MARINHA GRANDE | PORTUGAL | 27 & 28 OCTOBER
The city of Marinha Grande
Some short facts & figures about the city
The Marinha Grande glass manufacturing industry was first established in the middle of the 18th century. The Royal Glass Factory (Real Fabrica de Vidros) was bought by an English entrepreneur William Stephens who developed the factory and the business under the protection of the Marques de Pombal. The wood from the pine forest was used to fuel the factories. The former palatial home of William Stephens now contains the Museu do Vidro da Marinha Grande which houses glassware from the 17th to the 20th century. In 1826, the factory was given to the state and became one of the country’s main producers of traditionally made fine crystal.
The Pinhal de Leiria forest was first planted in the 13th century by Dom Afonso III and expanded by Dom Dinis as a barrier against the sands and to supply timber to the maritime industry.
Marinha Grande is Portugal’s biggest glass manufacturer, and it is also the European capital for the moulding industry, with 250 companies operating there, rightfully giving the town the nickname ‘The Crystal City’.
The city is served by a highway and a train line. It is a 1-hour 15-minute drive away from Lisbon, only 10 minutes away from Leiria and 45 minutes from Coimbra.
The pine forest is an aromatic forest and has waymarked paths for walkers. It has several campsites within it. There is a cycle route from Marinha Grande to São Pedro de Moel on the coast. There are tours around the glass works and to the glass museums.
São Pedro de Moel beach with the forest; Glass blowing