On this stage of the Camino Portugues coastal route two types of pilgrims converge: those who have decided to make the Camino Portugues coastal route and who, therefore, begin their journey in Porto and those that already have some accumulated kilometres and that, after taking part on the Camino Portugues (central) have decided to deviate in Porto, in order to follow the route of the Camino Portugues coastal route. To everyone, welcome and thank you for sharing this experience with us.
Let’s begin on the Camino Portugues coastal route!
The first stage of the Camino Portugues coastal route begins by giving us a dilemma: follow the banks of the River Duero and tour the beaches of the coast of Matosinhos or, opt for the interior, known for its historical route, which goes towards Padrão da Légua, which we will not see at any time.
Most pilgrims are clear about this, that if they choose the route along the coast, it is because they want to walk near the sea and most of them opt to take the Metro from Porto to Matosinhos and thus avoid the tedious departure from Porto.
In this guide, the route that we will follow is that one, because it is prettier, and because it has fewer options of getting lost and because on the Camino Portugues coastal route, the sea attracts us. If you want information about the official route, you can check our “Remarks” section where you will find a brief description of the historical itinerary.
Following the coastal route, during today’s stage, we will pass through places like Castro de São Paio, where we find the ruins of a village of the Iron Age, the Ornithological Reserve of Mindelo or the Church of Santa Maria de Azurara.
Also by Vila do Conde, a city with great cultural interest, both for its Main church, as for its aqueduct and for the fortress of San Juan. The day ends in Póvoa de Varzim, famous for its sand and gastronomy. The route between these places will be made through and along attractive beaches of the Atlantic coast, advancing along boardwalks over the dunes.
If you are thinking about walking the Camino de Santiago from Porto tell us what your plans are for the Camino de Santiago and we will contact you to advise you on everything you need.
Services stage Porto – Póvoa de Varzim
The first stage of the Camino Portugues coastal route does not imply great difficulty, as it passes at all times along the coast. If it becomes very long, the pilgrim will find along the way several places where they can divide the stage in two.
Porto/Matosinhos (Km. 0). Beginning of stage
Practical tips for this section: Oporto is a city full of life that deserves a day to visit all of it. We recommend that you arrive in the city one or two days before starting your journey, so you will have the opportunity to visit the numerous hidden places that Oporto has to offer you.
For details on the places of interest in the city of Oporto, you can consult the section “What to see and do” of stage 16 of our guide on the Camino Portugues. Buen Camino!
We choose to start the Camino Portugues coastal route from Matosinhos, to avoid the departure from Oporto. To do this, we head to the Blue Line on the Metro and take to the “Mercado” stop in Matosinhos. So, we will begin to walk directly in front of the beautiful beaches along the Portuguese coast.
If you want to, you can do the same or walk out of the city towards the mouth of the River Duero.
We get off the train and cross the drawbridge, Ponte Móvel, in the port of Leixões, where the River Leça flows. On the stairs and on the bridge itself we will find the yellow arrows that confirm that we are on the right track.
After crossing the bridge we enter Leça da Palmeira, a district of the municipality of Matosinhos. Turn left onto Rua Hintze Ribeiro and follow it to the end (km. 1.3).
We Continue along Avenida Libertade, which corresponds to the promenade, passing by the das Mareas swimming pool, which is filled with seawater, the work of the Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza Vieira. The route continues along the promenade to the Faro da Boa Nova (km. 3.1), the second tallest lighthouse in Portugal.
A few metres later, we pass by another work by Álvaro Siza Vieira, the restaurant, declared a National Monument, Casa de Chá da Boa Nova, with a small viewpoint and a chapel. Beside it, we can visit the Boa Nova Lighthouse.
From here, the path continues through various sections along boardwalks that cross the dunes on various beaches. Cyclists should follow the promenade on this stretch and, those walking pilgrims who wish, can also take this option.
Whether on the boardwalks or by the promenade, we will pass by an oil refinery facility, whose presence spoils the landscape, and we arrive at Aldeia Nova.
