Viana do Castelo

Viana do Castelo

Viana do Castelo known as “Princesa do Lima”, is the capital of the district and the most northern Atlantic city in Portugal, located about 25 minutes from Porto International Airport. It is a city in the Alto Minho, renowned for its multiple historical, cultural, gastronomic and traditional offerings, located in front of the mouth of the Lima River. The historical center of Viana do Castelo is rich in relevant monuments, has a unique architecture marked by important buildings, fountains and a natural landscape of river, sea and hills, responsible for major tourist attraction and the integration of Viana do Castelo in the list of Portuguese “Healthy Cities”. We can observe the traditionality of Viana do Castelo in the festivities, pilgrimages, crafts and gastronomy of the city, and the local cuisine is widely recognized in the region with such emblematic flavors as Bacalhau à Viana, Octopus Rice à Moda do Minho or Hake to Vianense. We also find ethnography and Viennese folklore expressed in artisanal knowledge, in traditional costumes and in the jewelery of the typical Coração de Viana. It is in Viana that we find the Peneda-Gerês Natural Park, one of the most sought after natural attractions in Portugal considered by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve.

Attractions to visit in Viana do Castelo (Top 10)

In the district of Viana do Castelo, the attractions that receive the most visits and are most appreciated by visitors are the Peneda-Gerês National Park, the Fortaleza de Valença, the Santuário de Santa Luzia and the trip there through the Santa Luzia Elevator, the Moledo Beach, the Gil Eannes Foundation, the Castelinho Leisure Park, the Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Peneda, the Ecovia do Vez with the Passadiço do Sistelo, the Praia do Cabedelo, and the Espigueiros do Soajo. However we have gathered for you, in addition to these, all the attractions in Viana do Castelo … described below.

Points of interest in Viana do Castelo

The Sanctuary of Santa Luzia or Sanctuary of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, is the temple-monument that crowns the city of Viana do Castelo, with a Greek cross façade and ornamented with colorful stained glass, located on the summit Monte de Santa Luzia, where it stands out in a bucolic and natural setting of great beauty, referring to the religious tradition of the city and the cult of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. To enjoy the privileged views over the evolving green, the river Lima and the urban fabric of the city, we can go up to the sanctuary by the Santa Luzia Elevator, which connects the train station to the temple, going up the natural slope through the longest funicular ride in the country. In the vicinity of the mountains, we can visit the Citânia Santa Luzia, locally recognized as Cidade Velha de Santa Luzia, which takes us back to the Iron Age, delimited by the ruins of the ancient walls. Heading to the riverside area of Viana do Castelo we find the 16th century Fort of Santiago da Barra, which contains some traces of Manueline architecture; the Fundação Gil Eannes, a floating museum located in the old commercial dock of Viana do Castelo, which takes advantage of the old Ship Hospital for the presentation of a museum center whose collection refers to the historical and cultural role of the sea ; and the Cultural Center of Viana do Castelo, a building of modern architecture located next to the Lima River.

As we move towards the historic center, we also find the emblematic Costume Museum of Viana do Castelo, a 20th century building, with architecture from the Estado Novo, whose collection preserves elements representative of costumes and customs from Alto Minho, focusing mainly on Viennese women's costumes whose historical and symbolic role is nationally recognized. A few steps from this museum, we are invited to meet the 16th century Sé Catedral de Viana do Castelo, of Gothic architecture, whose facade shows the sculptures of six apostles that mark the Viennese faith (Santo André, São Bartolomeu, São João, São Paulo, São Pedro and São Tiago) and the rich interior highlights the artistic collection of the Chapel of Senhor Jesus dos Mareantes. Of the religious heritage of this area of ​​the city, we highlight the Igreja da Misericórdia of the 16th century, of Mannerist and Renaissance architecture with valuable interior elements of gilded wood and tiles; the 16th century Igreja de São Domingos, which offers some of the most valuable and outstanding works of national gilt carving; and the Romanesque Capela das Almas from the 13th century, next to the Jardim da Marginal on the Lima River where we find the Ponte Rodoferroviária de Viana do Castelo, an iron connection based on nine pillars granitic and better known as Eiffel Bridge. Here we also find the Núcleo Museológico de Arqueologia, known as Casa dos Nichos, a 15th century building with a stone facade, whose estate refers to prehistoric, iron age and Roman antiquity.

