Viana do Castelo - Get out of the traditional and fall in love


One of the most beautiful cities on the Portuguese coast

You know those places you visit and want to keep forever? Viana do Castelo was like that and ended up becoming one of the most beautiful destinations I've traveled to in Portugal. Its beautiful coastline takes your breath away and its landscapes leave their mark on your soul.

Legend of Viana do Castelo

Our tour started with a curiosity worthy of a fairytale destination: Viana do Castelo wasn't always called that, it used to be known as Viana da Foz do Lima or Viana do Minho. However, legend has it that there was a castle in Viana with a beautiful girl called Ana. She was very shy and hardly ever appeared at the window, but her beauty was so great that a few times it was enough to make a lover count the hours until Ana appeared at the castle windows. When this happened, the boy would shout happily and passionately: I saw Ana, I saw Ana, I saw Ana, from the Castle! And so the place was given a new official name: Viana do Castelo.

Whether this legend is true or not, we'll never know, but it undoubtedly reminds us of the enchanted essence of Viana do Castelo and is a beautiful story to remember the city by.

Shrine of St. Maria

Now let's leave the stories aside and get to the charms of Viana, starting with the most privileged view that will make you never want to leave.

Monte de Santa Luzia, as well as having a view to lose and showing off what Viana has to offer, is also home to the Sanctuary of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, popularly known as the Sanctuary of Santa Maria.


The Sanctuary is seen from afar, almost as if it were welcoming those who enter Viana do Castelo and showing that it is there to bless the city.

Feel blessed

The energy of the Shrine is unparalleled, its majestic basilica is reminiscent of the architecture of the Sacre Couer in Paris. Some even say that Ventura Terra, who built it, was in fact inspired by the Parisian basilica, but on the other hand some debate the veracity of this fact, since both were built in very close periods and he wouldn't have had time to see the Sacre Couer finished, so he wouldn't have been inspired by something unfinished. Who knows?

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What I do know is that the Basilica is simply BEAUTIFUL and its stained glass windows are worth a visit, and if you're not satisfied with this view, you can still climb the Basilica's zimborium for an even more impressive view.

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Eiffel Bridge

While some have noted the resemblance between the Sanctuary of St. Mary and the Sacre Couer Basilica, there is no denying that the Eiffel Bridge is indeed connected.
The beauty of the Eiffel Bridge, with all its architecture, is not just something inspired by the French capital, Paris. Gustave Eiffel himself designed it over the River Lima in the 19th century.

Walking around Praça da República

Strolling through the architecture of Viana do Castelo is a must.
These are 16th-century buildings, such as the fountain itself, built in 1559, or the Santa Casa da Misericórdia (Holy House of Mercy) from 1589, with a rich example of architecture inspired by the Renaissance and Mannerism, with Flemish and Italian influences.

The buildings are eye-catching

The buildings in Praça da República stand out for their stone walls and strong architecture. In the old days, monuments were built to last and we can only be thankful that we can still see this beautiful architecture today and at least try to imagine what happened there, where the city's town hall used to be.
But if you really want to see some older architecture, take a stroll to the Sé, which still has its 15th-century square towers

Gil Eannes Hospital Ship

It's impossible to go to Viana do Castelo without seeing the huge Gil Eannes Hospital Ship.
It is possible to visit and get to know its internal rooms, with their laboratories, operating rooms and which at the time were used to help with cod fishing.

It's incredible to walk around the ship and imagine everything that must have happened there. have many operations taken place in the midst of incredible storms in the middle of the sea?
The ship's history is long and goes far beyond a hospital ship, visit the ship and be enchanted by its history. history.
Continue your tour of the port area, its modern architecture is sure to catch your eye.

Costume Museum

The museum is a real gem, I'm crazy about the folklore and culture of each place so a visit to the museum is a real treat.
I loved being able to see each costume in detail! It's pure Vianese tradition and history, and of course, in addition to Viana, there are costumes from all over Minho.
The building that houses the Costume Museum is also noteworthy, with its bright yellow color standing out from the other houses.

North Beach

The tranquillity of Viana do Castelo enchants and surprises abound. If you go to Praia do Norte, you won't regret it! Not only is it a great option for those going to Viana do Castelo with children, but it also has jaw-dropping scenery!
Praia do Norte is where you'll find a nice playground with a replica of the Gil Eannes ship, where the kids can play to their heart's content, as well as the beautiful swimming pools in the middle of the sea!


This is a real gem of Viana do Castelo that few people know about, as the pools only appear at low tide.
The wind in this area is strong, so be prepared, but I'm sure that even so, the sunset from here is unforgettable! The sun disappears into the sea, reflecting its rays and turning everything golden, it's simply spectacular.

North Beach Lighthouse

But if you're looking for breathtaking views, the surprises aren't over: head to the Praia do Norte lighthouse. Its walkway in the middle of the sea seems to take you to paradise, making the sunset another spectacle.


Get lost in Viana do Castelo

Viana do Castelo is a delight to get lost in and wander around aimlessly, its little shops, pastry shops and cafés seem to be calling you at all times!
Sit back and enjoy the calm that the city brings you, but don't forget to at least see one of Viana's beautiful traditional handkerchiefs.

Get a taste of Viana do Castelo

Tastes and flavors are a highlight on the main street or in front of the pier, but watch the time! Lunches stop around 3pm and you'll only be able to eat in a pastry shop if you get lost.

Thank you, Viana do Castelo, for your beautiful landscapes

Ahh Ana, how nice of you to leave the Castle window and show us all the best that Viana do Castelo has to offer! I'm already looking forward to coming back and seeing even more of its beauties, such as the Castle of Santiago da Barra, or the Citânia de Santa Luzia, or even the Mentador mills.
There are so many beautiful places that I need to go back and spend some time exploring them.


See also:

Almourol Castle

Roman Route in Braga

Beyond Serra da Estrela

Douro Verde

Where to stay in Lisbon

Where to stay in Geres

Camping in Geres

Medieval Journey

What to do in Braga

Óbidos Chocolate Festival

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