Aldeia Nova (Km. 5,3).
Practical tips for this section: In the sections that run along boardwalks, the way is discreetly marked, substituting one of the wooden slats for another in blue or yellow plastic, where you can read the text “Good Way “ in various languages. Buen Camino!
At Aldeia Nova football ground, a bike lane begins for cyclists. The walking pilgrims will be able to continue along the boardwalks, although for some metres they will have to return to the Paseo de la Paraiso beach.
Almost two kilometres later, we pass by the Obelisco da Memoria (km. 7). The Monument pays homage to the place where the troops of the Liberal army landed to end the absolutist regime of Miguel I de Bragança, in 1832.
We continue advancing along the beaches of Quebrada, Agudela and Pedras do Corgo, and finally, we arrive at the locality of Praia de Angeiras (km. 11.5). We go to the end of the town’s promenade, where we find another boardwalk that leads us to a nice wooden bridge over the mouth of the Onda Estuary.
At this point we leave the Parish of Lavra, to which belongs the locality that we have just crossed, and we enter Labruge, in the council of Vila do Conde. Following the coastline, and with no chance of getting lost, we arrive at the town of Labruge (km. 13.2).
Labruge (Km. 13,2).
Practical Tips for this section: The small town of Labruge is an excellent choice for those who wish to divide this stage in two. Here you will find the basic services. Buen Camino!
In Labruge we can go to visit the quiet town or simply continue our tour of the boardwalks. We arrive at the beach of São Paio along them, where an Iron Age Castro is located. In the locality, we can also visit the Main Church.
Shortly after we arrive at the small fishing village of Vila Chã (km. 17.7), dotted with colours. The stretch of coastline we are travelling was known as the Black Coast until the middle of the 20th century to be the most dangerous in the country to navigate. That Is why, along the route, we can find numerous plaques commemorating shipwreck tragedies.
We crossed the small village and, along the Avenida Marginal, we enter the district of Louçá. Alternating sections that run between neighbourhoods of houses and blocks of flats, with sections of wooden footbridges, we arrive at the beach of Mindelo.
Here the boardwalks take us to the back of the dunes and we continue straight ahead, bordering the beautiful Ornithological Reserve of Mindelo, which throughout the year accommodates more than 150 species of birds.
Mindelo (Km. 18,7).
Practical tips for this section: In Azurara, the coastal route meets the historical route. Buen Camino!
After crossing the apartments on Árvore Beach, we return to the boardwalks. We continue along the beach in parallel to the campsite fence in the locality and at the end we divert inland, passing by some apartments where the Azurara Surf School is located.
We turn left on a yellow sidewalk, next to a rail with wooden slats, until an arrow from the Camino de Santiago forces us to turn right onto a cobblestone track.
A small bridge crosses our path that helps us to cross the estuary and then take the Rua Francisco Gonçalves Monteiró on the left, to lead to Rua da Junqueira, a small road that leads us to Azurara.
When you reach the N13 road, turn left and, along the sidewalk, cross over the River Ave. On the other side stands the huge Convent of Santa Clara, which welcomes us to Vila do Conde. After crossing the bridge, we must be attentive, as the pilgrim path deviates to the left, parallel to the course of the river until you reach the Praça da República.
From the square, the yellow arrows lead us to the historic centre of Vila do Conde, following Rua do Lidador to the Paços do Concelho and the Main Church.
Vila do Conde (Km. 27,3).
Practical tips for this section: from Vila do Conde you have to be careful when you follow the arrows because some mark towards São Pedro de Rates, a locality on the Camino Portugues. ¡Buen Camino!
On the ascent, along the narrow Rua da Igreja, we continue to Rua da Costa, which we take on the right-hand side. We continue along Rua dos Benguiados, which leads us to a roundabout where we find a pond and a sculpture with two bronze figures in two pointed pyramids.
We continue straight ahead, on Rua dos Benguiados, and continue along Rua da Estrada Velha and Rua das Violetas, passing by the Das Caxinhas Cemetery. By Rua dos Ferreiros we enter the municipality of Póvoa de Varzim. We continue straight ahead to Praça do Almada, located in the centre of the village.
