Best Things to Do in Vila-Do-Conde

One of Portugal's most noble cities, the 'City of the Count' developed as a resting point on the Portuguese Way long-distance pilgrimage trail that ends in Santiago de Compostela in neighbouring Spain.

The earliest documentation to mention Vila do Conde dates to 953 AD, although prehistoric finds are not hard to come by either. Many of the city's historic structures date from the 'age of discovery', when mariners set sail for sub-Saharan Africa and India for the first time. These include, ironically, the Praça Nova or New Square. Now Praça Vasco da Gama, it was laid out in 1538.

Approximately 25 kilometres from Porto in northern Portugal, and connected to its metro system, Vila do Conde also has more than its fair share of excellent beaches. Largely lacking the crowds of elsewhere on the coast, it's therefore very easy to combine rest and relaxation time on the sands with exploration of the city's historic heart.

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  • Rendas de Bilros - Lace Making Museum

    Perfectly located for anyone touring the sights of central Vila do Conde, this museum of traditional lace making isn't just a building full of examples of Portuguese and international lace. It is also a working art school teaching this...

    Vila do Conde
    Museums and Galleries
  • Igreja Matriz de Vila do Conde

    The late 15th century church of São João Baptista is Vila do Conde's "mother" church and without doubt the most interesting in the town. Located in the attractive setting of the central Praça Vasco da Gama the bare granite church stands across...

    Vila do Conde
  • Casa de José Régio

    The modernist poet and writer José Régio was born and died in Vila do Conde, despite spending most of his life elsewhere in Portugal. Much of his works focused on the conflict between man and God, and between the individual and society. He was...

    Vila do Conde
    Museums and Galleries Palaces and Historic Houses
  • Alfândega Régia - Vila do Conde

    Vila do Conde has been one of Portugal's foremost ship-building ports since the 1200s, when a powerful navy was arguably even more important than it is today. This heritage eventually led to Portuguese sailors making some of the most important...

    Vila do Conde
    Industrial Museums and Galleries
  • Santa Clara Monastery - Vila do Conde

    Perhaps the grandest structure to adorn the hills around Vila do Conde, the Convento de Santa Clara consists of a complex of structures which include the original fourteenth-century church, modern convent, and the...

    Vila do Conde
  • Vila do Conde aqueduct

    Virtually from the founding of the Santa Clara monastery in the early 14th century it was apparent that having an adequate water supply was going to be an issue. Initially there was a cistern within the monastery but as it grew this was no longer...

    Vila do Conde
    Industrial Monuments
  • Forte de São João Baptista - Vila do Conde

    Also known more simply as Vila do Conde Castle, Forte de São João (Baptista) was first constructed in the 1570s. Standing at the mouth of the River Ave, it is named in honour of Saint John the Baptist, the city's patron saint. However, it was...

    Vila do Conde
  • Capela de Nossa Senhora da Guia - Vila do Conde

    This simple whitewash and red tile chapel has a dramatic location surrounded on three sides by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Ave River estuary. Its interior decoration takes its direction from its marine location, and is well known...

    Vila do Conde
  • Cividade de Terroso

    The ancient city of Cividade de Terroso is located on a hilltop a few kilometres inland of Póvoa de Varzim. It is estimated to be in the region of 3,000 years old and was one of the largest and most fortified settlements of the celtic Castro...

    Póvoa de Varzim
    Monuments Palaces and Historic Houses
Vila do Conde

Vila do Conde travel guide »

The coastal town of Vila do Conde lies at the mouth of the River Ave around 30 km north of Porto. This is a town with two contrasting characters; there is the modern beach town with its apartment blocks and vilas that merges into...