Sports and Leisure in the region of Viana do Castelo

Sport and leisure in the region of Viana do Castelo is deeply related to sea sports and bathing practices. In the South coast of the Lima River we find beaches particularly sought after by the enthusiasts of surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing, the Praia do Cabedelo is the most acclaimed, standing out for its natural beauty of its white sand provided by an environment of autochthonous vegetation and dunes, close to the local camping sites and also by the strong sea waves that allow the practice of sea sports. Advancing to the south, we find other inviting beaches, such as Praia de Luzia Mar with its extensive sand, wooden walkways and beautiful green surroundings; the Praia do Rodanho, where we find the highest altitude dune systems in the North of Portugal; the Praia da Amorosa, a space of great natural beauty, sought especially by surfers and next to which we can find the Kartódromo de Viana, the only complex of its type offering two lanes; Lordelo Beach, surrounded by undergrowth and an urban environment; and the Praia do Castelo do Neiva, integrated in a rural environment that preserves a fishing tendency. Arriving here, we highlight two places of great interest in Monte de São Lourenço: Castro de São Lourenço, a place of historical and archaeological interest, where we are invited to contemplate the scenic beauty in a viewpoint overlooking the sea, and the Capela de São Lourenço from the 16th century, with baroque style architecture.

North of the city of Viana do Castelo, the coastline offers several places of interest for lovers of sport and culture, such as the Praia do Paçô with its green surroundings and from which we can observe the Montedor Lighthouse of the 20th century, with a stone facade and a quadrangular tower, which constitutes the northernmost lighthouse on the Portuguese coast. Advancing towards the mouth of the River Lima next to the city of Viana do Castelo, we come across Praia de Carreço, an accessible beach of great natural beauty; the Praia do Canto Marinho, with more wild features, surrounded by a pronounced cliff suitable for walking; and the Forte da Areosa, a small defensive structure, with a starry plan and four bastions, built during the Restoration Wars.

Peneda-Gerês National Park

The Peneda-Gerês National Park is a protected area in northern Portugal, classified by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve, with a vast natural and built heritage, of landscape, historical and cultural interest. Essentially granitic and mountainous, this park takes us to historic sites such as the Castelo de Lindoso, built in the 13th century with defensive purposes, currently serving as part of the Gate of the Peneda-Gerês National Park, a site that includes a Military Museum, near which we find the community threshing floor and the fifty Espigueiros de Lindoso, composed of stone structures for agricultural use from the 17th and 18th centuries, which served to dry the cereal . The Poço da Gola, a small artificial dam with a beautiful waterfall, is another point of interest that we can find in the vicinity of the village of Lindoso, from where we continue to the Dam do Alto Lindoso, the most powerful energy production center in Portugal, located on the Lima River, and the Miradouro Lindoso, accessible via a pedestrian trail and whose panoramic view covers the Serra Amarela and the region of Lindoso.

Nearby, we find traces of the Roman occupation on the Ponte de São Miguel, a wooden bridge, framed in the natural surroundings and still preserving the remnants of the old bridge, destroyed in the 17th century, and the Ponte da Cava da Velha, which connects the banks of the Rio Laboreiro and stands out due to the irregular stone board in an easel with two arches of unequal size at the base. The manifestations of religiosity also stand out here, mainly in the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Peneda, an 18th century temple to worship the Virgin, with a natural setting next to the granite outcrop of Penedo da Meadinha and from which we highlight the virtues stairway, with its statuary representing Hope, Faith, Charity and Glory. Traveling inside the park, we find the Castelo de Castro Laboreiro, a place of difficult access that corresponds to an old ruined medieval fortification, where it is possible to see parts of the wall and the keep, as well as observe the bucolic natural surroundings. A few kilometers away, places of sporting and natural interest stand out, including the Meadinha, a rocky and granitic wall highly sought after by climbing enthusiasts, and the Lagoa da Peneda, with a mirror of clear water. that reflects the mountains and the natural and rocky surroundings.