Póvoa de Varzim (Km. 30,6). End of stage
Practical tips for this section: Póvoa de Varzim is a town with a lot of life and tourism. If you are doing the Camino Portugues coastal route in summer, you will certainly not get bored. See you tomorrow!
In the centre of the town, we find the Town Hall, a Pillory (Pelourinho), a market and several shopping streets, among which is Rua da Junqueira. We can also visit the Main Church, the fortress of Nossa Senhora da Conceição and the Solar dos Carneiros, where the Municipal Museum of Ethnography and History is located.
If the temperature is pleasant, it is also a good idea to spend the afternoon on the Póvoa de Varzim Beach, very crowded during the summer evenings.
Comments stage Porto – Póvoa de Varzim
Here we explain how to get to Porto, as well as some recommendations about today’s stage and its gastronomy.
How to get to Porto
Main roads like the A-1, the A-3, the A-28, the A-4 or the A-41 all arrive in Porto. Therefore, arriving in the city from any point of Portugal or from the Galician border, either by private vehicle or by bus, is relatively simple.
If you want to get to Porto by train, from Spain, the best option is from Vigo, it takes only two hours and there are several daily lines. From any other point in the country, the lines are directed to Lisbon and then you have to take another one to Porto. By bus, there are several regular services from various parts of Spain.
Porto has an airport, located 12 kilometres from the city centre with daily flights to Spain and the main European cities. Another option is to fly to Lisbon, which has a major airport, and from there link to Porto.
Precautions stage Porto – Póvoa de Varzim
Today’s stage is a long one if you start walking from Porto and those who come from the Central Camino Portugues may not find problems in completing it. However, those who begin their journey in Porto and are not in good physical form may find it somewhat hard for the first day.
We recommend you take the Metro from Porto to Matosinhos and avoid almost a little more than 11 kilometres of a boring tour.
However, before deciding whether to take the Metro or not, you should consider what route you will follow to Póvoa de Varzim since there are two itineraries for leaving Porto, the historic route and the route that runs along the coast.
The historical layout is much less beautiful and on its route, it does not approach the sea. On the contrary, the route that follows the coastline is much more enjoyable. They both have a similar distance. It’s your choice in the end.
To take the route that goes along the coast, without taking the subway, it is important not to be confused with the yellow arrows that we will find first thing in the morning, since they point to the historical route. We must ignore them and continue freely towards the banks of the River Duero. Once there, it is impossible to get lost.
The historical route tries to follow the route of Via Veteres, which joined Porto and Vila do Conde in Roman times, so it is considered the historical road. However, at present, it is the least-used path, firstly for lack of attraction, and two, for not being well-signposted.
Those who decide to follow this path should use the same exit route as the Camino Portugues (you can consult stage 16 of our guide of the Camino Portugues to see more detail) during the first 6.5 kilometres, until the fork a Padrão da Légua, where a stone cross is located.
At that point, we should pay close attention because until recently, the signalling of the detour for the Camino Portugues coastal route was not very clear. At this point, turn left onto Rua do Senhor and head along Rua da Fonte Velha and Rua da Cal, to the Bridge of D. Goimil (km. 9.4), on the River Leça.
Then we take Rua das Carvalhas and Rua da Estrada, through a mixed environment, dotted with industrial buildings and residential houses. We cross the Avenida do AerPorto (km. 12.6) and at 200 metres from the Botica Metro stop, follow the street from Rua da Botica, crossing the Pedras Rubras district and passing by the fence of the airport runway and the Pedras Rubras football stadium (km. 16.4).
We follow the route, passing close to several stops of the line of Metro B-Roja: Vilar do Pinheiro, Divas Sul and Centro, Mindelo, etc. The route crosses Avelada and continues along Rua da Venda Velha, heading north. After the underpass of the A28 highway, we leave, at about 100 metres, the tower of the Church of Labruge (km. 19.1).
