The Vouga and the Mondego, both medium-sized rivers with their source in the Serra da Estrela mountains, run through this region. The Vouga reaches the sea a little after the city of Aveiro, flowing through a large fertile plain with an important aquatic ecosystem. The city of Aveiro itself is a port. The Mondego flows through the university city of Coimbra to reach the sea a few kilometres later. This city nestles in the hillside overlooking the small and very beautiful Mondego valley.
The cities in the central region are medium-sized and are all located in very different landscapes. The region has traces of both the north and south and, in terms of climate and geography, is a transitional zone. The interior is very mountainous and its cities, such as Viseu, are wedged between mountains or, like Guarda (said to be the coldest city in Portugal), lie at the foot of the huge Serra da Estrela mountain range.
The central region is essentially very diverse. It is much greener than the south, but slightly less so than the north. The coastal strip has flat lands and gentle inclinations, whilst the interior is ridged with mountains. It is home to the Serra da Estrela mountain range, a harsh, rugged landscape rising to almost two thousand metres at its highest point. Winter sports are popular in the Serra da Estrela and it offers dazzling scenery throughout the year, with shepherds and their flocks still wandering along the old paths in search of pastures.