Places of natural interest in Viana do Castelo

The Ecovia do Vez is a pedestrian and natural route of 32 kilometers, which integrates the small trail of the Passadiço do Sistelo, considered one of the most beautiful in the Peneda-Gerês National Park. This trail is very popular for hiking and cycling purposes, highlighting the natural scenery of the banks of the Rio Vez and Rio Lima. Next to the Ecovia do Vez we find the Castle of Visconde de Sistelo, a small palace from the 19th century whose façade imitates a castle with two towers. A few kilometers away, the region known as Penedo do Castelo invites us to observe the landscape offered at Miradouro da Estrica, a viewpoint built on a rock. From the river we can visit in Arcos de Valdevez, the urban and riverside Praia Fluvial da Valeta, where we find a watermill and various recreational infrastructures, as well as visiting the recovered Paço de Giela , overlooking this Raiana village, in whose tower we can visit an archaeological museum. The twenty-four Espigueiros do Soajo, integrated in a natural environment, are another point of high interest in the village of Arco de Valdevez, for its historical (and current) use in drying corn and for its stone architecture, from where highlights for the air circulation, and the cross above the structures.

Just 600 meters from this location, through a pedestrian path, we find the Ponte da Ladeira, as well as the water trail on which the Poço Negro do Soajo, one of the most acclaimed waterfalls in the Alto region Minho, much sought after by bathers and nature lovers, integrated in the set of Cascades do Soajo, which form several lagoons of fresh and crystalline water. Similar features include the Poço das Canejas waterfalls and the Poço das Mantas, places of natural interest, suitable for bathing and recently recovered. From the river to the mountain, the path takes us to one of the doors to the Peneda-Gerês National Park: the Parque Porta do Mezio, located in the town of the same name and formed by 3 mountainous hectares, among which include tourist and recreational infrastructures, which include the Aldeia dos Pequeninos, the Rural and Ethnographic Museum, a tree climbing park and several viewpoints, sports spaces and gastronomic places. Due to the great natural beauty and the ancient history of the region, it is worth visiting the Megalithic Nucleus of the Mezio, where we can find well-preserved megalithic monuments that allow us to get to know the primitive northern architecture. The Baloiço do Mezio, placed in one of the highest points of the Serra do Soajo, also deserves mention for the stunning panoramic views.

Portela do Homem is a mountainous Raiana region of Terras de Bouro, which demarcates the border between Portugal and Spain in the Serra do Gerês, delimiting the Peneda-Gerês National Park and nearby of which, crossing a rustic bridge over the Rio Homem, we find a succession of waterfalls of great natural beauty and whose access to the water can be somewhat rugged and slippery, known as Cascades of Portela do Homem. At 5 kilometers, in the Pé de Cabril, we are invited to observe the landscape over the National Park, highlighting the Vilarinho das Furnas reservoir. The Cascata de Leonte falling from a granite rock wall, and the Cascata da Laja, fed by the Laja stream and surrounded by oak trees, are also unmissable spaces for nature lovers, the best landscapes of the region are offered to us on the slope of Vale do Gerês, in places such as the pergola of Miradouro da Junceda and the swing of Miradouro da Boneca, places that offer privileged panoramic views over the verdant valley, rivers and reservoirs. In addition, the Miradouro da Pedra Bela, located about 800 meters away, in Terras de Bouro, is an essential visit, offering magnificent views over the park, located just a few kilometers from the Cascado do Arado, a waterfall located next to Vila do Gerês, where the water rips rocks and forms a lake, creating a bucolic setting, in a green setting that is considered one of the most beautiful spots in the region, along with the Cascata de Fecha de Barjas (or Cascata do Tahiti), located in the connection between the village of Ermida and the village of Fafião (Aldeia dos Lobos do Gerês), and whose access is possible by crossing the bridge over the Arado River. A point of interest with a religious inclination that stands out for its richness and natural setting is the Church of São Bento da Porta Aberta from the 15th century, a renowned pilgrimage site, with a bell tower and a rich interior, with tiles , the gilt carved altarpiece and the offerings placed at the foot of the image of São Bento, located on the altar.

