Viana do Castelo
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Viana do Castelo is one of the most beautiful Portuguese cities, in the Minho-Lima subregion of Northern Portugal. The Pilgrimage of Nossa Senhora da Agonia and the amazing views of the Lima River maked this city unforgettable. Classified as the Mecca of Architecture by Wallpaper (), the city is famous for the monuments in and around the city, and the surrounding natural beauty.
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Points of Interest in Viana do Castelo
- Basilica of Santa Luzia, on Mt. St. Luzia - Constructed in 1903, it was inspired by the Sacré Coeur de Montmartre in Paris. From the basilica's location on top of Mount St. Luzia, there are spectacular views of the city and the beach. The best view of the city can be seen from the pinnacle of the church, accessible from the church through an elevator or through the stairs. You can reach the basilica either by car via the Santa Luzia highway, or by taking the Santa Luzia Elevator.
- Gil Eanes Naval Museum, on the Dock - A floating naval hospital constructed in 1952 and which operated until 1973. It is now open to the public as a kind of museum, housing the original equipment. The ship has operation rooms, communication equipments, refrigerating chambers and a reinforced hull. It was restored by a group of locals. It was then adapted to become a youth hostel and is one of the city's biggest attractions.
- Former City Hall, at the Praça da República (Republic Square) - Built in the 16th century, it is located in the Praça da República. In the facade you can see the coat of arms of the city: a boat and an an armillary sphere.
- Sá Family House, at the Praça da República (Republic Square) - An ancient building, also in the Praça da República, with a beautiful facade. It was projected by João Lopes, the same architect that projected the fountain in the middle of the square. Each battlement of the facade has a human renaissance figure.
- Fountain at Praça da República, at the Praça da República (Republic Square) - This granite fountain, richly adorned with carved figures, was built by João Lopes in the 16th century.
- Monument to Caramuru and Paraguaçu at the Praça da República (Republic Square), was built by Jose Rodrigues in 2009.
- Consistory of Misericórdia, at the Praça da República (Republic Square) - Situated at the Praça da República, the complex is constituted by the Misericórdia Hospital, with one of the most beautiful renaissance facades in the city, built by João Lopes, and by the Misericórdia Church, remodeled in the 18th century, with beautiful tiles inside.
- Cathedral, on the Largo da Matriz - The cathedral is Gothic in style, with Galician influence, and has two large towers. It has a very beautiful interior.
- Fort of Santiago da Barra, on Campo do Castelo. Consisting of an quadrangular outer wall with the Roqueta tower in the center, this fort was constructed during the reign of Dom Manuel I. The tower displays the coat of arms of the city, flanked by an armillary sphere and by the Order of Christ Cross.
- Church of St. Domingos, Largo de São Domingos. - The church of the old Santa Cruz convents, founded by Frei Bartolomeu dos Mártires.
- Viana Municipal Museum, Largo de São Domingos.
About Viana do Castelo
The city is the capital of a municipality with 314,36 km² and has some 36.750 inhabitants. The municipality borders the municipality of Caminha in the north, the municipality of Ponte de Lima in the east, the municipalities of Barcelos ans Esposende in the south and the Atlantic Ocean in the west. The city's origins date back to before the Christian era, as it can be seen in the hill fort near the Basilica of Santa Luzia. It received its first foral from King Afonso III of Portugal in 1258, as well as the name Viana da Foz do Lima, because of its geografical location; in 1848 it became a city by a decree of Maria II of Portugal, and received the name of Viana do Castelo.
- Beach - most beaches along the coast line have Blue Flag classification and start not more than a 10 minute drive from the city center, so make sure you take your time to enjoy one of the best things the region has to offer.
- Hiking - the foothills of Viana Do Castelo have some hiking paths. You can get maps from the tourist information office.
- Museums - Viana do Castelo is the capital of gold of Portugal. You may visit a privately owned gold museum with some characteristic exhibits of the Minho area. The most characteristic technique of working the gold in Viana do Castelo is filigree and you have excellent examples in exhibition there.
Local specialties include bacalhau à margarida da praça (a cod dish), pescada Vianense (local fish), and caldo verde (green soup).
- Pastry - Bolas de Berlin from the pastry shop Ze Natario are one of the welcome cards of the town. They are a made out of a bun of sweet dough that is baked in the oven then covered on sugar frosting powder and cinnamon, with a filling on sweet egg cream in the middle. Expect queues of 15 to 30 mins (that can even grow outside the shop) at the time the batches are coming from the oven. There are some other traditional sweets from the region easily available, but make sure you don't miss Natario's bolas de berlin.
- Taberna do Valentim, ☎ +351-258 827 505. Rua Monsenhor Daniel Machado 180. Specializing in local fish.
- A Messe, ☎ (+351) 258 825 668. Rua de Viana 112.
- As Quatro Colunas, ☎ (+351) 258 845 425. Rua João Paulo II - Meadela.
- Astúrias, ☎ (+351) 258 823 814. Largo 5 de Outubro.
- Átrio, Rua da Gramática, 77, ☎ (+351) 258 823 944.
- Covas, ☎ (+351) 258 828 376. Rua Prior do Crato.
- Casa D'Armas, ☎ +351-258 824 999. Largo 5 de Outubro, 30. Splendid seafood restaurant on the banks of the river.
- Cozinha das Malheiras, ☎ +351-258 823 680. Rua Gago Coutinho 19. Regional cuisine in historic downtown, famous for its rojões, as well as for its cabrito (goat) and its seafood.
- Casa de Pasto Maria de Perre, Rua de Viana, 118, ☎ +351-258 822 410.
- Restaurante Camelo, ☎ +351-258 839 090. Rua de Santa Marta 119, Estrada Nacional 202 - Santa Marta de Portuzelo (on the outskirts of town). One of the best places to try local cuisine.
- Restaurante Náutico, ☎ +351-258 822 330. Praça da Galiza.
- Restaurante O Pescador (Largo de São Domingos, 35, +351258 826 039 - +351 914 462 301, http://www.opescadorviana.com)
- Restaurante da Casa Melo Alvim, ☎ +351-258 808 200. Avenida Conde da Carreira 28.
- Restaurante Ásia, ☎ 258 838 372. Avenida da Praia Norte. Beachside Asian restaurant featuring a mix of Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Thai dishes.
- Viana crockery. The most traditional craft of the city is sold in many local shops, as well as in the factory in Meadela. The Viana Municipal Museum, in the Palacete Barbosa Maciel, hosts a vast collection of it as well.
- Filagree pendants
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Viana do Castelo on Wikivoyage.