A couple of weeks ago I visited an amazing city in the north of Portugal – Viana do Castelo. It wasn’t my first time there but it was my first time properly exploring it. The day was really nice (actually too hot) which helped to capture the city charm.
Viana is a historical city with a long coastline and the mouth of the Lima river. The city has an old traditional connection to the sea and it was involved in the Portuguese Discoveries. This resulted in a rich heritage like palaces, churches, monasteries and monumental fountains that are present all over the city with stunning architecture.
Hope you like this post and that you get to know a little bit about Viana do Castelo.
The first stop was the railway station. Opposite to the main facade of the station is a dancers monument. The statue consists of a man and a woman wearing the traditional costumes and dancing the popular folklore dance. This represents the spirit of the city. The engraved inscription invites everyone to revisit Viana. The truth is everyone that visit the city wants to go back.
The old town is definitely my favourite part of the city. The main attraction is the Praça da Republica that is considered the heart of the city because it’s full of history and character. This beautiful square is surrounded by emblematic buildings such as the old misericordia (16th-century church on the left) and the old Paços do Concelho (town hall in front). In the centre of the square, there is a gorgeous fountain and in the opposite direction (not shown in the picture) is located the costume museum. In here it’s possible to know the ethnographic richness of the traditional costumes vianenses (they’re gorgeous by the way).
Near the Praça da Republica is located a 17th-century Romanesque Cathedral. This church is beautiful but its even more stunning inside. Its walls are decorated with fine tiles containing pictures from the old testament.
The old town is covered with narrow streets and alleys. It’s such an amazing experience to walk in them. Each of them is unique and different from the others. Some of them were even decorated. Really picturesque.
And the piece of de resistance (the one I was more excited to see) was the Santurário de Santa Luzia. It’s a neo-Byzantine styled church located on the top of a hill which makes it visible from any point in the city. This monument is breathtaking and the view from here provides great panoramic pictures of the region.
Out of curiosity, during August a festival in honour of Nossa Senhora da Agonia takes place. There are processions, dancing, bullfights and finishes with a spectacular firework display. The most emblematic day is the 20th of August when the statue of the Nossa Senhora da Agonia is taken out to bless the sea in the most colourful festivals in Portugal, where the beauty and richness of the costumes that are paraded during the festivities are notable. Definitely, a good time to go there.
Viana is one of the most beautiful cities in the north of Portugal. It’s a large city but at the same time, it has that welcoming and pleasant atmosphere of a small town (it’s cosy). It’s worth the visit.
What do you think about Viana? Have you been here before?
Have a good day