Caldas da Rainha
The rheumatic sister-queen of Manuel the Fortunate, Leonor, discovered the therapeutic value of the springs here on a trip to Óbidos. The town has been a spa ever since.
Leonor returned to Caldas da Rainha again and again, and constructed a hospital and an adjoining church. The chapel, Nossa Senhora do Pópulo, was built in the early 16th century in the Manueline style, then at its apex. The spa, which was particularly popular in the 19th century, lies some 95km (59 miles) north of Lisbon. People usually visit it after stopping at Óbidos, 6.5km (4 miles) away. It's worth the 30 minutes or so needed to explore the interior of the church: The walls are entirely covered in beautiful hand-painted azulejos. The outstanding artistic treasure of the church is a triptych of the Crucifixion, which lies above the triumphal arch of the church.
Caldas da Rainha is also noted for its ceramics. Many roadside stands charge far lower prices than you'd pay in Lisbon. The best selections are in the showrooms of factories, notably Secla, Rua São João de Deus (tel. 26/284-21-51).