Viseu everything you need to know


Viseu the city of Viriato, the warrior and father of the Portuguese

What's more, Viseu is a great strategic point for those who want to get to know more of the country. Viseu is right in the heart of Portugal.

Another great reason is the wine! Viseu is in the Dão region, a delight that I only got to know here in Portugal.

Another interesting fact about Viseu is that the first king of Portugal may have been born in this city. That's right, legend has it that Dona Teresa, the mother of Don Afonso Henriques, was in Viseu when she started having labor pains and that's where he was actually born.

All right, Guimarães is undoubtedly famous, and it's where "Portugal was born", but was the king really born in Viseu? Well, whether he was or not, I don't know. What I do know is that Viseu is the city of Viriato, the warrior known as the father of the Lusitanians!

Viriato the great Lusitanian hero

But who is Viriato? Legend has it that he was a great warrior and leader of the Lusitanians. Some even say that Viriato is the father of the Lusitanians or even the Portuguese.

The information we have about him isn't very certain, it's all half legend and half truth, but what we do know is that he lived between 147 and 139 BC and that he was instrumental in the war against the Romans.


Legend has it that Viriato was a shepherd with the strength of a warrior and great skill with his staff.

Cava de Viriato

To this day you can still see the Cava de Viriato, of course it's just ruins, but you can see a bit of how the Lusitanians lived.

It is possible to see a little of the fortress built in the dirt, laid out in a perfect octagon, best seen from above due to its enormous length.

But who were the Lusitanians?

It was the Iberian people who lived in what is now Portugal.

It took many years for the Romans to conquer the Lusitanian peoples, mainly due to the leadership of Viriato, who ended up being defeated through a betrayal in which he was literally stabbed in the back! No one had the courage to fight the great Viriato face to face.

Viseu Cathedral

The Viseu Cathedral, like most of Portugal's great cathedrals, is a veritable tangle of eras and histories! On its façade you can see styles from the 12th to the 17th century. Today, the Mannerist architecture can be seen right in the center of its façade.


The Cathedral of Viseu was built on top of the hill, not only to show its strength and power, but also to be at a strategic point to see the invasion of its enemies.

Art in Viseu Cathedral

Take your time to look at the walls of the Cathedral, there are so many works of art! Start in the cloister, where there are three tiled walls that deserve your attention.

In the first, St. Teotonio, the city's patron saint, is blessing Dom Afonso Henriques.

The second and third show two scenes from Jesus' life: his birth with the three wise men and the flight of the holy family.

Don't forget to look at the ceiling inside the church. You can see the ropes with maritime knots, with typical Manueline art.


Inside the Cathedral you can also see the reliquary of St. Theotonius, where a piece of the real bone from St. Theotonius' arm is in a golden arm.

But who was Saint Theotonius? He was a friend and advisor to Dom Afonso Henriques. He was always by his side in the fight against Castile and in Portugal's own independence.
He stood by Afonso Henriques and against Dona Teresa, who wanted Portugal to belong to Castile. He stood out for being one of the people who greatly helped the cause of Portuguese independence. He was also a friend of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, one of the founders and creators of the Knights Templar order, and so this friendly relationship also led to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux becoming a friend of Dom Afonso Henriques.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux ended up interceding with the Pope for the process of independence and understanding of Portugal as a country. At the time, it was only the Church that recognized a country and a person as an independent king.

Misericórdia Church

Right in front of the Viseu Cathedral, we can see the Misericórdia Church, dating from the 17th century, whose role at the time was to care for the less fortunate.

Its architecture is completely baroque, it's wonderful and reminds us a little of Brazil, where this architecture is so common!

Another nice thing is that the Church of Misericórdia and the Cathedral are separated only by a square, making it possible to visit both, so close together.

Don't miss the view from the side of the church, which is beautiful and from where you can see the city from above.

Grão Vasco Museum

The Grão Vasco Museum is named after Vasco Fernandes.

Vasco Fernandes was a 16th century painter born in Viseu and well known for his Renaissance works. He is still one of the most important painters in Portugal.


As well as many of his works, the museum also includes works by other contemporary painters and archaeological pieces.

Get lost in the streets of Viseu

Viseu is beautiful to live in and the historic center has an extra appeal with its cobbled streets and houses.

Pay close attention to the details. Start your walk along Rua Direita, the main shopping street. Well, there's nothing right about this street, it's full of ups, downs and curves.
Portugal's custom is to call the least straight street there is a right street, which is actually a very crooked street.

Viseu everything you should know 7 - Cris Pelo Mundo

Another curiosity is on the ground, pay close attention and you'll see lots of drawings, but what could they be? I couldn't contain my curiosity and ended up asking the locals. They're simply drawings of the perpendicular streets, for example: if there's a carqueja it's because there's a carqueja street.

VISEU 210 2 - Cris Pelo Mundo

Feira de São Mateus - Viseu's popular festival

Just in front of the statue of Viriato we can find the Viriato field, where the São Mateus Fair takes place.

It's the most important fair in the city and just think, there's more! In 2020 the fair turns 628!!! But don't go thinking it's a religious festival, despite its name, the festival brings together shows, lots of food and even an amusement park!!! It takes place every year between August and September.

Viseu surprised us

Viseu enchanted me and proved to be a surprising city with its stories of warriors and kings.
Unfortunately, I didn't get to try the town's famous sweet, the Viriato sweet, but that's an excuse to come back.

VISEU - Cris Around the World

With every city I visit here, I'm sure that the country is enchanting and straight out of a fairy tale.

The photos in this text were taken by the photographer Márcia Rocha
We made this trip with the support of Your Tours Portugal
Be sure to follow us on Instagram and enjoy all our trips in real time! In the meantime, don't forget our YouTube  there are lots of cool tips and trips. And of course by here we will always bring you news

Read also:

Braga the Portuguese Roman city

Fundão - A delightful walk through the center of Portugal

Douro Verde a fertile land of literature

Beyond Serra da Estrela

Porto Complete city guide

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