) is a medium-sized city in western central Portugal in the historical province of Estremadura and the district of Leiria.The city serves as the seat of the larger municipality of the same name and of the Comunidade Intermunicipal do Oeste (Oeste CIM, Intermunicipal Community of the West).At the 2011 census, the municipality had a population of 51,729 in an area of 255.69 square kilometres (98.72 sq mi), with 27,378 residing in the city.
Caldas da Rainha is best known for its sulphurous hot springs and ceramic pottery.
The settlement was founded in the 15th century by Queen Leonor (Rainha Dona Leonor), who established a hospital and a church at the site of some therapeutic hot springs. Leonor (Queen Leonor Spring Water Hospital, or Thermal Hospital) is the oldest purpose-built institution of its kind in the world, with five centuries of history.
The city's name, often shortened to simply "Caldas", can be translated as "Queen's Hot Springs", "Queen's Spa", or "Queen's Baths".
Caldas da Rainha is home to many cultural institutions.
With the disbandment of the order by the 15th century, the area fell into disrepair.
One day in 1484, while traveling from Óbidos to Batalha, she happened upon a group of peasants bathing in foul-smelling waters by the roadside.The queen stopped to inquire about this oddity, and the bathers told her that the waters possessed curative powers.She decided to try them and was pleased to find that she was quickly relieved of an unknown affliction that she had been suffering.The city's nine museums cover art, history, and cycling.Cultural and sports venues include Centro Cultural e de Congressos (CCC, Cultural and Conference Centre), a centre for performing arts, exhibitions, and conferences; Expoeste – Centro de Exposições do Oeste (Exhibition Centre of the West), which hosts exhibitions and festivals; a bullring; several football (soccer) pitches; and a multi-sport municipal complex.Caldas hosts six professional and higher-educational institutions, including a major arts and design school and a school devoted to ceramics.