Surfing in Portugal is a unique experience. No other coast can offer you such a high number of surf spots within a shortest distance. That´s why we usually say that waves in Portugal are always guaranteed. With its mild climate, 3.000 hours of sunshine per year and 850 Kms. of splendid beaches bathed by the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal is the perfect surf holiday destination all year round. The fact that you don’t have to travel far to find a quiet corner to enjoy the best surf and the harmony between man and nature.
Viana do Castelo is an Atlantic City in the Northern of Portugal (30m from Porto and 40 min from Spain). With excellent airport connections (+150 destinations) is very easy and comfortable to reach the city.
Viana coastline is one of the most consistent in Europe in terms of waves. However it is possible in midsummer surf good waves uncrowded for every kind of surfer. Viana do Castelo is World Surf Cities Network member and manage a Surfing High Performance Centre.
The origins of Viana do Castelo date back to the Iron Age, as evidenced by the ancient pre-Roman city erected at that time on Mount Santa Luzia. But its history, always linked to the sea, describes a set of events that made Viana one of the main commercial ports of the country. In 1258, D. Afonso III gave it its first Charter, naming it Viana da Foz do Lima, anticipating its maritime vocation. Later, on the 20th of January 1848 and by decree of D. Maria II, Viana is elevated to the rank of city and adopted the name that it is known by nowadays: Viana do Castelo.
Full of history the city has countless points of cultural and touristic interests, which are essentially related to: the sea, the river and the mountain; 3 ecosystems closely linked to the city and its history.
Music is part of Viana’s community life, assuming a particular sym- bolism for its visitors. The diversity of the ethnographic groups is also accompanied by music schools that ourish inside the Parish council, producing quali ed musicians who will eventually integrate folkloric and regular bands as well as orchestras responsible for the rich diversity of cultural events.
The Council is rich in traditions, and the traditional pageantry of Viana do Castelo is a true national symbol of Portugal recognized abroad thanks to the colour and originality of its parts. The goldsmiths cra smanship of Viana is also re ecting faithfully its traditions. earrings, chains and other loops “da Rainha”, gold braided and elaborate gold ligree wire are an integral part of the name of the city, intimately linked to the pageantry of Viana and its image.
Viana do Castelo along its 24 kilometres of coastline came to acknowledge the importance of its beaches and value its heritage, nature and landscapes, which have been improved through various interventions.
This special concern is re ected through signi cant investments, ranging from the reclassi cation of the beachestothepreservationofthedunesand therespective ora,aswellastheOrganizationofinformation campaigns to stimulate the conservation, development and defence of the coastline of Viana.
Viana Nautic City
Therefore, Viana do Castelo has been awarded with the blue ag, the highest distinction as far as beaches quality goes; therefore, its coastline claiming to be transformed into a “territory of excellence” through the implementation of the Polis Program of the north coastline “Polis do Litoral norte” - Operations of requalification and valorisation of the coastal margin.
This ambitious plan recognizes the strategic importance of the coastal zone and considers that interventions in the coastline must pursue the objectives of modernity and innovation, such as the enhancement of popular agglomerates, with the bene t of access roads and parking areas reorganization; as well as coastal protection, beyond the cycle lane, and the creation of supports for resorts and water sports practice.
Inserted in an environment of indescribable beauty, the city of Viana do Castelo is intended for tourism, with a set of spaces dedicated to the reception and welcoming of visitors willing to discover the Culture, Art and traditions of the city.
Museum of Decorative Arts
The wealthy museum collection, as well as distributed museum nuclei in various Parish Councils are put forward and dedicated to traditions. The Museum of Decorative Arts is located in another building (a former feudal mansion) from the 18th century and has one of the most importantcollection of ancient Portuguese earthenware of great value, dating from the 17th to the 19th century. This collection includes various pieces of the famous factory of Viana ceramics. Beyond an important collection of paintings, drawings and pieces of Sacred Art, stands a magni cent collection of 18th-century Indo-Portuguese furniture. In this area it is also possible to discover the remains of Portuguese and Hispano-Arabian ceramics unique in their richness and diversity.
Museum of “Traje”
Located in the noble area of the city - The republic square - is the Museum of Traje, part of a renovated state building housing an excellent collection of traditional out ts and goldsmith craing; promoting, enhancing and restoring a Parish heritage of great value. With this same objective, was created a set of nuclei museum, namely the D. Prior watermill, where is located the Centre of Monitoring and environmental Interpretation of Viana do Castelo (the CMIA; which includes the Portuguese mills network), as well as the Bread Museum of Outeiro, locat- ed in the former rst grade school and which shows all the farm implements forming the cycle of wheat and bread confection (also a water mill).
Viana do Castelo o ers also the opportunity to discover a course of galleries and museums, festivals and traditions, cra s, jewellery and, of course, gastronomy.
Gil Eannes Ship
The Gil eannes Ship was built at the Viana do Castelo Shipyards, in 1955, with the mission of supporting the Portuguese cod shing eet in newfoundland and Greenland. Although its main purpose was to provide shermen and members of the crew with medical assistance, this ship was also a agship, a mail ship, a tug and an icebreaker, providing the cod shing eet with food supply, nets, bait and fuel. In 1998, it was brought to Viana do Castelo to become a living memory of the city and country maritime and shipbuilding history in the form of museum.
The London prestigious magazine: “Wallpaper”; a reference of Design and Architecture, describes Viana do Castelo as being a ‘Mecca of Architecture’, clearly referring to the new buildings standing out in the city; the Liberty Square “Praça da Liberdade” by Fernando Távora, the Library of Siza Vieira, the ‘innovative’ Hotel Axis as well as the Cultural Centre of Souto Moura.
«A Maritime Portuguese City being rehabilitated as an Architectural Mecca with a collection of buildings by Fernando Távora, as well as the arrival of an innovative designed Hotel», quotes the Wallpaper, adding that these buildings are «a source of municipal pride», particularly the new public Library, built in white concrete by Álvaro Siza. «The Library overpowers a square conceived by Fernando Távora - mentor of Siza Vieira and founder of the Prestigious Architecture School of Porto», also referring to it as being «two ambitious buildings» located at Liberty Square «Praça da Liberdade».
Standing out is also the Cultural Centre. Designed by the Architect “Souto Moura”, this equipment is characterized by its transparency between the city, the river and the interior of the building. The Cultural Centre is prepared to host large events such as music festivals, concerts, cinema, conferences, exhibitions and fairs, as well as sports activities.