Near the frontier with Spain, you will find a beautiful hidden city: Fundão. An old town surrounded by gardens and mountains.
If you’re planning on visiting the center of Portugal, you’ve come to the right place.
Here’s everything you need to know about Fundão – how to get there, the quality of life and how tourism has influenced the city’s growth.
Where is Fundão
Fundão belongs to Castelo Branco, a district located in the center of Portugal. As you can see on the map, this tiny city is very close to Spain. In 2011, it had 29,213 people living there, but this number has been decreasing over time and in 2016, only 8735 people were living in Fundão.
Distance from Porto
Fundão is about 260 km away from Porto, in the North of Portugal. It’s a long way from there to the center of the country.
Distance from Lisbon
Lisbon is located 261 km away from Fundão, which is somehow the same distance as when it comes to Porto.
Distance from Algarve
If you are arriving at Algarve Airport and want to head to Fundão, you will have to travel for 500 km to reach the centralized city.
So, which city is the closest?
This does not apply to Lisbon, and we can say that it is definitely the closest city to Fundão from the 3 cities mentioned above.
How to get to Fundão from Lisbon
Getting to Fundão by train
Lisbon has a very complete public transport network. Traveling by train is by far one of the best ways available to get from the south to the centre of Portugal. There are plenty of options here but read on to find out which one directly connects Lisbon to Fundão without you having to change vehicles.
- Catch the train at Lisboa Oriente station;
- Be attentive to the final destination, which is Fundão;
- You can either hop on trains 541, 543 or 545, depending on the schedule;
- Get off at Fundão station.
The trip takes approximately 3 hours and 20 minutes according to the CP Comboios de Portugal website. The company is responsible for the Portuguese train network and is also where you can plan your journey ahead and purchase tickets (a single ride from one city to the other costs €16,70 in Economy Class).
Getting to Fundão by bus
It is also possible to get to Fundão by bus, mainly if you travel with Citi Express. You can also plan your journey before leaving Lisbon with Citi Express. This is by far the most direct way to get to the centre of Portugal:
- Catch the bus on Lisboa Sete Rios station (green/9 line);
- Get off at the Fundão stop.
Just like going by train, the trip will last around 3 hours and 20 minutes. It will also take you directly to the city, so you wouldn’t have to change vehicles nor stations.
There are a lot of buses leaving Lisbon throughout the day, from Monday to Sunday. All the schedules can be viewed here and a single ticket will cost around €15.
Getting to Fundão by car
By car, there are 2 highways you can choose from to get to Fundão: A1 and A23. The distance and time spent are pretty much the same, so don’t worry about choosing the fastest way.
You have 261 km connecting both cities on a trip that should last around 2 hours and 30 minutes. If you don’t have a car, you can always rent one with the following companies:
Summing up… What’s the best way to get to Fundão?
Renting a car can be quite costly, approximately €100 per day, so, if you are on a budget, you should consider this before choosing to get to Fundão by car. Despite being the fastest way to get to the city, it is also the most expensive one.
To get to Fundão, going by train would probably be the most direct and easy way to do it. You just need to hop on the right train and enjoy the ride, all you would need to worry about is getting off at the right station (and also the final one).
Fewer worries and well money spent, right?
Living in Fundão
If you’re looking for a perfect quiet place to live, then welcome to Fundão!
Is Fundão a good place to live?
Besides speaking about the center of Portugal, we are also speaking of its interior, a much more rural area when compared with big metropolises, such as Lisbon, Porto, Guimarães or even Algarve’s several villages.
As the years go by there are fewer people living in Fundão, which is something that can be explained by the phenomenon that younger generations are introducing. They leave the interior of Portugal to study or to work in larger cities, where they find more opportunities.
Don’t think the city has poor services, or none at all because that is not the truth!
Fundão is an important center when it comes to commerce, services and industry. It is also well known for its cherries production, a huge representation of the city’s economy. Also, most of the country’s Gold/Silver extractions come from there, as well as mineral water.