Those who wish to spend the night in it and continue the next day along the coastal route will still have to walk 1.7 kilometres to the west. Those who wish to continue along the historical path must follow Rua dos Marcos, Rua do Fojo and Rua dos Combatentes on cobblestone paving.
We pass by a service area of the A28 motorway and then next to a large shopping centre (km 21.2). At Mindelo School we turn to the right, passing in front of its parochial church.
We cross the towns of Areia and Azurara, and finally, we reach the bridge over the River Ave (km 27.6). We cross the bridge and we enter the centre of Vila do Conde, where the historical route joins the coastline.
Cyclists who decide to take the coastal route should know that much of the route runs over boardwalks on the sand on which bicycles are not allowed to avoid incidents with pedestrians. They will be able to follow the Camino de Santiago along the promenade or by the bike path that you will find on many sections of the route.
The Coastal route runs constantly by the sea, therefore, heat will not be a great problem, because at any point on the route the pilgrims can have a dip in the sea.
Many of the people who follow this route prefer to leave the boardwalks and walk directly on the sand, they should know that although the feeling is very pleasant, both for our feet and for our mind, walking on the sand is much more exhausting. The best thing is to alternate between sand and boardwalk.
Gastronomy stage Porto – Póvoa de Varzim
Next, we suggest some dishes that you can taste on the first stage of the Camino Portugues coastal route.
The night before you start your pilgrimage, if you stay in Porto you can enjoy some typical dishes in the city. Some are:
- Linguiça (Marinated Pork Shoulder)
- Porto Style Tripe
- Cod Gómez de Sá Style. While cod is famous throughout the country, it is worth trying the northern style.
- Francesinha, a large sandwich made with different meats, cheese and salsa.
- Wine from Porto, which has its own denomination of origin.
During your tour of the coast, you can taste oven-roasted fish, freshly caught from the sea. It is common to find bars and restaurants on the beach that prepare it on grills, often located in the middle of the street.
However, during the tour, you will be able to enjoy both the fish, agriculture and meat, since the traditional dishes of the area present a strong combination of these ingredients. Some of our recommendations are:
- Sardine Rice
- Fish “Poveira” style
- Fish Stew
- Roast Goat
- Egg Candy
- Sweet Bread
- Rabanadas Poveiras, a sweet temptation to which you will no doubt succumb
Services stage Porto – Póvoa de Varzim
Meet the main health care services, cafes, ATMs, restaurants and are in this stage of the Portuguese Coastal Way.
Map stage Porto – Póvoa de Varzim
Consult the map with the route, points and towns along the stage.
Profile stage Porto – Póvoa de Varzim
Consult the profile of the stage: altitude and degree of difficulty of each section.
What to do stage Porto – Póvoa de Varzim
At the beginning of this guide we told you that during your pilgrimage along the Camino Portugues coastal route, you should not miss the opportunity to visit the “City of Bridges”, Porto. In the section “ What to see and do” on stage 16 of our guide on the Camino Portugues you can find information about the places you can visit.
Next, we give you details about the places of interest you will find during the first stage of the Camino Portugues coastal route, following the coastline.
Matosinhos is a small municipality of 62 square kilometres, which has about 175,000 inhabitants. Although It is an independent municipality of Porto, it forms part of the area known as the Grande Porto. This is because both municipalities are very well connected and that many of the population who study and work in Porto live in Matosinhos.
Matosinhos has beautiful beaches on which the practice of windsurfing and bodyboarding is common. The municipality also houses the Port of Leixões, the second largest merchant port in the country, as well as an important fishing port and sports pier.
In Matosinhos, you can visit two sculptures that mark the city’s singularity. One is the sculpture located in the Plaza de S. Salvador, on a roundabout. The work represents the fishermen of the locality and is known as the Anemone. Although the name given by its author, American sculpture Janet Echelman, is “She Changes”.
The other sculpture, the work of José João Brito, pays homage to the families and victims of the shipwreck in which many of its inhabitants were victims on December 1, 1947, when more than 152 fishermen died in the high seas, after the shipwreck of four trawlers.
