with beautiful landscapes that are ideal for hiking, cycling, and bird-watching. The town itself offers a variety of historical and architectural sites, including churches and public buildings that give insights into Portugal's rich past.
Rio Maior serves as an excellent base for exploring nearby attractions, such as the Serras de Aire e Candeeiros Natural Park, and it's not too far from the Atlantic coast if you wish to spend a day by the sea. Local gastronomy is another highlight, featuring a mix of land and sea, reflecting the town’s unique position between the ocean and inland agricultural areas.

39.33559591468, -8.93362588294 Open in Google Maps

Most popular routes to Rio Maior

Most popular routes from Rio Maior

The most famous sights
What to do in Rio Maior

Salinas de Rio Maior

The town's ancient salt pans, a rare geological phenomenon, provide an interesting visit and the chance to purchase artisanal salt.

Serras de Aire e Candeeiros Natural Park

A stunning natural park with hiking trails, caves, and a diverse range of flora and fauna.

Rio Maior Municipal Museum

A museum showcasing the cultural and historical heritage of the town and surrounding region.

Igreja Matriz

The main church in Rio Maior, known for its beautiful interiors and religious significance.

Rio Maior Sports Complex

A state-of-the-art facility where you can engage in various sports and physical activities.

Olhos d'Água

A natural spring providing crystal-clear water, surrounded by peaceful greenery.

Senhora da Luz Sanctuary

A sacred site offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, visited for its religious significance.

Casa Senhorial

A historic mansion giving insight into the architecture and lifestyles of the Portuguese elite in earlier centuries.

Porta dos Topos

A historic gateway into the town, serving as a relic of the fortified walls that once protected Rio Maior.

Local Farmer’s Market

A place to enjoy the best of local produce and crafts, from fruits and vegetables to handmade items.

What else to visit
In and around Rio Maior

Óbidos (18 km)

Óbidos is a town and a municipality in the Oeste region, historical province of Estremadura, and the Leiria district. The town proper has approximately 3100 inhabitants. The municipality population in 2011 was 11,772, in an area of 141.55 square kilomet

Caldas Da Rainha (18.48 km)

Dive into Caldas da Rainha, a city of thermal waters, art, and history, cradled within Portugal's Silver Coast. Renowned for its therapeutic springs and vibrant ceramics, this cultural haven offers a blend of relaxation and inspiration.

Obidos (19.03 km)

Step into a living storybook as you cross the threshold of Óbidos, a charming, walled medieval town in Portugal's Estremadura region. Encapsulated by ancient fortifications, its cobbled streets and historic architecture transport visitors to another era.

Santarém (23.12 km)

Santarém is a city and municipality located in the district of Santarém in Portugal. The population in 2021 was 58 671,in an area of 552.54 km2. The population of the city proper was 29,929 in 2012.

Santarem (23.21 km)

Located on a plateau overlooking the Tagus River, this ancient city boasts stunning views and a wealth of cultural attractions, making it a must-visit gem in Portugal's Ribatejo region.

Alcobaça (23.91 km)

In the shadow of a monumental monastery, Alcobaça unfolds its tapestry of history, romance, and timeless Portuguese culture. A place where ancient stone whispers tales of love and tragedy, this town beckons the hearts of those who seek profound stories.

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