In the Peneda Gerês National Park we find several points of heritage, leisure and landscape interest. The Ponte do Bico of the 19th century, in a fontist style and located next to the confluence of the Homem river and the Cávado river, and the robust Ponte de Prado, with nine arches and the central viewpoint quadrangular, are places of high historical value where we can glimpse the river with landscapes over the water courses. The beaches on the bank of the Cávado River: the River beach of Adaúfe, with blue flag, grassy area and suitable for diving, pedal boating and sports; the River beach of Verim, an accessible beach, ideal for bathing and with a volleyball court; and Praia Gerês Albufeira, a beach located in Albufeira da Caniçada, known for its warm waters and surroundings, whose idyllic natural setting includes the Vilarinho das Furnas Power Plant. The water courses take us to the Barragem Da Caniçada, between the rivers Cávado, Gerês and Caldo, responsible for the electric energy and possessing a magnificent landscape. Here, we embark on the Caniçada Boat Tours, with the "O Brancelhe”, the typical tourist boat that takes us through the water mirror between the mountains and the bays, allowing us to contact with the landscape of riverside of Terras de Bouro, Vieira do Minho and Montalegre.

Leaving Albufeira da Caniçada in the direction of the village of Ermida, we come across the Miradouro das Rocas with views over the valley of Rio Arado and Serra do Gerês; the Cilhas viewpoint, surrounded by native vegetation, covers the Arado river, the valley and the Cascada da Rajada; and the Miradouro da Ermida, integrated in the surroundings with stone stairs and wooden handrails from which we can observe the rock massifs of Gerês, the village of Ermida and the surrounding rural landscape. The viewpoint of Ermida is the starting point of the Trail of the Sobreiral of Ermida do Gerês, from which we can visit the Miradouro Vela, located on a large granite rock, with wooden protections, located in the near the Cascada da Rajada, allowing us to walk to the Cascata do Arado. From here, following one of the unofficial trails of Gerês, we can find the Poço Azul, composed of a small basin of natural water, with a blue tint, between the rocky escarpments. The Pincães waterfall, inserted in a trail that starts in the village of Pincães, is another place that deserves attention for the great natural beauty originated by the native vegetation and the crystalline waters.

Attractions along the Lima River in the Peneda-Gerês Natural Park

Taking the route along the bank of the river Lima through the Peneda-Gerês Natural Park takes us to places of great historical and natural interest. Ponte da Barca is a remote village of Minho, highlighted by its natural surroundings, river features, historical and cultural heritage, among which we highlight some points of interest, such as the Ponte da Ponte da Barca, dating from the beginning of the 15th century, it is integrated in an idyllic landscape over the River Lima. The bridge preserves eight of its nine original arches and boasts two headstones displaying the local weapons and the armillary sphere. The village has a nationally recognized Racecourse, which hosts renowned tournaments, including the Grand Prix of Portugal of Trot and Gallop. Following the river, we visit the old Benedictine Monastery of Bravães, dating from the 12th century, of Romanesque architecture and which stands out for the rarity of the human figures of its two shafts.

And Ponte de Lima, a traditional village recognized for its gastronomy and historical heritage, from which we highlight the Ponte Romana Ponte de Lima, an ex-libris of the town that presents us with a medieval section located between the left bank of the river, the Igreja de Santo António da Torre Velha and a Roman section, of which five arches from the 1st century remain. The Igreja Matriz Ponte de Lima built on the site of an old church of the century XII, it presents a Romanesque tracing in stone, with emphasis on the chapels ornamented with gilded woodwork and the main altar covered with relics of saints. In Ponte de Lima we can visit some cultural spaces, namely the Casa de Arnado and the Portuguese Toy Museum, where we can learn about manufacturing techniques and materials used in the production of national toys, with permanent and temporary exhibitions , a playroom and a workshop; and the Museu dos Terceiros, located in two old religious houses of the order of San Francisco, which preserve the 16th century design of ecclesiastical façades, displaying a rich collection of sacred art. Advancing to Cais da Garrida, inserted in Ecovia do Rio Lima, we find one of the most beautiful coastal landscapes of the river, with dams and weirs, a place with a very strong importance for the local economy , where lamprey fishing is practiced. Here we can find the bronze sculpture Allegory to the New Fairs and Folklore representing the importance of folklore in Minho society, and the Clube Náutico de Ponte de Lima, symbol of the local sports culture that stood out for its success in canoeing.

