Vila do Conde is one of the oldest settlements in northern Portugal. During the 16th century, the town attained the apex of its commercial and maritime importance due to naval construction, associated with the Portuguese Age of Discovery. Many of the historical buildings, such as the port and customs house, were all integral in the commercial relief of the 16th century. The passage of King Manuel through Vila do Conde, during a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, in 1502, helped to develop some of the important infrastructures in the city.
Maritime Museum: This museum is situated in the building of former Royal Customs and dedicated to the sailors and shipbuilders of Vila do Conde. In the fifteenth century Vila do Conde became an important center of sea trade and King João II established the Royal Customs there. We will visit the replica of a typical Portuguese ship at the end of the 15th and beginning of the 16th centuries and feel the spirit of first Discoverers.
The Monastery of Santa Clara was one of the biggest and richest feminine convents in Portugal, founded in 1318, by Afonso Sanches and his wife, Teresa Martins. The large historical complex includes the Gothic Santa Clara Church (1318), nearby Manueline late Gothic constructions and the current proper monastery, built in the early phase of the neoclassical style in 1777. The Monastery is located in a hilltop and includes large walls that protect the monastery from the east and the Santa Clara Aqueduct, the second largest aqueduct in Portugal. The monastery is considered a fundamental temple of the Portuguese Gothic architecture.