Viana do Castelo

Viana do Castelo

guide to visit

Viana do Castelo

Viana of the Castle was founded in 1258 by king D. Afonso the 3rd, however this area counts with the presence of other ancient tribes, as it is visible in ruins of a Hill Fort probably dating from the Iron Age, located on the top of the beautiful Santa Luzia Hill.

The city is situated close to the mouth of the river Lima, and has on the river and on the ocean the majority of its characteristics and influences. Viana do Castelo is place blessed by nature, with vivid green tones from the luxuriant vegetation and by the deep blue of both the ocean and the river, granting unique and unforgettable landscapes.

During the Middle Age, Viana became an important maritime Port, and through the Portuguese Discoveries period (in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries), Viana had the third most busiest port in the country.

Viana is a land of strong traditions and rich history, quite visible in its well preserved ancient streets and squares, with a strong religious feeling, filled with churches, monasteries and a great inheritance of Manor houses and small palaces that attest the importance of the town.

There are several highlights in Viana do Castelo, like the medieval Cathedral, the gracious Praça da Raínha (Raínha Square), with lovely monuments like the town hall (Paços do Concelho) and the renaissance fountain in the middle of the square, the charming Sá de Miranda Theatre or the distinctive metallic Bridge, designed by Gustave Eiffel, from where a great panorama over the city can be held.

On the top of the city is situated the astonishing Santa Luzia Hill, one of the most beautiful sites in this northern area, offering magnificent views over a major part of the Lima valley and the neighbouring coastline to the north and south of the river's estuary.

In Viana do Castelo city centre a new Marina was built and all the riverside area was restored and preserved and is now a great place for leisure, embracing all the importance of the area for the town.

Viana is also quite famous for its traditions, notably the folklore, with its typical clothing, music, dance and renowned handicraft. In fact, Viana is famous for its Gold pieces, based mostly on women accessories, and part of the ethnography of the region throughout the centuries.

One of the most famous festivities in Viana do Castelo is the Senhora da Agonia (Our Lady of Sorrow) Festival, with one of the most beautiful and typical processions in the country: a genuine living museum of ethnography during three days.
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