A Portugal made of granite and forest
The tourism region is named after the wine region. And this is no coincidence. Dão (the name of the tributary river of Mondego that crosses this territory from north to south) wines are one of the strongest labels of this region. These wines are abundant, tasty and their quality begins to be recognised abroad. Thermal stations and cultural tourism are also other strong labels to bear in mind.
Around the main city of the region, Viseu, there are plenty of Pre-Historic monuments, such as dolmens and necropolis, Roman constructions, medieval fortifications and religious monuments of many styles and periods. In Viseu, you must visit rustic houses, manor houses and museums (especially Grão Vasco Museu, a Viseu-born painting master and a reference of 15th century painting), as well as the historical centre with its monumental cathedral and the picturesque commercial street Rua Direita. A modern funicular will lead you there departing from Campo da Feira de S. Mateus.
A few kilometres away, you will find several thermal stations: Carvalhal, S. Pedro do Sul, Alcafache and Felgueira, where you will recharge your batteries. A true mosaic of mountains, forests and cultivated fields, the place where Dão wine is produced, is interrupted by typical villages, such as the Medieval Aguiar da Beira and the narrow streets of the historical centre of district's capital.
This region loves to eat well, for there are endless gastronomic specialities: roasted kid, rooster cooked in blood, barbecued rabbit, flour soup, wheat bread, the famous roasted veal à Dão Lafões (in the spit), sausages, smoked pig, "rancho" (typical boiled speciality of Viseu consisting of noodles, sausages, bacon, potatoes and carrots) and trout cooked in vinegar.
In terms of sweets, you can taste "queijadas" (small cakes made of cheese), "cavacas de Ponte do Abade" (cracknels), milk biscuits, olive oil cake, "ouriços", egg lamprey, sponge cake, several fried sweet specialities, "viriatos" (V-shaped cakes of Viseu with coconut on top) pumpkin marmalade and "lamegos". As far as wines are concerned, there are not only Dão mature wines, but also Lafões green wines. The main handicraft highlights are: wickerwork baskets, wooden works (the typical wooden clogs) and the delicate embroidery of Tibaldinho (Mangualde).
The region has an uneven relief, presenting smooth valleys and hills, along with higher mountains, crossed by several rivers and water streams. The biggest rivers are Vouga, Dão and Paiva. In the region, apart from vineyards and cherry trees, there are also corn and rye fields, apple and orange tree plantations.