Attractions along Portugal's border with Spain

In the North of Portugal, along the border between Portugal and Spain there are several Raiano heritage treasures worthy of mention. The Rio Minho rises in the Serra de Meira in Spain, and flows into the mouth in the Atlantic Ocean between Spain and Portugal, near Caminha (Portugal). It is a natural border between countries and an undeniable point, with an estuary of great beauty in the region. The riverside defensive structures are an integral part of the landscape, with great emphasis on the military architecture of the Fortress of Valença of the 17th century, situated on the top of two hills, it is one of the largest and best preserved fortresses in the world, with more of five kilometers of wall reinforced by bastions of the 17th and 18th centuries, containing the Church of Santa Maria dos Anjos of the 13th century, which refers to the Romanesque, Baroque and revivalist architecture. The connection between Portugal and Spain is marked physically and symbolically by the bridges, including the Ponte Rodoferroviária de Valença, 19th century infrastructure built in a metal beam structure that crosses the river Minho; and the Ponte da Amizade, a Raiana link between Vila Nova de Cerveira and Tomiño, resulting from the 2015 project “Europe for citizens” and highlights, based on a Charter of Friendship, the crumbling of borders. This bridge has in its pentagonal surroundings the Fort of São Francisco de Lovelhe, a 17th century military structure located on a small riverside elevation, close to the Bienal Art Foundation of Cerveira, where contemporary art is promoted through multidisciplinary events and a museum space. However, before moving from Valença to Vila Nova de Cerveira, we visited the ancient and Romanesque Monastery of San Fins, with the first buildings dating from the year 604 AD, with Galician influences and framed by an oak.

Vila Nova de Cerveira is a village in the Minho region with several places of historical and natural interest. The Parque de Lazer do Castelinho is a green space full of infrastructures dedicated to leisure, sport (including mini-golf, football and basketball), leisure and eco-pedagogy, which includes a Parque Aquático and Aquinhouse of the river Minho, a place represents the memory of the human relationship with the river. In the village, the privileged position of the Castelo de Vila Nova de Cerveira, started construction in the 13th century, with an oval structure currently transformed into a hotel, where you can visit the pillory and the chapel inside. In the center of the village, the Igreja Matriz de Vila Nova de Cerveira stands out with the façade that displays two bell towers and the interior details of the tabernacle. On the coast we find the Ecopista do Rio Minho, a space that connects the Praia da Mota and the Parque de Cerveira, in a scenic contrast guided by biodiversity along a riverside route with more than 13 kilometers.

The surroundings of Vila Nova de Cerveira have several points of landscape, rural and religious interest. Among the viewpoints, we highlight the Miradouro do Espírito Santo (or Porta do Ceo) in Serra da Gávea, with the ruins of the Chapel of Espírito Santo, of which only the façade remains. front and whose portico frames the views over the river Minho and Spain; and the Cervo viewpoint, with two swings from which we can enjoy panoramic views of Tomiño and the river, next to the iron sculpture “O Cervo”, by the local sculptor José Rodrigues. Visiting the viewpoints can be done on foot by a trail started in the Chapel of Senhora da Encarnação, a small chapel with a stone facade, with walls decorated with tiles, and an image of Santa da Encarnação in a prominent position. Near the viewpoints we find the Lago do Cervo, a water mirror that reflects the green and rocky hills, and the traditional Moinhos da Gâvea, which can be visited by appointment, and recently recovered for interpretive and tourist purposes.

