How to get to Santarém
Santarém is centrally located and is the capital city of district with same name an a region known as Ribatejo. Offering excellent access, either by road or by rail, Santarém is nearby by the main rail route crossing the country. The Northern Line is one of the most modernized highways in the country, double row, electrified and disposing a large number of connections to Lisbon and other parts of the country. Santarém has also a central land transport supply.
For those coming to Portugal via Lisbon airport can get to Santarém by road (motorway A 1 - about 60 km from the airport and Santarém), or by train (Northern Line - about 40 minutes from Lisbon to Santarém ).
Santarém is an average range to the Portuguese city and is an unforgettable destination for all students who want to have an experience of living in a city where calm life is combined with hospitality, gastronomy, tradition, history, modernity, culture and leisure.
Santarém has to offer to its visitors a mixt of culture, adventure and tradition: from hunting (in open reservations or in lands belonging to hunters’ associations) to recreational fishing (in the Tagus River or in nearby places such as Patudos Dam in Alpiarça – requires a local or national fishing license), and to visits to bull and horse breeding ranches, where tourists can ride horses, and get to know how people live in the country and how breeders raise horses and bulls for bullfights. In this regard, we highly recommend a visit to Clube Hípico de Santarém (Santarém’s Horse Club) and Estação Zootécnica Nacional, also in Santarém.
If you prefer radical activities, then you will also find parashooting, ultralight flying and baloonism. These are organized by professional companies who provide high quality services at affordable prices. Culturally, Santarém is at the centre of important religious and gastronomical routes, namely the the wine route.
Also worth visiting are the local restaurants, where you will be able to taste an assortment of local traditional delicacies such as sopa de fataça, magusto com bacalhau assado, molhinhos de carneiro com grão and, for dessert, the traditional celestes and arrepiados.
Regarding the religious routes, the Church of the Holy Miracle (Igreja do Santissímo Milagre) is an obligatory stop, attracting every year thousands of tourists to Santarém.
The fairs, fiestas and festivals are already landmarks of the city, attracting many tourists. The old Ribatejo fair, now called National Agriculture Fair, as much to offer to its visitors: the city ambiance and flavours, the agriculture activity, the husbandry, and of course, bullfights and bull runnings. This fair is clearly a positive contribute to the region and is worth being visited, in June, at Centro Nacional de Exposições e Mercados Agrícolas (CNEMA).
At the same venue it is possible to visit in May Expocaça (exhibition dedicated to hunting and hunters, with hunting guns and accessories); the International Folklore Festival (dedicated to ethnography, customs and traditions from different countries), in September; Lusoflora (floriculture and horticulture exhibition), in October; Avisan (dedicated to pets, especially birds, but also with canine contests), in November.
Another festival – and the most recent one – is the National Gastronomy Festival (the biggest of its king in Portugal) which, in October, displays at Casa do Campino all sorts of gastronomic products from all over Portugal and attracts many visitors and gastronomy professionals.
Folklore dances, handicrafts and local traditions are the main ethnographic expressions to be found in Santarém. The city harbours several folklore groups whose main objective is to preserve and divulge popular traditions, songs and dances, and to research and recover different types of traditional clothes. In terms of preservation of musical traditions, special mention must be made to Orquestra Típica Scalabitana, which has worked over the years to recover and revive the best folk music, both regional and national.
In a more urban context, the city of Santarém has to offer to its visitors: theatres, cinemas, art galleries and other cultural venues. Sá da Bandeira Theatre has been recently remodelled and has now a more varied programming, including conferences, music, theatre, and cinema. Taborda Theatre, on the other hand, is more focused on theatre plays. Speaking of theatre, one should mention some groups who perform in Santarém: Veto – Teatro Oficina, Centro Dramático Bernardo Santareno, Teatrinho de Santarém, and Cena Aberta – Companhia Teatral de Santarém. Santarém also has six cinema houses, at W Shopping Center, where one can watch the latest movie pictures.
For those more interested in other forms of art, the Respública gallery and the Fórum Mário Viegas organize regular exhibitions all year long, with the participation of national and international artists.