The sculpture was created in the year 2005 and is made up of five figures, representing the widows and orphans of the tragedy, expressing the pain by the loss of their loved ones.
In the municipality You can also visit the Church of Bom Jesús.
Iglesia do Bom Jesús
The Church of Bom Jesús is located in the town of Matosinhos. It is an important religious building from the 16th century, with a renaissance layout. Since its construction, the temple has been the subject of various alterations, the most significant were those made in the 18th century, by Luís Pereira da Costa, a famous cabinet maker who added the main chapel, and those made by Nicolau Nasoni.
From the outside of the church, the combination of volumes and details stand out, which endow the main façade with a scenographic aspect. The façade, designed by Nicolau Nasoni, stands out for its horizontality and baroque characteristics.
The two belfry towers and the main door decorated with a medallion with a scallop also draw attention. To the sides, you can see the sculptures of San Pedro and San Paulo.
The interior is made up of three naves and has an imposing, golden-carved altar that integrates the image of Christ crucified, from the 12th century. The sculpture made in hollow wood is two metres high and highlights the asymmetry of his face, as the left eye looks to the sky and the right to the Earth, representing the union between God and man.
The Ponte Móvel is situated in the port of Leixões and connects Matosinhos and Leça da Palmeira. Its moving structure, operated by a modern hydraulic opening and closing system, allows large ships to navigate through it.
The bridge is the work of the architect João Motta Guedes and was inaugurated in 2007. The bridge has a height of 42 metres currently. In order not to have to open and close the bridge so frequently, later a change of its structure was made, extending its reach.
This is the fourth largest bridge in the world, behind the mobile bridge in Barcelona, Valencia and Miami. The work has won various national and international awards.
Leça da Palmeira
Leça da Palmeira is a locality in the Council of Matosinhos, which has a population of 18,000 inhabitants. In recent years it has become very popular in the municipality and today is one of the most populated cities of Matosinhos.
In the locality, you can visit the Fort of Nuestra Señora de las Nieves, Casa de Chá, the Boa Noa Lighthouse, the Piscinas des Mares, Quinta de Santiago and Quinta de la Concepción.
Fuerte de Nuestra Señora de las Nieves
The Nuestra Señora de las Nieves Fort, also known as the Leça da Palmeira Fortress or Matosinhos Castle, is located in Leça da Palmeira. It is a maritime fortification with bastions and a four-pointed starry plant, with gatehouses and domes on its vertices.
The construction works began in 1638, by the hand of João Rodrigues Sá and Menezes, first Earl of Penaguião, although it is believed that the works did not end until 1720. However, the construction was declared Property of Public Interest, in 1961.
During the Liberal Wars, in 1832, the fort was the subject of some improvements in the stores, the drawbridge, the stairway of the moat and parapets, and still retains some cannons.
Piscinas des Mares
The tidal swimming pools in Leça da Palmeira are located on the local beach. Their construction was carried out in 1960, although it was not inaugurated until 1966. The space was designed by the architect Álvaro Siza Vieira and presents a fundamentally modernist style.
The pools are 25 metres long and have been catalogued as a National Monument.
Quinta da Conceiçao
La Quinta de la Concepción is located in Leça da Palmeira. In 1418, the convent accommodated the Order of San Francisco, but decades later they left the place because of the rough conditions of the environment.
For more than three centuries, the building remained abandoned. In 1956, the property was rented by the Tourism Commission of the Town Council of Matosinhos with the aim of creating in it the town’s park.
To this end, it underwent several modifications, during the 60s, designed by the architect Fernando Távora.
In 2008, the Quinta da Conceição was granted status as private property, but without losing its cataloguing of a public park. At present, you can still see the old cloister, a portal in Manueline style and the Chapel of San Francisco, where the sepulchre of Fray João da Póvoa is located.
Quinta de Santiago
La Quinta de Santiago is also located in Leça da Palmeira. The building was erected in the 19th century and is the work of the Venetian architect, Nicola Bigaglia.