To the North and Northwest of the Gerês National Park we find points of heritage and natural interest integrated in the regions of Melgaço, Monção, Paredes de Coura and Ponte da Barca. In Melgaço we find the defensive medieval structure of the Castelo de Melgaço, dating from the 13th century, of which only the keep remains, however it is a place from which we can enjoy beautiful views of the historic center and the surrounding mountains. Continuing to the Espaço Memória e Fronteira, in the building of the old municipal slaughterhouse, we can learn about the contemporary history of the village. On the way to Monção, the Torre de Lapela, an old keep evokes the memory of a castle demolished in the 18th century, opening doors to the village where we can visit the Palácio da Brejoeira of the 19th century, neoclassical architecture, integrated in a farm with woods, vineyards and gardens as natural surroundings. Along the Minho River, we find the tributary that gives rise to the Coura River, leading us to the idyllic Praia Fluvial do Taboão, with a rural and agricultural environment, known for hosting the holidaymaker Festival Paredes De Coura , as well as the Corno do Bico Protected Landscape **, a place of remarkable biodiversity, which includes a mountainous and agricultural panorama, with unique granite rock blocks and hydrophilic vegetation.

Attractions on the coast, from Caminha to Viana da Castelo

From Walks to Viana do Castelo there are several points of interest to highlight. In Caminha, the Torre do Relógio, erected on medieval walls, displays on its facade the image of the Virgin, a bell integrated in a metallic structure and the clock that names it, allowing the entrance under an arch to the historic center. Here we find the Igreja Matriz de Caminha of the 15th century, of Spanish inspiration and Gothic interior with various elements from the 17th and 18th centuries, to the Renaissance Chafariz de Caminha (16th century), with a classic design and based on a circular platform with an iron balustrade, and the Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Agonia, which mixes Rococo and Neoclassical styles. The River Minho is a reference in the region and, when crossing it to Pontevedra, the archeological site of Castro de Santa Trega allows us to know one of the most emblematic Galician castros. At the mouth of the Minho River, back to Portugal, the Foz do Minho sea beach (or Caminha Beach) deserves our attention, due to the white sand surrounding with river extension and the proximity to Mata do Camarido, planted by order of D. Dinis, a place where we can walk or bike along the beach or in the midst of nature.

On the edge of the forest, we find the Praia do Camarido with the sand overlaid by the Forte do Ínsua, a fortress in irregular shape of the 17th century located in the Ilhéu da Ínsua in Moledo, with a revelim and five bastions that make up a Franciscan convent of which existence has been known since the 14th century. In front we find the coastal beach of Moledo, with rocky characteristics and white sand, integrated in a natural landscape recognized by the high iodine content of its therapeutic waters, and by the favorable sea conditions for the practice of surf, windsurf , kitesurf and bodyboard. These places are part of the landscape of Miradouro do Sino dos Mouros. Also in the municipality of Caminha, Vila Praia de Âncora is another tourist town that stands out for its historical and cultural heritage, with bathing, sports and pedestrian trails. In the village we find two defensive forts from the 17th and 18th centuries, namely the Forte da Lagarteira, a fortress, located in the area of ​​the Portinho de Vila Praia de Âncora, with a star plant with side ramparts and medieval elements ; and Forte do Cão located in Lugar da Gelfa. Bordered by the Mata Nacional de Gelfa and the dune system, the Praia da Duna do Caldeirão is a local reference, which can be accessed by the walkway next to the river. In the vicinity of Vila Praia de Âncora we find the coastal chapel of the Capela Santo Isidoro, with the old headboard cross; and Anta da Barrosa, a dolmen in good condition located in Lapa dos Mouros, in a natural environment dotted with trees.

On the way between Caminha and Viana do Castelo, we find the Serra de Arga, one of the most acclaimed green areas in Minho, highlighted by the uniqueness of the granitic massifs, by the biodiversity and by the places of heritage interest, such as windmills, shrines, chapels and cruises. Here, we take the route from Montaria, taking us along a 10 km pedestrian trail, along which we find Cascata do Pincho, a famous waterfall of Rio Âncora that forms a blue-green lagoon, suitable for bathing. At the top of the mountain, we find the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora do Minho, a construction of the 20th century, with a stone facade and a semicircular roof, integrated in a natural setting acclaimed as a place of pilgrimage and pilgrimages. Returning to the coast to discover other beaches along the path that connects us to Viana do Castelo, we stop at the Convento de São João de Cabanas, built in 564, which served as the seat of several religious orders and a holiday residence for the poet Pedro Homem de Melo, author whose poems adorn the walls. Following to Viana do Castelo, we find a line of beaches consisting of the windy Praia da Ínsua, with small natural pools at low tide, especially suitable for families with children; the Praia de Afife, whose sea is conducive to surfing; and Praia da Arda, framed in a green and inviting setting for the practice of ocean sports.

