Viana do Castelo
Flights      Hotels      Car Hire    Tours        

VIANA DO CASTELO

Let MADABOUTPORTO.COM be your indispensable guide to the beautiful town of Viana do Castelo. We'll advise you about the best things to see and do. We'll advise you on how to get there and the best hotels available, as well as offering restaurant recommendations. Sit back and let others organise everything with our choice of guided tours or use us to plan your adventures.

INTRODUCTION TO VIANA DO CASTELO

The county town of the region with the same name, Viana do Castelo, sits close to the mouth of the Rio Lima, 65 km (40 miles) north of Porto. Its strategic location and connection to the sea brought the town fortune. It was founded in the 13th century by Dom Afonso III. Viana do Castelo is now in the process of being discovered by tourists. Visitors are lured here by the fine beaches marketed as the Costa Verde, the Santa Luzia church that overlooks the town, the town's narrow medieval streets, the folklore, traditional festivals and the cuisine. Albeit some prestigious contemporary architecture such as the Praça da Liberdade riverside complex, the town retains much of its medieval charm and boasts many attractive Manueline and Renaissance buildings.

PRAÇA DA REPÚBLICA

Praça da República

The central hub of the town is the Praça da República. It features some of the towns oldest buildings and has been the hubbub of activity for 500 years. The granite Antigos Paços do Concelho building (Old City Hall) constructed in the first half of the sixteenth century dominates the east side of the square. It is emblazoned with the city's coat of arms on its beautiful tri-arched facade crowned by bevelled battlements.

In the centre of the square, one finds a granite Renaissance fountain dating from 1553. It was designed by master stonemason João Lopes (nicknamed O Velho) to provide drinking water for the populace. The rich ornate style of Lope's design set a precedent for town fountains throughout the Minho district in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Another imposing building in the square is the Santa Casa da Misericórdia. The façade of this national monument is one of the most significant examples of Baroque architecture in Portugal. It was built by João Lopes in 1598, this former hospital was extensively remodelled in the 18th century. The three-storey edifice has an arcade at street level, fronted by five Roman archways supported by intricately carved pillars sculpted in the form of female figures supporting two levels of Renaissance balconies, the structure is crowned by a crucifix.

Adjoining the Santa Casa da Misericórdia is the 18th century Igreja de Misericórdia (church) famed for its rich interior that is adorned with fine giltwood carvings, sculptures, and paintings. Here too, are some of Portugal's finest azulejos, representing passages from the Bible. They were created by the master António de Oliveira Bernardes and his son Policarpo.

CATHEDRAL (IGREJA MATRIX)

Viana do Castelo's Romanesque Cathedral has been enlarged and remodelled many times since its first conception in the 15th century, most significantly in the 19th century. The Apostles adorn the flanks of its Gothic portal. The facade is topped by two Romanesque crenellated bell towers. The interior is designed in the form of a Latin cross. One can find an impressive baptismal font and colourful 17th-century wood carvings. The two ancillary chapels dedicated to São Bernado and the Holy Sacrament are attributed to João Lopes (O Velho).

Monday - Friday: 09h00 - 18h00, Weekends: CLOSED
Largo Instituto Histórico do Minho 9, 4900-528 Viana do Castelo, Portugal
41º 41' 35.6" N | 08º 49' 58.3" W | +351 258 822 436


Close to the Cathedral, you will encounter several Medieval buildings, such as the "Casa dos Velhos", a beautiful example of distinct Galician/Portuguese architecture dating from the 15th century and the age of discoveries.

Igreja Matriz

Igreja Matriz

BASILICA OF SANTA LUZIA

Basilica of Santa Luzia

Basilica of Santa Luzia

Perched on top of the Monte Santa Luzia overlooking Viana is the domed Neo-Byzantine temple of Santa Luzia. The renowned architect Miguel Ventura Terra was influenced by the Sacré Coeur de Montmartre in Paris when designing the basilica. When constructed in 1903, its design caused controversy and was considered grotesque by style puritans. Loved or loathed, the temple has become one of the most iconic emblems of Northern Portugal. Consecrated in 1925, the church retains the tradition of pilgrimage started by the first chapel on this spot which dates back to 1694. Remains of the original chapel can be found on the grounds surrounding the site. Its three exaggerated rose windows and cupola are visible for miles. The view over the river, city and Costa Verde from the sanctuary has been heralded as one of the best in the world by National Geographic. The climb up the Monte Luzia is well worth the effort.