Is Fundão safe?
Indeed, as it happens in most interior regions of Portugal. Fundão is a great example of a safe city to live in.
Cost of living in Fundão
As people are leaving Fundão, the cost of living tends to decrease since the demand is not so great. If you are to buy an apartment, the cost may vary from €42.000 to €170.000, depending on the number of rooms and also the construction year.
The price is similar when it comes to buying a house, which is something you don’t find in bigger cities. Houses are much more expensive and the cost of living is way over the top. We are speaking of one of the top cities to live in Central Portugal.
Best neighborhoods in Fundão
Fundão belongs to Castelo Branco, which has been considered one of the best cities to live in the country several times by publications such as Bloom Consulting, so you shouldn’t find it difficult to pick up a nice neighborhood, don’t you think?
Well, we do!
Here are some of the best neighborhoods around:
- Grande Fundão;
- Três Povos.
Pros and cons of living in Fundão
This is not the city to be if you are looking for the same environment you find in bigger cities. Fundão has 30.000 citizens spread all over the city and it is important that you understand this is an interior city, so you will find more gardens and mountains than beaches.
Fundão is the right place for people who enjoy a slower kind of life, where they can enjoy the day with no rush. It is one of the cheapest cities to live in and also one of the few left to explore (even more).
This city is great for the fruit, olive oil and wine production, as well as for mining activity.
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Tourism in Fundão
If you want to enjoy Fundão’s most beautiful season, then you need to visit the city in April, the month in which cherry trees blossom to host the most amazing scenario there is. It is also during this time that you can, in fact, taste the sweetest cherries.
But there are other things Portugal is well known for!
June is also great for a visit since the city holds “Festa da Cereja”, a cherry festival that happens in Alcongosta, one of Fundão’s parishes.
There, besides obviously eating cherries, you can try special liquors and sangrias, chocolates filled with cherries, amongst original pastries.
- Alambique de Ouro Hotel Resort & Spa: an amazing 4-star hotel very close to the city’s center. A night at this hotel can cost €84 for 2 adults;
- Hotel Príncipe da Beira: another great option close to Fundão’s center and also Covilhã, where you can taste the best Portuguese cheese. Cost per night begins at €48 for 2 adults with breakfast included;
- Convento do Seixo Boutique Hotel & Spa: located less than 2km away from the city center, this hotel has 5 stars and a lot of fun to offer. A night can cost €130 for 2 adults.
All over Portugal, you can find the most delicious food and Fundão is one of the best cities to try some typical dishes. We’ve gathered a list of the best restaurants in town for you to choose at your own pleasure:
- As Tílias;
- O Mário;
- O Alambique de Ouro;
- O Boguinhas;
- O Lagarto;
- O Telhas;
- O Herminia;
- O Beiral;
- Casa dos Leitões.
If you’re having doubts on what dish to try, check this selection on typical food from Central Portugal!
5 things to do in Fundão
Fundão holds a great number of historic places you should visit. So these are the top 5 things you can do in the city:
- Go to the Aldeia Histórica de Castelo Novo, a historical village located in Serra da Gardunha. There, you can visit the castle from the Templar Era;
- Spend time in Serra da Gardunha, where you find the most amazing walking routes in the middle of the greens. Don’t forget to walk on Rota da Cereja and visit the Minas da Panasqueira to find a great variety of crystals;
- Visit Fundão’s Aldeias do Xisto, 2 villages you must not miss for their complexity and beauty: Barroca and Janeiro de Cima. You can book your trip in advance here;
- Book the Sabores com Tradição program, where you can basically eat all day. The city prepared a gastronomic route for visitors that want to taste the best Fundão has to offer. It costs €16 per person and includes 2 days with a lot of visiting and, of course, eating;
- Visit Fundão’s Museums. There is a lot to choose from having in account your main interests.