Culture and festivals in Viana do Castelo

Viana do Castelo is the capital of Portuguese folklore, with the Festa de Viana being one of the highlights of the city, known as the Festas da Nossa Senhora da Agonia includes a procession to the sea with hundreds of fishing boats from all over the country, and from Galicia in Spain, to pay homage to the fishermen. At this time of year, the streets of Ribeira de Viana do Castelo are adorned with colorful carpets. At the parties of Senhora da Agonia we can watch a parade with women dressed in traditional bridal, mordomas and peasant dress. The party ends with a firework display. This pilgrimage is linked to the Igreja da Agonia, built in 1674 in homage to the patron saint of fishermen and started in 1772. The handicrafts of Viana do Castelo, namely crockery, embroidery, golden and silver filigree , and footwear, have a prominent place in the tradition of the region and are an important tourist attraction. The promotion of Viennese handicrafts includes the holding of a Handicraft Fair during the Fiestas de Nossa Senhora da Agonia between August 10 and 20 of each year.

Viana do Castelo handicrafts include traditional clothing unique throughout the country, namely the Vianesa or Lavradeira Costume, the Bride Costume, the Field or Work Costume, the Mordoma Costume, the Morgada Costume, the Man Costume , the Man's Work Attire and the Groom Attire. The local costumes, composed of colorful fabrics produced at home, carry the symbolism of the ancient daily use (between the 19th century and the mid-20th century) until today, where it marks the celebrations and pilgrimages of the city, referring to femininity, through figures such as the farm worker, the bride or the mordoma with colorful and round skirts, embroidered in relief, covered by furrowed aprons and accompanied by a white shirt with an embroidered sleeve, shawls, scarves and local jewelery. Among the pieces in gold, we highlight the Portuguese filigree of the Hearts of Viana, a jewelery production piece worked in fine gold mesh, which represents the cult of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, originating from the reign of D Maria I.

Brief history of Viana do Castelo

Viana do Castelo was founded by D Afonso III in 1258. The wall of Viana do Castelo was completed in 1374 during the fernandine wars with Castile. The city had a great development in the 15th century due to its excellent port, being linked to the Epic of the Discoveries. Viana do Castelo was elevated to the category of city in the 19th century.

Economy of Viana do Castelo

Viana do Castelo has an economy and a dynamic business environment in constant development. Viana bets on the creation of innovative projects, namely the Portuguese Healthy Cities Network, Agenda XXI or the Sustainable Cities Project; and in the creation of support infrastructures for local and foreign companies wishing to settle in the city and in the municipality, and in supporting entrepreneurship, such as the Parque Empresarial da Praia Norte, the Parque Empresarial da Mendela, the Parque Empresarial de Lanheses and the Zona Industrial de Neiva.

Viana do Castelo has very old connections to cod. This is where cod fishing vessels leave for fishing for cod in Greenland and Newfoundland. The gastronomy of Viana do Castelo includes specialties such as corn bread, fish soup (chorinha), shrimp from the coast, lobster, rojões à la Minho, kid goat Serra d'Arga, Portuguese stew, cod à Viana, cod à Gil Eanes, cod de Cebolada, octopus rice in the style of Minho, lamprey rice, hake à vianaense, fish stew, half-moons of Viana , french toast, Viana's pie, Viana's cookies, Santas Luzias and vermicelli.

Viana do Castelo was the first Portuguese wine region to export wines, in this case to the markets of Flanders and England in the 15th century. The wines exported were green wines from Melgaço and wines from Ribeira de Lima. The wine region of Viana do Castelo includes grape varieties such as Alvarinho, Loureiro, and Vinhão

Quick facts about Viana do Castelo

  • Population of the city: 40 thousand inhabitants
  • Population of the County: 91 thousand inhabitants
  • Coastline: 24 kms
  • Golden beaches and blue flag: 8 (Afife, Arda, Paçô, Carreço, North, Cabedelo, Amorosa and Castelo de Neiva)
  • Maritime beaches: 11
  • Beaches and river areas: 17
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