Santa Luzia Funicular

To get to the top, you can take the winding road or the 650 metres long Santa Luzia funicular. It departs from its base close to the train station. The first Funicular de Santa Luzia opened in 1923. You can still see one of the original carriages at the side of the rail as you ascend.
Low season: 10h00 - 17h00, High season: 09h00 - 20h00
Single: €2.00, Return: €3.00
Avenida 25 de Abril, 4900-496, Viana do Castelo, Portugal
41º 41' 48.6" N | 08º 49' 46.6" W | +351 258 817 277 |  Website

CITÂNIA SANTA LUZIA

The earliest evidence of human occupation of the area can be seen just behind the Basilica of Santa Luzia. Found in the form of a fortified iron age settlement which is believed to have been inhabited until the second century AD. The Citânia Santa Luzia, also known as A Cidade Velha de Santa Luzia, are Celtic-Iberian ruins consisting of circular housing structures typical of the Castro culture along with defensive walls, ditches and roads. Although excavations started in 1876 two thirds of the site remain uncovered.

The ancients took advantage of the strategic benefits of constructing a town at such a high elevation and utilised the natural flat terraces as a foundation for their buildings. A number of rock art and engravings have been unearthed here dating back to between the Neolithic and regional Chalcolithic periods.

Successive cultures continued to occupy the site shaping and adapting the landscape. The remains seen today was the pinnacle of the site's development preceding the arrival of the Romans in the 2nd century BC. Access into the site is via a small visitor centre where after watching a five-minute video you walk along elevated wooden walkways across the ruins allowing you to get a feel for the true sense of the scale of the site.

Tuesday - Sunday: 10h00 - 13h00/14h00 - 18h00, Sundays: CLOSED | €2.00
Monte de Santa Luzia, 4901-910, Viana do Castelo, Portugal | 41° 42’ 15” N | 08° 50’ 00 W
+351 258 825 917 | rcitania@culturanorte.gov.pt

Citânia Santa Luzia

Citânia Santa Luzia

ROMARIA DE NOSSA SENHORA D'AGONIA

Romaria de Nossa Senhora d'Agonia

Romaria de Nossa Senhora d'Agonia

The cycle of Viana's festivals begins in May with the Festival of Roses or Flower Baskets of Vila Franca do Lima. The tradition reaches its peak in August, thanks to the incomparable Festival of Nossa Senhora d'Agonia dedicated to the city's patroness. The religious procession occurs both at sea and through the city's streets, decorated with carpets of flowers, confirms Viana's strong religious devotion. Secular traditions are also reflected at this time with the ethnographic procession. During the Costume Festival, you can admire the traditional costumes of the Minho region worn by beautiful girls adorned with genuine gold works of art that are the city's typical jewellery pieces.

The partying continues… the concertinas and drums sound… the folk-dancing do not stop… the grandiose firework display lights up the whole city, starting from the Eiffel Bridge, passing through the Santiago da Barra Castle to the Temple-Monument of Santa Luzia… According to Viana's inhabitants, all of this is a way of thanking the visitors who come during the third week of August.

WHAT TO DO IN VIANA DO CASTELO

Gil Eannes Naval Museum

Gil Eannes Naval Museum

Moored at the dock, this floating naval hospital ship is now open to the public as a museum with its original equipment on exhibition, including operation theatres, communication equipment and refrigeration chambers, providing visitors with an unforgettable experience. Built at the Viana do Castelo shipyard, in 1955, intending to give hospital assistance to the fishermen in the seas off Newfoundland and Greenland. It also served as flagship, ice breaker, post ship and tug. It guaranteed food supplies, fuel, fishing gear and bait for the cod fishing fleet. In 1998 it was saved from the wreckers yard, lovingly restored and brought to Viana do Castelo to become a living museum celebrating Viana's maritime past.

April - September: 09h00 - 19h00, October - March: 09h00 - 17h00
Doca Comercial, Viana do Castelo 4900-321, Portugal
41º 41' 24.3" N | 08º 49' 48.9" W | +351 258 809 710
geral@fundacaogileannes.pt

Municipal Museum - Viana do Castelo

Municipal Museum

Housed in a distinctive 18th-century mansion, opposite the Igreja de São Domingos, the Municipal Museum of Viana do Castelo possesses one of the most important and valuable collections of Portuguese faience. Including several pieces from the famous "Fábrica de Louça" (Porcelain and Earthenware Factory) of Viana. Also on display are an important collection of paintings, drawings and pieces of sacred art. There is a beautiful collection of 18th century Indo-Portuguese furniture. Here too it's possible to discover Portuguese and Hispano-Arabic tiles that are unique in their variety and richness.


Tuesday - Sunday: 09h30 - 12h30/14h00 - 17h30, Monday: CLOSED
Largo de São Domingos, 4900-330, Viana do Castelo, Portugal
41º 41' 26.9" N | 08º 50' 0.9" W | +351 258 820 678
mmvianacastelo@um.geira.pt

Museu do Traje - Viana do Castelo

Museu do Traje (Costume Museum)

Located in the Praça da República behind the Monument to Caramuru in a building originally belonging to the Bank of Portugal since 2004. Exhibiting the ethnographic richness of traditional handmade Viana do Castelo folk dress. Also on display are the tools used in the process of making traditional garments.