The function of the construction was to serve as the second residence of João Santiago de Carvalho, although, its owner liked the house so much, that it ended up turning it into his permanent residence.
The building reminds us of a castle, but with a more modern touch. The building brings together several architectural styles: neo-manueline, neo-baroque, neo-classical, neo-medieval and romantic.
The entrance dominates the neo-medieval style by its colourful stained glass, the emblems under the relief of the walls and by its symbology, for example, the image of a knight painted on one of its doors.
In 1968, the property was acquired by the Matosinhos Council, which carried out restoration and conservation works, by the architect Fernando Távora. In 1996 it was requalified as a museum space.
Today, the Quinta de Santiago is made up of three buildings. The Museum is made up of two floors where collections of history and art are set out.
The Irene Vilar Space, an auditorium and educational services, and the Forest House, where a giant waterfall is located, almost 15 metres high. In the vicinity of the building, you can find sculptures by authors such as Lagoa Henriques, Rui Anahory or Siza Vieira.
Casa de Chá
The Casa de Chá is located in the Bona Nova area, next to the Leça da Palmeira Lighthouse. The well-known tea house and restaurant are installed in the first building designed by architect Álvaro Siza Vieira.
The building was conceived as a result of a contest carried out by the Town Council of Matosinhos in 1956, in which the architect Fernando Távora was selected.
After choosing the place where the construction was to be located, on the rocks of Boa Nova, Távora delegated the project to one of his works, Álvaro Siza, who, at that time, was taking his first steps as an architect.
In its origins, the space worked only as a tea house, but currently has three spaces, an area where tea or coffee gazing at the ocean, a bar and a restaurant. Today, the House of Chá, built on the rocks, two metres from the water, is one of the most sought after sites by lovers of architecture, lovers of good food and lovers the sea.
Faro de Boa Nova
Boa Nova Lighthouse is located in Leça da Palmeira, in the area of Bona Nova. The construction was carried out in 1926, although it was not inaugurated until 1927. Its structure has a conical tower and is made of reinforced concrete. The lighthouse is located at 57 metres above sea level and has an altitude of 46 metres.
Since 1979, the lighthouse operates automatically. Its luminous signal is distinguished from all the others by producing three luminous flashes every 14 seconds.
Annexed to the lighthouse there is a small museum with an exhibition of parts and mechanisms related to the operation of the lighthouses. On the outside of the enclosure, you can still see the column and lantern of the old Faro de las Sobreeras.
Praia de Angeiras
The Angeiras Beach is immersed on an extensive sandbank, surrounded by dunes that give it a wild look. Given the proximity to the locality, the beach has a complete infrastructure and various water sports are popular here.
Labruge is a parish of Vila do Conde, which has an area of five square kilometres and a population of 806 inhabitants.
The village has a picturesque atmosphere, located next to a beach, bordered by dunes and dotted with rocks, and surrounded by agricultural fields.
In the locality, you can visit the Castro de São Paio, a Celtic village that dates from the Iron Age, around the 5th century BC, and which remained inhabited during the Roman domination; As well as the Main Church, from the mid-18th century.
Vila de Chã
Vila Chã is a Parish in the Council of Vila do Conde, which has an area of 10 square kilometres full of pine and eucalyptus trees.
The locality is known, among the sailors of Portugal, as being one of the few places where the women had a sailor’s licence and collaborated, when it was necessary, in working on the sea with their husbands and brothers.
In front of the coast of Vila de Chã is located the Aguilhada, a channel where the Spanish ships were guarded before attacking the English ships. After Spain’s alliance with France, Portugal saw itself in a conflict to maintain its neutrality.
In 1976, John VI commissioned the construction of a fort next to the Aguilhada channel, in order to prevent incidents that could jeopardize the neutrality of the country. This one was built provisionally on the sand. Beside it was built another fort and a little house that served as a powder keg.
After the Peninsular War, the fort fell into oblivion, although it continued to be equipped with armament. Finally, in 1861 it was declared as ruined. Remains of its structure can still be seen.
