The jewel of the Costa Verde, Viana do Castelo is blessed with both an appealing medieval center and lovely beaches just outside the city.
The old quarters showcase leafy, 19th-century boulevards and narrow lanes crowded with Manueline manors and rococo palaces. The town’s setting just by the Rio Lima estuary means that Viana do Castelo is only a short hop from some excellent beaches.
The best way to appreciate the stunning architecture of Viana do Castelo is by walking. The buildings date from several different centuries so styles vary: highlights include the 16th-century fountain and former city hall building at the Praça da República; the gothic Cathedral on the Largo da Matriz; and the Monument to Caramuru and Paraguaçu, built just a few years ago in 2009.
Viana do Castelo Cathedral, the Cathedral of St. Mary the Great is a Catholic church and fortress built in the fifteenth century, which preserves a Romanesque appearance. Its façade is flanked by two large towers topped by battlements and highlights its beautiful Gothic portal with archivolts with sculpted scenes from the Passion of Christ and sculptures of Christ's Apostles. It is a Romanesque church with a Latin cross and inside is separated by three arches supported on pillars ships. It is classified as Imóvel of Public Interesse or a property of public interest. Inside, are the chapels of St. Bernard (by Fernão Brandão) and the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, attributed to stonemason, João Lopes the "old".