Low season Tuesday - Sunday: 10h00 - 13h00/14h00 - 18h00
High season Tuesday - Sunday:: 10h00 - 13h00/15h00 - 19h00
Monday: CLOSED


Adult: €2.00, Child & OAP: €1.00
Praça da República, 4900 Viana do Castelo, Portugal
41º 41' 34.2" N | 08º 49' 43.1" W | +351 258 809 306
salome@cm-viana-castelo.pt |  Website

IGREJA DE SÃO DOMIGOS

In the square of São Domingos is a Renaissance church of the same name built between 1566 and 1575 and is all that remains of the old Santa Cruz monastery. It was founded by the Dominican friar Bartholomeu of the Martyrs, the Holy Archbishop of Braga. This church is home to his tomb. Also inside one encounters several beautiful carved gilded altars, of special note is the magnificent talha dourada altar found in the Nossa Senhora do Rosário side chapel, carved by the master José Alvares de Araújo from Braga, and is one of Europe's finest.

Largo de S. Domingos, Convento de S. Domingos, Monserrate 4900-330 Viana do Castelo, Portugal
41° 41′ 29.3″ N | 08° 50′ 02.6″ W | +351 258 847 701
paroquiamonserrate@diocesedeviana.pt


Save Money Car Hire
Igreja de São Domingos

Igreja de São Domingos

PONTE EIFFEL

Ponte Eiffel

Ponte Eiffel

The bridge was designed by the infamous Gustavo Eiffel. It first opened on June 30th 1878. It is a fine example of 19th-century iron construction spanning 563 metres across the Lima River. The bridge uses over two million kgs of iron sitting on nine granite squared stone pillars. The foundations reach down 22 metres. It was built to replace the original wooden bridge and carries trains across the river Lima thus opening up railway routes to Northern Portugal. Today the bridge is double-decked, with rail traffic on the lower level, and road traffic on the top. The bridge was restored in 2006/7. The top deck widened to allow foot traffic.


Ecovia do Lima (Traffic-free routes for walkers & cyclists)

Along and around the Lima valley can be found over 70km of traffic-free trails which meander through the countryside, opening up protected landscapes to the more adventurous traveller. In part, the trails utilise disused narrow gauge rail tracks. The trail is well signed as it takes you through idyllic surroundings, streams, vineyards, cornfields, orchards and views over the river Lima – a truly remarkable way to discover this land. The primary five routes are continuously being expanded and consist of:
Troço dos Açudes - Runs between Ponte de Lima and Ponte de Barca  Website
Percurso das Lagoas - From Ponte de Lima to Ribeira da Silvareira in Fontão  Website
Troço da Laranja - Runs between Ermelo, Arcos de Valdevez and Albufeira Touvedo  Website
Percurso de Refóios do Lima - Runs between Ponte de Lima and the pier at Garrida  Website
Percurso das Veigas - Runs between Deão in Viana do Castelo and Ponte de Lima  Website

PRAIA DO CABEDELO

Accessible by boat that departs from Viana's riverfront close to the Gill Eannes ship or a short drive over the Ponte Eiffel. The sweeping sands of Cabedelo Beach and neighbouring Praia de Luzia Mar stretch for miles up to Praia Norte and are relatively untouched. Also referred to as Luziamar or Aquário, these beaches are popular with surfers, kite surfers and windsurfers as the Atlantic often batters this coastline with a vengeance. The sands are backed by pine forests and several wooden walkways. They are helpful when crossing the dunes. | 41° 41' 31.91" N | 08° 50' 56.08" W


728*90
Cabedelo Beach

Cabedelo Beach

TOP TOURS

Vinho Verde Small Group Tour

Vinho Verde Small Group Tour

Discover Portugal's unique wine tradition of Vinho Verde, or green wine, on this full-day tour from Porto. The Vinho Verde region of Portugal is filled with lush, green scenery, which you can discover on this tour. Sample the special wine at local wineries, enjoy a delicious Portuguese lunch, and learn about this wine region.


Check Availability

Private Tour: Viana do Castelo and Ponte de Lima from Porto

Viana do Castelo and Ponte de Lima

Visit Vila do Conde, Povoa Varzim, Viana do Castelo and Ponte de Lima. From Porto, always travelling along the coast, we will visit all these cities with stops at the most emblematic monuments in each city, the most beautiful beaches, and taste the local sweets. We will visit Viana do Castelo the jewel of Minho and Ponte de Lima the oldest village in Portugal. Travel in an air-conditioned Mercedes-class V250 van with eight seats.