Reserva Ornitológica de Mindelo
The Ornithological Reserve in Mindelo is located between Mindelo and the River Ave, in the municipality of Vila do Conde. The reserve was constituted in 1975 and was the first protected area that was created in Portugal. After its creation, the reserve served as a base for numerous scientific studies.
In the reserve, more than 150 species of birds have been observed: turtledoves, herons, eagles, moorhens, ducks, cuckoos, owls, nightingales and thrushes, etc.
As well as the presence of 14 species of amphibians, such as the palmed newt, the green wart toad, the black-clawed toad and the salamander; and various species of mammals and reptiles. Many of these species and their habitats are threatened.
Praia da Árvore
The Árvore Beach is located between the beaches of Azurara and of Mindelo. Located in the middle of a wide sandbank, the beach is bounded by a strip of dunes one kilometre long, located in the Ornithological Reserve of Mindelo.
Iglesia de Santa María de Azurara
The Church of Santa Maria is located in the village of Azurara. The Temple dates from the 16th century and is in a Renaissance style.
Its structure is made up of three naves of different heights. The façade and the stone-cross, from the 16th century, Manueline style. Inside, stands the coffered vault of the apse and its ornamentation with motifs linked to navigation.
Vila do Conde
Vila do Conde is a municipality in the District of Porto, of almost 150 square kilometres and in whose capital reside 30,000 people. The town is dominated by the huge building of the Convent of Santa Clara and by a long aqueduct.
In the old town, we can visit the São João Baptista Church, with its Manueline style cover, the Paços do Conselho (City Hall Palace) and the main church.
Paços de Concelho
The Paços of Concelho are located in Vila do Conde and date back to the 16th century. The building has a beautiful façade and an outside staircase. On The main door, a pediment is projected, which looks the weapons of King D. Manuel, “The Lucky”.
Its interior infrastructure was completely remodelled and expanded in 2002 and it is currently not possible to visit.
Iglesia de São João Baptista
The São João Baptista Church is located in the town of Vila do Conde and is Gothic in style, although it features elements of Manueline, Plateresque and Baroque style.
The Temple is made up of three naves and its construction was completed thanks to the impulse of King D. Manuel I of Portugal, known as the Lucky One, who visited the city on his pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in 1502.
Convento de Santa Clara
The Convent of Santa Clara stands on a small mountain, next to the city of Vila do Conde, completely dominating the town. The monastery was built in 1319 and is related to the birth of the locality itself.
In 1834, after the decree of extinction of the religious orders, convent life slowly disappeared, until in 1890, the last nun passed away. After that, the construction had several uses, until finally, to host municipal services, from the year 2015.
Today, there is an interesting church, from the 14th century, and the cloister, both of Gothic style. In the church you can visit some important tombs, for example, that of Beatriz of Portugal.
The convent gave rise to two famous legends: The legend of the Abbess Berengaria and the legend of the Picnic Girl.
The first of these refers to a historical figure, the Abbess Berengaria, who was the head of the convent between 1384 and 1406. According to this legend, there was a time when the religious life of the nuns was very relaxed, rejecting jobs and not fulfilling the discipline of their prayers.
Among the nuns who lived in the convent at that time, there was an exception, Sister Berengaria, who was obedient, humble and followed the pattern of conduct of her predecessors.
When the abbess who managed the convent at that time died, they had to choose a successor.
Many nuns presented themselves for the office, however, their companions, suspicious that none of them would obtain the office, decided to give their vote to Berengaria, trying to postpone the award, because they considered that she was totally incapable of developing the functions of the position.
However, when Sister Berengaria, who had not presented herself, found that she had been chosen according to the rules, she decided to accept the position. The rest of The nuns mocked her and refused to obey her orders, stating that the vote was only a mockery.
Faced with this rebellion of her companions, the new abbess asked her predecessors, who were buried in the convent, as a homage of obedience. It was at that time that the old abbesses rose from their graves and showed a submissive attitude to her.
