Outside Porto – Póvoa do Varzim

Discover great places to visit near Porto! Today: Póvoa do Varzim.


Póvoa do Varzim is a city with a big history as an important fishing port and ship-building center during the Age of discoveries! Since the late 19th century people would come to Póvoa to bathe in its iodine-rich waters, considered to be invigorating and with cure properties. It became a popular vacation destination in the North of Portugal and soon got very cosmopolitan with the construction of hotels, theaters and the train line.


In the 19th and early 20th century, Póvoa was a meeting place for artists, writers and poets. Some famous characters associated with the city are Eça de Queiroz, Almeida Garret, Raul Germano Brandão, Camilo Castelo Branco, Luísa Dacosta and Agustina Bessa-Luís. Throughout the city are a few monuments also connected with literature, like the monuments dedicated to Eça de Queiroz (made in 1952 by Leopoldo de Almeida), to the poet António Nobre (done in 1980 by Tomás Costa) and the statue of Fernando Pessoa (made by Fernando Simões in 2008).

In the city center you can visit other places of historical interest, like the Póvoa Castle (dated from the early 18th century), the Old Square and the Main Church. Nowadays Póvoa is a popular ocean resort with a famous casino and great beaches for swimming and surfing.

Since 2000 the city hosts one of the most important literature events in Portugal, entitled Correntes D’escritas. At this year’s edition more than 80 writers from 11 countries attended to the event! You should also visit the historic Garret Theatre, built in 1890, and the neoclassical building of the City Hall.

And since you’re there, try the local food! Obviously any fish or seafood you find there will be as fresh as possible, so enjoy it. The most typical dish would be the Pescada à Poveira, made with fish, potatoes, eggs and a tomato sauce. Other local dishes are Arroz de Sardinha (rice with sardines), Lula recheada à poveiro (filled squid in a local style) and Feijoada poveira (white beans, sausage and different kinds of meat also prepared in a local style).

We hope you liked our suggestions and go visit Póvoa do Varzim after exploring Porto with us :) Don’t forget to check other suggestions on the section Outside Porto.

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