Holidays to Portugal

  • Portugal
  • Where is Portugal
  • Best beaches in Portugal
  • Albufeira holidays
  • Alvor village holidays
  • Altura beaches and resorts
  • Algarve golf courses
  • Algarve villas
  • Aveiro beaches and lagoon
  • Where is Algarve
  • Visit Beja - Alentejo
  • Cascais holidays- Lisbon
  • Costa Azul and Estoril - Lisbon
  • Coimbra for students
  • Evora town - trip
  • Faro beaches, Algarve
  • Guimaraes mediaeval town
  • Lagos travel, Algarve holidays
  • Luxury holidays in Portugal
  • Lisbon - what to see
  • Car hire in Lisbon
  • Albufeira Montechoro resort
  • Oporto - Porto city
  • Odemira and south west Algarve
  • Ofir Portugal north
  • Falesia beach, Algarve vacation
  • Portimao holidays
  • Povoa de Varzim - Portugal north
  • Praia do Guincho Lisbon
  • Vale do Lobo beach and golf
  • Northern Portugal holidays
  • Sagres Algarve
  • Sagres fortress
  • Serra da Estrela mountain
  • Sunset on Cape St Vicent
  • Sintra historical town
  • Sintra cultural town
  • Sintra pictures
  • Tomar, templars, castle
  • Tavira - south of Portugal
  • Viana do Castelo-North Portugal
  • Car hire in Faro
  • Trip to Zezere river

    More information on Paradors in Spain: 
    More information on Pousadas in Portugal:
    Author's webpage: 
    About the Author: This article was written by Susan Bartle who is a seasoned traveller and freelance travel writer. Originally from Canada she now resides in the UK. Recent research has resulted in expert knowledge of Paradors and Pousadas.

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    Viana do Castelo, Western Portugal

    Pic by HikeNow, text by Susan Bartle Elegant seaside resort of Viana do Castelo

    On the west coast of Portugal, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the mouth of the Lima River, lies the elegant seaside resort of Viana do Castelo. During the Age of Discovery in the 15th century, many epic voyages departed from its port, and the wealth that followed is reflected in the magnificent buildings you see today.

    Viana do Castelo streets and view to Basilica of Santa Luzia, on Mt. St. Luzia - PortugalThe old quarter is still predominately a pedestrian zone. By wandering through the main square, Praça da República, or down the Rua Cândido dos Reis or Rua de São Pedro, you will see the opulent mansions of days gone by.

    For a festival flavour, August is a good time to visit Viana do Castelo. As this is when they hold their annual Festival of Our Lady of Sorrows, with spectacular parades in regional dress, and folk dance with fireworks at night.

    Basilica of Santa Luzia, Viana do Castelo

    Set high in the hills overlooking the town is the basilica of Santa Luzia. Although the basilica only goes back a hundred years, the chapel within it dates back to the middle ages. Because there have been so many weddings and baptisms held in the chapel there is now a permanent flower display, which is well worth seeing. A winding staircase goes up to an observation platform where you can see incredible panoramic views. Thankfully for the less energetic or mobile, there is also an elevator

    Located just behind the basilica is the Pousada Viana do Castelo (Hotel Monte de Santa Luzia), where you will find elegant, spacious accommodation that will make your visit a truly memorable one. There is no better recommendation than from National Geographic magazine, which describes the views from this hotel as one of the finest in the world. .

    The Parador was originally commissioned in 1903 by one of the town's residents, who had made his fortune in Brazil. Later becoming one of the Pousada Group, it has recently been upgraded and is now one of the most charming Pousadas in Portugal. In the bar area is a large tapestry, which depicts the invasion of the Romans over two thousand years ago crossing the River Lima.

    Basilica of Santa Luzia, on Mt. St. Luzia - Constructed in 1903 Portugal Apparently, the Romans mistook it for the River Lethe, which they believed if crossed you would lose your memory. The soldiers therefore hesitated. In the end their leader had to cross the river himself and call each one of them over by name to disprove the myth .

    At the back of the Pousada, running along the top of the mountain, is a wonderful drive that will take you through woodland, and pastures where wild horses graze. Also found on the hills are traces of an old village of Celtic round houses dating back to 2000 BC. When the Romans conquered Portugal, they forced the Celtic villagers down into the valley to become farmers, and produce food for the legions. The last residents of the village left in approximately 500 AD

    The sandy beaches of Cabedelo are only a short ferry ride away, and if you wish to do something more active, there are also bicycle tours, water sports and canoeing nearby, as well as golf at the superb Ponte de Lima golf course.

    You are also not very far from the world heritage site of Guimaraes, Braga, and the walled town of Valenca, all of which would make a marvellous day trips. For those who love nature parks, there is also Portugal's only National Park, the Peneda Geres.

    There is no doubt you will easily fill a whole week if you came to visit Viana do Castelo. However, as the nearest airport is only 30 minutes away in Porto, it is also a convenient destination for a short break.