Complete guide to visiting Viana do Castelo

Viana do Castelo is known as the City of Passions.


Viana do Castelo is the Atlantic city positioned further north of Portugal. The city is embraced by the sea, the river and the mountain and is one of the most distinctive places in the Portuguese territory. According to the Municipality of Viana, “visitors can enjoy a remarkable quality of life [in the city], either through the tranquillity and security of their urban life, the richness of its natural, monumental and historical heritage, or, still, by the existence of excellent  cultural, sporting and social equipment”.

The City of Passions is heavily visited at the time of the Pilgrimage in Honour of Our Lady of Agony, which takes place in August, since 1783. During the pilgrimage, the streets are coloured by flowery carpets and hundreds of women parade through the city in their costumes in a procession. In addition to the Parade of Stewardship, there is also the Historical and Ethnographic Parade and the Costume celebration.

If you want to know Viana do Castelo, choose the time of the Pilgrimage. However, if you don't like confusion and a lot of people in the same space, it might not be the best period. In addition to the Pilgrimage, go through the Costume Museum, the National Museum of Viana do Castelo, the Chocolate Museum and taste the Viana pie or the Sidónios.

What to visit?

Sanctuary of the Sacred Heart

The Sanctuary of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, known as the Sanctuary of Monte de Santa Luzia, is located on the top of the hill of Santa Luzia. Visitors can access the sanctuary from the Santa Luzia elevator.

Sanctuary of the Sacred Heart, Portugal

Gil Eannes Ship

The Gil Eannes ship was used to support the Portuguese cod fleet. After the fleet was decommissioned, the ship began to degrade, until it was restored and opened to the public as a museum. The Gil Eannes Ship allows visitors to come in contact with the traces and spaces of vessels.

Source - Facebook - Gil Eannes ship

Costume Museum

The Costume Museum of Viana do Castelo presents the assets that characterised, and still do,  the life and culture of the high Minho. The museum presents the costumes and the different professions that passed through Viana do Castelo.

Source - City Council (Viana do Castelo) - Costume Museum

Republic Square

The Republic Square  is in the heart of Viana do Castelo's historic centre. In the square, you can find the famous Viana fountain. Close to the place you can find the Costume Museum and the Municipal Hall.

Municipal Museum of Viana do Castelo

The Municipal Museum of Viana do Castelo, also known as the Museum of Decorative Arts, presents several cultural assets that portray part of the history and traditions of Portugal. According to the Municipality, it intends to contribute “to the constitution and transmission of the memory of a people and their identity”.

Source - City Council (Viana do Castelo) - Municipal Museum of Viana do Castelo

Hillfort of Santa Luzia

The Hillfort of Santa Luzia, located on Monte de Santa Luzia, is surrounded by three lines of walls and consists of ruins from at least the 17th century. The Hillfort, known as the “Old City of Santa Luzia”, is an example of the fortified villages present in the Peninsular Northwest.

Source - City Council (Viana do Castelo) - Hillfort of Santa Luzia

Chocolate Museum

The Chocolate Museum is housed in a building where chocolate was once made. Through sensory activities, visitors can get to know  the history of cocoa and chocolate better. On the other hand, they can walk through the fascinating production circuit of chocolate and transformation of cocoa into a chocolate bar.

Source - Facebook - Chocolate Museum

Where to sleep?

Flag Design Hotel

Flag Design Hotel features an outdoor swimming pool, a bar and a shared lounge. The family units have a terrace. All Rooms feature a desk, TV and private bathroom. Near the hotel, guests can visit Cabedelo Beach, Praia do Norte, Viana do Castelo Shipyards, Viana Welcome Center Tourism Office and Estação Viana Shopping Centre.

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Hotel do Parque

The hotel is located 700 metres from the city centre. While having breakfast, guests can enjoy the Lima River. The hotel offers a children's and adult swimming pool, a fitness centre and a reading room. Near the hotel, guests will find several restaurants and, by car, they can access Cabedelo Beach.

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Hotel Rali Viana

Hotel Rali Viana features a restaurant, bar, sauna, hot tub, Turkish bath and indoor pool. Rooms here will provide you with a desk, a TV and a bathroom. The restaurant specialises in Italian dishes.

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Axis Viana Business & SPA Hotel

The hotel has a spa, fitness room, Turkish bath, sauna and two swimming pools. Guests can make use of breakfast, lunch and dinner, which are served in the restaurant. The space also features a variety of cocktails. Most of the rooms overlook the city.

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Pousada de Viana do Castelo

Rooms at Pousada de Viana do Castelo overlook the mountains, the ocean or the city. The Pousada features an outdoor pool, terraces and tennis court. At the restaurant, guests can try gourmet and international dishes.

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Hotel Flor De Sal

The hotel faces the sea and is a five-minute drive from the city centre. Hotel Flor De Sal features an indoor pool, hot tub, steam bath, gym and restaurant. The rooms have sea and mountain views, and include a private bathroom and a TV.

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Hotel Fábrica do Chocolate

Hotel Fábrica do Chocolate offers access to the chocolate museum. The hotel's rooms are decorated with chocolate themes and have private bathrooms. If guests wish, they can access the chocotherapy.

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Hotel FeelViana

Guests can use the seasonal outdoor pool and sun terrace and try the water sports facilities and spa centre. The bar is also a nice spot for guests. Some units have a seating area and others have sea or garden views.

