You’re in the right place!
Atwill will give you tips on where to go and what to see after you finish your visit to Porto! This week our suggestion is Viana do Castelo!
Located 70 km north from Porto, Viana do Castelo is a beautiful coastal city and it’s a great place to stop on your way to Galícia, Spain. With its ancient monuments and charming streets, it is worth to a take a day off to visit it! And have you heard about the legend of this city’s name? Let me explain it to you…
The local legend says that one beautiful girl used to live in a castle that was located where the city is now. The castle was big and famous, admired by everyone that passed by! People used to stop and contemplate it and, once in awhile, someone spotted the girl through the windows. Her beauty caught the attention of a young man that used to live on the other side of the river… And eventually, they fell in love. The young man was so in love and happy that every time that they saw each other he went back home shouting “I saw Ana! Saw Ana of the castle!” and that, in Portuguese (“Vi a Ana! Vi a Ana do Castelo!”)! And this could be the origin of the name of the city! ;)
Well, we know that you cannot really trust in legends… But you can trust our list of great places to see to during your visit to Viana do Castelo:
Don’t miss a visit to the city’s Sé, a big Romanic church with Gothic influences built in 1439. Another beautiful church is the Misericórdia Church, dated from the 16th century with Renascent influences and with a fully decorated Baroque interior, with tiles and gold wood-carving.
The Costume Museum is located in the very heart of the city and, since 2004, shows the rich culture of the local typical costumes. In a visit, you can also see the tools to make the costumes! The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions, check their website for more info.
And if you like contemporary architecture, you should pay a visit to the city’s public library, designed by Siza Vieira and inaugurated in 2008. This beautiful building in white concrete is a great example of the work of the first Portuguese architect to ever receive a Pritzker Prize!
Last but certainly not least, you should definitely visit the Santa Luzia Sanctuary! Located on the top of the Santa Luzia mountain, it has the most beautiful views of the city and the ocean. The church was only completed built in 1943, but its grandiosity and style make it a great place to visit. To get there you can take the cable car that connects the city with the top of the mountain – it will take 7 minutes and only costs 2€. Or you can walk up and climb 659 steps!
From Porto to Viana do Castelo you can take the train from São Bento or Campanhã station. The ride takes a little more than 1 hour and costs 8€ each way!