Located by the sea, at the mouth of the Lima River and considered the capital of the Alto Minho, Viana do Castelo is one of the most charming coastal cities you can visit in northern Portugal.
Its beaches, historical monuments, gastronomy, traditions and pilgrimages make this place an essential destination.
For those who still do not know the city and have always been curious to get lost by its charms, in this article you will find a list of 10 mandatory stops.
When we ask ourselves,Viana do Castelo, what to visit? We advise these 10 places to discover this magnificent city of Portugal.
What to visit in Viana do Castelo: 10 must-see suggestions
Monte de Santa Luzia
This is one of the most popular tourist spots in Viana do Castelo. It is 228 meters above sea level, offering a viewpoint with a wonderful view of the city and the sea.
In it is located theShrine of Santa Luzia. The 20th century neo-Byzantine style church is much less old than it looks. Construction began in 1904 and was completed in 1959 after many delays. However, it is one of the most emblematic places in the city and the region.
At Monte de Santa Luzia you can also visit the Citânia de Santa Luzia, Old Town, one of the most famous castros in the north of the Iberian Peninsula. This village from the Fero Age is an authentic time travel in Alto Minho. A place that shows small buildings and traces of how life was made by the first peoples to inhabit Viana do Castelo.
To reach the top of Santa Luzia, it is possible to do it by car, on foot there are 659 steps, ideal for those who are fans of a good adventure and by funicular.r.
OSanta Luzia Funicular is one of the activities in Viana do Castelo not to be missed. From the Santa Luzia hill you can enjoy a breathtaking view over the coast and the Lima valley. Overcoming a difference of 160 meters, in six to seven minutes, the trip on the Santa Luzia Funicular is the longest of all the funiculars in the country.
Prices: one way 2.00; round trip 3.00. Part of an area close to the train station.a.
It has been the epicenter of Viana do Castelo for over five hundred years. It is the heart of the historic city center. From this point the center of Viana is born.
Around it stands the Casa de Caridade da Misericórdia, the Misericórdia Church and the Old Town Halls, which once housed the City Hall, as well as the Renaissance fountain known as Chafariz.
Gil Eannes Ship
Moored in the city's seaport and just a few minutes from the center is theGil Eannes Hospital Ship, built in 1955, a vessel that served for many years as a hospital ship for Portuguese fishermen who fished cod in the seas of northern Europe. It is one of the recommended visits of the city, since it allows to understand the concept of hospital ship, from operating rooms, infirmary, kitchens, rooms, laboratories, etc.
Its legacy was so important that they decided to restore it and turn it into a museum, recalling its important past. On January 31, 1998, it was received festively in Foz do Lima, where, after being cleaned and restored, it was opened to the public, assuming itself as a pole of attraction for Viana do Castelo.
To learn more about the history of this emblematic ship,visit the Gil Eannes Foundation.
Viana do Castelo Cathedral
Known asCathedral, the Viana do Castelo Mother Church, began to be built in the first half of the 15th century, although it has undergone several changes throughout history, it was converted into a cathedral in 1977.
With a style close to Gothic, the main porch stands out, with its twin towers, the sculptures of the six apostles and the emblazoned tombs that are found inside, as well as its chapels.
Santiago da Barra Castle
To the west of the city, facing the sea, stands one of the first fortifications located at the mouth of the Lima River: theSantiago da Barra Castle, also known as Castelo de Viana, with the polygonal plan that characterizes it.
It was built in the 15th century as a small fort, but at the end of the 16th century, during the reign of Philip II Philip I of Portugal, it was requalified to guarantee even more security to the city.e.
This is because, Viana da Foz do Lima the old Viana do Castelo was one of the most important Portuguese seaports, maintaining a regular commercial network with other mercantile centers in Europe, such as England, Flanders, France or Galicia. Therefore, it makes the city an attractive target for maritime attacks.s.
Located in the historic center of the city, the building of the former Banco de Portugal has been hosting since 2004Costume Museum who, through his exhibition, takes a tour of Viana's handicrafts and traditional clothing.
The exposed collection also includes the utensils used for the handmade confection of garments, in addition to the permanent exhibitions Wool and linen in the Alto Minho costume, Vianesa costume and Oficina do Ouro.Ouro”.
Much of what you can visit at the Costume Museum is also what inspires us, PAPAYA,to promote the best that Viana do Castelo has to offer, in relation to ancestral traditions. Our products drink much of the influence of the artisan Viennese.
Municipal Museum of Viana do Castelo Museum of Decorative Artss)
OMunicipal Museum of Viana do Castelo it is located in the former Barbosa Maciel Palace, from the 18th century. Among its collections, there is a spectacular collection of Portuguese porcelain from the 17th and 18th centuries, as well as numerous objects from Viana do Castelo faience, traditional designs, and one of the most important Portuguese and Spanish-Arab tile collections.
Chocolate Factory Museum
OChocolate Factory Museum offers a set of interpretative solutions on chocolate and cocoa, with a strong technological and interactive component.
For those who are a fan of chocolate, it is undoubtedly one of the must-visit attractions. The best thing is to take a guided tour and they explain the whole process of making chocolate. In the end, you can make your own chocolate bar to take home as a sweet souvenir.
Single adult or child price 5.00 Children up to 3 years old inclusive Free.tuito.
Chapel of Souls and Chapel of Malheiras
This is a 2 in 1 to visit in Viana do Castelo.
THEChapel of Malheiras, in honor of the name of the owner family. It is one of the most striking examples of Portuguese Rococo architecture. In addition, it is also known as Casa das Estampas. With unique finishes, it is an example for anyone who is a fan of religious art.
As for theChapel of Souls, this was the most important church in Viana, until the construction of the Cathedral of Viana do Castelo. Before it was known as Velha Matriz, but with time the name changed because its square functioned as a cemetery, from the reign of Afonso III until the end of the 19th century.
Shrine of Our Lady of Agony
This beautiful Baroque chapel, with influences from the Portuguese-Brazilian Baroque, dates from the mid-18th century. Take with you one of the most important pilgrimages in Portugal.
THEFeast of the Lady of Agony, perhaps the most celebrated pilgrimage in the region, is celebrated on the weekend after August 15, the day of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Virgin, and usually includes ethnographic processions, land processions, and river processions on the Lima River with decked vessels. The city streets through which the religious procession that carries the image of the Virgin parades are decorated with carpets of flowers.s.
It is associated with the devotion of people linked to fishing, who thanked or celebrated the graces received in difficult times during maritime storms.
Prepared to visit Viana do Castelo?
And it was with the Festas da Senhora da Agonia that this article ends. Now, you already know what to visit in Viana do Castelo. These ten suggestions and the vianenses await you!
P.S. - If you are planning a getaway to Viana do Castelo during the month of August, do not miss thePilgrimage of Our Lady of Agonia, a party that is celebrated for several days, in which the streets are decorated and the city overflows with joy and fun!