Legend has it that in 1484 Queen D. Leonor, wife of King D. João II, on her way to Batalha, passed by the current spot of Caldas da Rainha and saw a group of people bathing in hot swampy waters. She asked them why they were doing it and was told that those were healing waters that cured many diseases. So, she bathed there too and cured her disease. She decided to build bathing facilities there, as well as the Thermal Hospital of Our Lady of Pópulo, created in 1485, the oldest thermal hospital in the world!
The foundation of Caldas da Rainha is deeply intertwined in the opening of the Thermal Hospital. It influenced the own identity of this city. Moreover, the name “Caldas da Rainha” means “Queen’s thermal springs”.
In Caldas da Rainha you will find the only daily open-air fruit and vegetable market in the country that takes place in the colourful Praça da Fruta. This iconic market is still held the same place since the 15th century, attracting local producers in a true ode to the freshest and most authentic products. The traditional fruit market waits for you. Every single day of the year.
A monastery culture has deeply influenced the gastronomy of Caldas da Rainha and its sweet-tooth delicacies made of eggs, such as “trouxas”, “lampreias”, “cavacas” and “beijinhos”. Local specialities are related to fishing activity in Óbidos Lagoon: eel stew, fish stew and seafood.
Bearing a 5-century long History, Caldas Rainha is still a box of many (exciting) surprises!
In the surroundings of Caldas da Rainha, Foz do Arelho beach offers a perfect location between Óbidos Lagoon and the Atlantic ocean. This is the ideal spot for engaging in nautical sports and fishing. The wooden paths of Foz do Arelho, designed by landscape architect Nádia Schilling, with its belvederes and its sustainable look over the involving natural scenery are a true eye-catching must-see.