"Viana do Castelo" Viana do Castelo by johnsakura

Viana do Castelo Travel Guide: 87 reviews and 266 photos

Viana do Castelo is a XIII century town (founded 1258), but it also has a pre-roman evidence of human occupation in the ruins of a city at the top of Santa Luzia hill.
The town lying at the mouth of the River Lima has a history linked with the sea. In the 15th Century it gained importance as the port from which explorers set sail. From here sailed Joao Velho who was to chart the Congo, and Joao Alvares Fagundes who charted the rich fishing grounds off Newfoundland. An enterprising English community settled here prior to 1580 for the export of local wine. The Spanish invasion of that year drove them further south but by 1700 they had re-established their flourishing business in the City only to move back to Porto due to the growth in the Port wine trade.

The town is kept busy with its fishing and holiday trade. A main feature is the attractive main square that features both a 1553 water fountain and the Miseriacórdia house that was constructed in 1598. Close by is its 15th Century Cathedral that has a fortress-like feeling and graced with Gothic carved relief's of the apostles. The City Museum housed in a small Palace is in the main square. It holds a variety of interesting fine items such as rare ceramics, furniture, paintings and archaeological finds from the area. In the northwest part of the City the 18th Century Chapel Nossa Senhora da Agonia plays an important part in its annual celebrations. A three-day festival drawing thousands of visitors is held in August each year to honour this image. Located on the high hill of Monte Santa Luzia is the modern unattractive basilica that dominates the City. From this point there are magnificent views of the surroundings whilst slightly hidden in a wood close by is the remains of a Celtic-Iberian settlement with many small huts and paved streets.

In the modern town, which has grown near the river Lima, you will find old streets and maybe listen the whisper of the ancient city.

On this side of town you can enjoy the view of of River Lima where may boats pass. Its the perfect place to cruise on private boats. You can pay for public excursion down the river with explanations on the local sight seing points.

  • Last visit to Viana do Castelo: Aug 2003
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Comments (1)

  • ncfg's Profile Photo
    Jan 22, 2004 at 2:28 PM

    I love your Viana page! The Pottery called by Louça de Viana is indeed unique. Did you visit Ponte de Lima?


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