Located at the mouth of the Lima River, some 50 kilometers north of Porto, Viana do Castelo is an inspired daytrip destination for holidaymakers of Porto (13 trains a day leave from Porto to Viana do Castelo, and trips take between one hour and a half and a little over two hours). The city was founded in 1253 by King Afonso III, and most of the historical patrimony dates back from the age of the great discoveries, when the city was one of the most important ports of the country. The economic wealth of the city led locals to build impressive residences that even nowadays strike by their opulence and architectural excellence.

In this respect, the 16th century Palacio de Tavoras is iconic, but tourists should definitely make time to visit sight like the Church of Nossa Senhora da Agonia, the Neo-Byzantine Church of Santa Luiza (said to follow closely, architecturally speaking, the Sacre Coeur Church of Paris), the 16th century Church of Sao Domingos, the 15th century Cathedral, not to mention the Mother Church, it too dating back to the 15th century.

The Municipal Museum of Viana do Castelo is also worth visiting. Located in a palace which dates back to the 18th century, the museum showcases a miscellaneous collection of exhibits, such as archeological findings, ceramics and furniture. The nearby Geraz do Lima Carriage Museum should, it too, be included in one’s daytrip plans to Viana do Castelo. Despite the fact this one does not match the Carriage Museum in Lisbon in grandness or popularity, it does represent a notable tourist sight.

The main square of the city is, furthermore, pegged out by a unique landmark, namely, a fountain built in an elegant Renaissance style during the 15th century, but sightseeing aside, Viana do Castelo is often frequented by visitors who simply want to sunbathe. Thus, the Cabedelo beach is at hand for sun worshipers, though a further alternative refers to the beach located in the nearby Vila Praia de Ancora. The mainstream tourist opportunities are complemented by the fact Viana do Castelo is one of the cities of Portugal deemed the most traditional of all, a feature reflected by the public event calendar of the city.

Viana do Castelo
Viana do Castelo, Portugal
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