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Hotel Laranjeira

Hotel Laranjeira is located in the centre of Viana do Castelo. Guests can access minimalist rooms with modern amenities. Some units have a balcony. Guests have access to breakfasts filled with continental dishes.

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Absoluto Design Hotel

The hotel is notable for the decoration of the space. Rooms at the hotel have a quirky design. Guests can try the drinks and breakfast at Absoluto Design Hotel. Three minutes from the hotel are the Costume Museum, the Republic Square and the Library.

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Pensão O Laranjeira

Pensão O Laranjeira consists of rooms with mountain views. Each unit has a private bathroom. Breakfast is one of the factors most highlighted by the guests of the boarding house. The Pension is situated near the Costume Museum.

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Casa Guerreiro - Regina Hotel Group

Casa Guerreiro has different apartments. Each unit comes with a kitchenette, a seating area, a washing machine, a TV and a private bathroom. The apartments have a stovetop, kettle and fridge. The apartments can accommodate from one up to eight guests.

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Source - Booking - Casa Guerreiro - Regina Hotel Group

Where to eat?

In Viana do Castelo, you should try the yolk Sweets, the Viana Pie, the Meias Luas, the Viana Biscuits, the Cidónios, the Manjericos or the Bolas de Berlim. These sweets can be found at Petinga Doce, Pastelaria Confeitaria Manuel Natário, Ameadella or A Brasileira.

Rojões à Moda do Minho, Roasted Goat, Sarrabulho Rice, Cozido à Portuguesa, Octopus Rice and Lamprey Rice are some of the dishes that characterise the menus of Viana do Castelo restaurants. If you enjoy one of these delicacies, you will be able to get closer to traditional Portuguese gastronomy. To accompany the food, you should fill the glass with a good vinho verde.

Louro - Restaurante

The restaurant is present in the Michelin Guide. At the restaurant you can try Cod Rice, Sea Pasta or Sea Bass Stuffed with Shrimp, Magret and Blackberries, Fisherman's Cheek and Loin. If you want a vegetarian dish, the restaurant offers the dish of Roasted Eggplant and Sea and Mountain Rice in soy dashi with kombu seaweed. In the restaurant, you can enjoy the flavours of pilgrimage, vianeta, lemon cream or confit peach.

Source - Tripadvisor - Louro - Restaurant

O Tasco Regional

Known as “rare”, the restaurant favours traditional dishes. Francesinha, Octopus à Lagareiro, Bean stew, Cabidela rice and Pernil no Forno (baked gammon) are the most appreciated foods in the restaurant. The starters, such as the Garlic Prawns, the Mussels or the Breaded Shrimp, and the wine are other elements that distinguish the restaurant. 

Source - Facebook - O Tasco Regional

Irish&Co. Viana do Castelo

The restaurant gives priority to francesinha, hamburgers, cold cuts and steak. Customers compare the space to an Irish pub and highlight the beer.

Source - Tripadvisor - Irish&Co. Viana do Castelo

Restaurante Ó Viana Praça

If you like traditional dishes such as Cozido à Portuguesa, Monkfish Rice, rump steak, Octopus, Shank and Piglet, then you have to visit the Ó Viana Praça Restaurant. Customers who passed through the space considered the environment as “welcoming” and described the food as “divine”.

Source - Tripadvisor - Ó Viana Praça Restaurant

Pecado Capital

In Pecado Capital, people can enjoy meat and wine. Overlooking the river, the restaurant is considered a “must stop” when someone visits Viana do Castelo. The Portuguese flavours also characterise the delicacies of Pecado Capital. There, you can find octopus, cod and steak dishes.

Source - Tripadvisor - Pecado Capital

O Botequim - Restaurante

According to the restaurant, “the spirit of Brazil” lives there. Therefore, if you want to try drinks, snacks and traditional Brazilian food, you must visit O Botequim - Restaurant. Be sure to choose a delicacy from the “Extra Dose Of Glucose”.

Source - Facebook - O Botequim - Restaurant

Maria Petisca

Here, snacks and sweets stand out. Francesinha, Bifanas, Pork Churros, Mixed Table, Ovos Rotos - and many other dishes - can be enjoyed along with beer and sangria. The Dessert Board is one of the best options if you want to enjoy different desserts.

Source - Facebook - Maria Petisca

Cerqueira's Lounge & Restaurant

At Cerqueira's Lounge & Restaurant you can find assorted pasta, hamburgers, francesinhas and assorted sausage trays. Desserts, such as pie and chocolate cake, are also identified as good options by restaurant customers.

Source - Facebook - Cerqueira's Lounge & Restaurant

IN francesinhas

At IN francesinhas, you will have to enjoy, of course, the francesinha. However, Prego no Prato, hotdog and Salads are other dishes that you can also try. To sweeten the meal, have the cheesecake, mousse or waffles.

Source - Facebook - IN francesinhas

Tasquinha Da Praça

At Tasquinha Da Praça, the chef advises Monkfish Rice, breaded Cod and5 Peppers steak. Tasquinha also makes francesinhas, lasagna, alheira, squid, among other dishes. For dessert, you can try the baked apple, the cheesecake, the tiramisú or the biscuit delight.

Source - Facebook - Tasquinha Da Praça
Complete guide to visiting Viana do Castelo
Complete guide to visiting Viana do Castelo