Check Availability

Valença, Ponte de Lima & Viana do Castelo

Valença, Ponte de Lima & Viana do Castelo

A full-day tour to uncover Alto Minho Region! Visit three unique towns in the north of Portugal: Valença, Ponte de Lima, and Viana do Castelo. Accompanied by an expert driver/guide you'll explore the attractions and delights, learn more about the region, and take time to get in touch with the customs, traditions, and flavours of the Minho. Pick up from Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia.

Check Availability

SUGGESTED HOTELS

Hotel Laranjeira

Hotel Laranjeira ★ ★

Located in the historic district of Viana do Castelo, Residencial Laranjeira is one of the oldest hotels within the city that underwent a complete refurbishment in 2009. Each room is modern and comfortable, yet however, like the foundations, the service is genuinely friendly and welcoming. Facilities include en-suite, telephone, Cable TV, Air conditioning, WiFi and private parking.

Rua Candido dos Reis 45, 4900-082, Viana do Castelo, Portugal.
41º 41' 38.1" N | 08º 49' 47.7" W | +351 249 530 760 | info@residencialaranjeira.com

Check Availability


Hotel Jardim Viana do Castelo

Hotel Jardim Viana do Castelo ★ ★

Located in an old listed and atmospheric building the two-star Hotel Jardim Viana do Castelo provides picturesque views over the river Lima, the city centre or the mountains. The staff offer their guests an equally authentic friendly welcome, so typical of the region. Each room combines authentic features with modern facilities. They all open out onto private balconies with iron railings. Breakfast is served each morning in the homely and friendly dining hall.

Largo 5 de Outubro 68, 4900-515 Viana do Castelo, Portugal.
41º 41' 29.8" N | 08º 49' 38.9" W | +351 258 828 915 | residencialjardim@sapo.pt

Check Availability


Casa Melo Alvim

Casa Melo Alvim ★ ★ ★ ★

Built in the 16th century, this beautifully restored manor offers individually styled rooms with minibars. The historic Viana do Castelo, features a piano bar and garden with a cascade. Casa Melo Alvim provides 20 air-conditioned rooms decorated in different styles. Ranging from neoclassical to baroque and rustic, each room is appointed with rich fabrics and original furniture. Guests can enjoy a luxury breakfast in the cosy bar with live piano music. A Baroque-style staircase leads to the upper floors and the library.

Av. Conde Da Carreira, 28, 4900-343 Viana do Castelo, Portugal.
N 41º 41' 40.0" | W 08º 49' 52.8" | +351 258 808 200

Check Availability


O Botequim

O Botequim

This is Brazilian food at its best found just outside of Viana. A wide selection of grilled meats, feijoada, small and large plate meals, a choice of artesian beers, wines and good coffee. All served up in a homely atmosphere by friendly staff, ideal for either lunch or dinner. On occasions, they have live music to aid your ingestion.

Tuesday – Sunday: 12h00 - 15h00/19h30 - 22h00, Monday: CLOSED
Avenida do Meio 146, Areosa, Viana do Castelo 4900-834, Portugal.
N 41º 42' 33.1" | W 08º 51' 07.9"
+351 932 498 809


Restaurante O Pescador

Restaurante O Pescador

This small renowned fish restaurant with Viana with a homely relaxed atmosphere and friendly staff. Speciality dishes include grilled sea bass stuffed with crab, house style mussels and sardines. A selection of delicious homemade desserts is available if the large portioned main didn't finish you off.

Monday - Saturday: 12h00 - 15h00/19h00 - 22h00, Sunday: CLOSED
Largo de S. Domingos 35, 4900-330, Viana do Castelo,, Portugal.
41º 41' 29.7" N | 08º 50' 2.38" W
+351 258 826 039 / 914 462 301
o_pescador@sapo.pt |  Website


Adega d` O Padrinho

Adega do Padrinho

A reasonably price restaurant dressed with typical Viana table decoration and a homely atmosphere. Specialising in regional cuisine, especially fish. The friendly staff are attentive and multilingual.

Daily: 12h00 - 16h00/19h00 - 23h00, Tuesdays in low season: CLOSED
Rua Gago Coutinho 162/164, 4900 509, Viana do Castelo, Portugal.
41º 41' 36.8" N | 08º 49' 36.1" W
+351 258 826 954

Francisco de Sá Carneiro Airport Porto is 66.7km (41.5 miles) South of Viana do Castelo Website

GET A GREAT DEAL ON YOUR FLIGHT HERE:

Only 44 minutes north of Porto, 44,8 miles (72km) up the the A28. From Braga take the A11 and A28, 40.1 miles (64.6km).
Latitude - 41° 41' 33.6" N Longitude - 08° 49' 45.9" W

GET A GREAT DEAL ON YOUR CAR HIRE HERE:

Regular trains to Viana do Castelo from Porto Campanhã, use the Regional train service (comboios regionais) Linha do Minho: Train Timetable | Comboios de Portugal Website

Rede Expressos run services to Viana do Castelo from various locations within Portugal. Website