Viana do Castelo
Viana do Castelo is one of the most popular cities in the northern region of Portugal. Bathed by the Lima River and the Atlantic Ocean, its historic landmarks reveal amazing architecture. On the coast you will find excellent beaches for relaxing, like Afife, Carreço, Cabedelo e Amorosa. Its monuments and historical center make it an important place for Portuguese heritage. It also has innumerous cultural events and happening night life.
Sanctuary of Santa Luzia – situated on the top of the hill with its name, a few kilometers from the city centre, you can access this monument by car, funicular elevator or if you are up for a challenge, you can climb the steep path used originally. Its architecture is Roman byzanthine style and standing out a monumental staircase that leads you to the entrance of the temple. You can spot this sanctuary for miles around it, its imposing size and enormous cupola are of unequal grandeur. From the sanctuary grounds you have an unparallel breathtaking view of the Lima Vale and river, the ocean and the entire region.
Igreja da Misericórdia – opened in 1721, the interior of this church is lined with ceramic tiles that represent the 14 acts of Mercy. These sets of tiles were listed as a National Monument in 1910.
Citania of Santa Luzia – Ruins of an ancient and large fortified castro from the Iron Age is located on the Santa Luzia Hill, not far from the sanctuary. It is made up of circular, elliptical, and rectangular shaped houses, protected by a walled area; in some areas you can still see the outline of fireplaces and wood burning ovens. It was listed a National Monument in 1926.
Santiago’s Castle – also known as the Fort of Santiago da Barra, its located on the margin of the Lima River, and was the main defense of the city. This medieval Castle was built by order of King Afonso III of Portugal, mid 13th century. The fort was later built in the 16th century, as an extra defense for the city’s inhabitants. It is in excellent condition and continues to protect and serve as a lighthouse.
Ponte de Lima – situated on the southern bank of the Lima River, it is one of the oldest towns in Portugal (1125). It was historically significant as a Roman settlement, having being named after the nearby Roman Bridge that crosses the river. It has a long history with the passage of pilgrims on their way to Santiago of Compostela. It is wrapped in an attractive rural area where you can find the largest concentration of baroque manors in Portugal – some provide accommodations. It is also know for its red “vinho verde”.
Arcos de Valdevez
Small northern town situated on the River Vez, with gorgeous scenery well woth a visit. You can visit the Azére Castro (8th century BC), the dolmens in Serra do Soajo and Quinta Amboim Manor (18th century manor house). There are also many churches and monasteries in this municipality.
Gerês – Peneda National Park
In May of 1971, the 1st National Park was officially opened with 72000 hectares. Settled in the Gerês mountain range, located in the northwest of Portugal, this park includes interesting historical sites such as the castros of Laboreira and Calcedónia, the monastery at Pitões das Júnias, and smaller religious stops such as the shrine of Senhora da Peneda and S. Bento da Porta Aberta. The most visit parks attraction are the waterfalls – Portela do Hemen and Vilarinho das Furnas. The highest spot on this mountain is at 1508m. The climate is humid and it’s the rainiest area of Portugal.