Because of this, the rest of the nuns repented their arrogance and, with pleasure, they complied with the authority of the Abbess Berengaria.
Iglesia Matriz de Vila do Conde
The Main Church of Vila do Conde is a temple from the early 16th century. Notable for its remarkable Manueline decoration.
Throughout history, it has undergone several renovations in which elements have been added, including the Belfry, in the 17th century. The interior consists of three naves, divided by columns, and an apse.
Acueducto de Vila do Conde
The Aqueduct of Vila do Conde also receives the name of the Aqueduct of Santa Clara. The building extends between the Convent of Santa Clara, in Vila do Conde, and Terroso, in Póvoa de Varzim.
The construction was carried out in the 18th century with the aim of bringing water from an interior spring to the convent. Its architecture is of Romanesque style and, originally, it had 999 arches, of which, to this day only five are preserved. Since 1910, it has been listed as a National Monument.
Póvoa da Varzim
Póvoa da Varzim is a municipality of 82 square kilometres. Almost 39,000 inhabitants live in the municipality capital. The area is one of the main tourist centres in northern Portugal, due to its extensive sands and to the few areas where gaming is authorized.
The municipality is strongly associated with Portuguese writers. It was the city that saw the birth of Eça de Queirós and where José Régio spent his free time to write. Other writers related to Póvoa da Varzim are Camilo Castelo Branco, Agustina Bessa-Luís, Almeida Garrett and António Nobre.
In the locality, you can visit its Main church, the Fortress of Nossa Senhora da Conceição and the Solar dos Carneiros, where the Municipal Museum of Ethnography and History is located.
Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora da Conceição
The Fortress of Our Lady of the Conception, traditionally called Castillo de Varzim, is located in the town of Póvoa de Varzim. Its construction was carried out between 1701 and 1740, with the aim of defending the city from pirate attacks.
The fortification presents a quadrangular plant and it has four bastions at the vertices: two facing the sea (bastions of Concepción and San Francisco de Borgia) and two facing the ground (bastions of San Jose and San Felipe and Diogo).
On the embankment of the fortification, a chapel was built, in 1743, summoning Our Lady of Conception, called “Real Capela “. In this, the Jesuits instituted the Brotherhood of the Blessed Heart of Jesus, which came to have more than 2,000 brothers, among people from Póvoa de Varzim and neighbouring towns.
Museo Municipal de Etnografía e Historia (Solar dos Carneiros)
The Municipal Museum of Ethnography and History is located in the city of Póvoa de Varzim. The Museum is located in an old emblazoned house, called Solar dos Aries, the residence of the Visconde de Azevedo.
It is a 17th-century building, which was enabled as a museum in 1937, from the earliest ethnographic museums in Portugal. In Its facilities, It houses a collection of the Museum “Poveiras Siglas “, winning the prize “European Museum of the Year” in 1980.
It also houses exhibitions of sacred art from the primitive church of the 16th century, a collection of bonds, from the 16th to the 19th centuries, and archaeological pieces such as the Roman inscriptions of Beiriz.
Iglesia Matriz de Póvoa de Varzim
The Main Church of Póvoa de Varzim or Parochial Church of Our Lady of the Conception is a baroque-style church with a significant architectural value since Póvoa de Varzim at that time was an important fishing community.
João V ordered that a small part of the municipal tax be destined for the construction of the church, and also the houses contributed a part of their income. The work was directed by the architect Manuel Fernandes da Silva, until his death in 1753.
The Setecentista façade is composed of generous lines of Baroque art and in it, you can see the Royal Shield, which opens a niche that houses an image of the Virgin in stone. In the celebration of the 250th anniversary of the inauguration of the Church, bronze doors created by the sculptor Rui Anahory were added.
The spacious interior consists of a single nave covered by a cradle vault. The nave is reinforced by three sturdy arches. The walls are adorned with nine altars of baroque design in gilt carving, which accommodates 16th-century sculptures.
We should highlight the altarpieces, especially that of the main chapel, in Rococo style, composed of six columns of compound capitals.