Vila Real is a city of 52,000 people (2011) the Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro region in Northern Portugal. It is the home of the beautiful Palácio de Mateus.

Understand edit

Vila Real (VEE-luh rree-AHL, /ˈvi.ɫɐ ʁi.ˈaɫ/) has 51,850 residents (2011), with 29,624 residing in the city proper.

Sitting on a plateau at the confluence of the Corgo and Cabril rivers, the city is framed in a beautiful natural landscape (Escarpas do Corgo), with the backdrop of the mountains of Alvão and, further away, Marão. Over more than seven hundred years of existence, Vila Real has gained the contours it has today, a city of beautiful monuments, where the temples and noble houses stand out. It used to be known as the Corte de Trás-os-Montes, because the Marqueses of Vila Real lived in it and had a palace. This noble family had a close family connection with the Portuguese Royal House.

History edit

The region shows traces of habitation from the paleolithic era, while the settlement of Panóias had a Roman presence. Vila Real was founded in 1289 by King Denis of Portugal, hence its name, meaning Royal Town. It housed more members of the royal family during the Middle Ages than any other settlement in Portugal except the capital in Lisbon, and family Coats of Arms remain above old houses, some of which still occupied by those families. Vineyards were introduced to the municipality in 1764, growing red, white and rosé wines for export.

Visitor information edit

Get in edit

By car edit

  • A24 - Connects Chaves (frontier with Galiza, Spain), to the north, and Viseu, to the south.
  • A7 - Indirect connection to Minho (Braga, Guimarães, etc.), from Vila Pouca de Aguiar, via A24.
  • A4 - Main Road that connects Porto, to the West, and Bragança, Northeast and the frontier with Castilla y Leon, Spain.

By plane edit

The Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport (OPO IATA), the main airport serving the northern region, is 100 km away and is accessible by motorway A4.

Get around edit

The city bus system in Vila Real is run by Urbanos Vila Real; there are 5 lines.

See edit

Palácio de Mateus
  • 1 Casa de Mateus (4 km (2.5 mi) from the centre of Vila Real on Estrada Nacional 322, in front of the old Rua da Moura; by Urbanos Vila Real bus, line 1 from Mateus, next to the Parish Church), +351 259 323 121, . The Palace consists of the main house, the gardens, the cellar and a chapel. Inside the house there is a library with 6000 volumes, where the famous illustrated edition of the Lusíadas by Luís de Camões from 1816 stands out and in the remaining divisions of the house, numerous pieces of furniture, carpets, crockery, robes and relics can be seen. Wine tastings available. Guide tour and gardens: adult €13.00, child 6-12 €6.50, student up to 25 €9.75; gardens only: €9.50/€4.75/€7.00; family rates.
  • 2 São Brás Chapel. A National Monument since 1910, it contains the tombs of Teixeira de Macedo and Lourenço Viegas, son of D. Egas Moniz.  
  • Chapel of Espírito Santo or Chapel of Bom Jesus do Hospital
  • 3 Diogo Cão's house (Casa de Diogo Cão). It was built in the second half of the 15th century. The navigator Diogo Cão was reputedly born here. He was the first European to find the mouth of the Congo River.  
  • Casa de Carvalho Araújo, an important sailor who stood out in his profession, for having prevented the escort boat (the steam ship S. Miguel) from being sunk by a German submarine, sacrificing the mine-dredge he commanded (NRP Augusto de Castilho) and your own life.
  • Casa dos Brocas, built by Camilo Castelo Branco's grandfather and where he lived for some time.
  • Casa dos Marqueses of Vila Real, with a beautiful Manueline style window , where they lived until they fell out of favour due to their involvement in the conspiracy against D. João IV, in 1641.
  • Church of Mercy
  • Church of São Domingos / Sé de Vila Real
  • St. Peter's Church
  • Church of Bom Jesus do Calvário
  • Church of São Paulo / Capela Nova, of baroque style, whose authorship is attributed to Nicolau Nasoni
  • 4 Pillory of Vila Real (Pelourinho de Vila Real).  
  • 5 Ponte de Piscais (Piscais Bridge). A Roman bridge that allowed the crossing of the Corgo River by a Roman road that crossed the entire Iberian Peninsula.  
  • 6 Quintela Tower (Torre de Quintela) (in the parish of Vila Marim). This medieval tower was built during the reign of D. Afonso III (1248-1279), by order of D. Alda Vasques , who used it as a stately home.  
  • Bairro da Judiaria de Vila Real, one of the most interesting housing developments, with the entrance before the Metallic Bridge over the Corgo River and through there the ancient Roman and medieval road, with the primitive bridge.

Do edit

Buy edit

Bisalhães black pottery - UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Protection

Eat edit

  • 1 Cais da Villa, Rua Monsenhor Jerónimo do Amaral 6, +351 259 351 209, . M–Th 12:30–15:00 & 19:30–00:00, F Sa 12:30–15:00 & 19:30–02:00, Su 12:30–15:00. Trás-os-Montes regional cuisine, including cataplana of grouper, squid and shrimp. Awarded the Michelin Plate for "good cooking". Splurge.
  • 2 Forneria, Rua António Azevedo 86, +351 259 372 039, . M–Sa 12:00–14:30 & 19:00–22:30, closed Su. Italian restaurant and pizzeria. €7-18.
  • 3 Terra de Montanha, Rua 31 de Janeiro 28, +351 259 372 075, . M–Sa 12:30-14:30 & 19:30–22:30, Su 12:30-14:30. Regional Trás-os-Montes cuisine. Mid-range.

Drink edit

Praça Pioledo in the city centre has a set of bars around.

Sleep edit

Go next edit

This city travel guide to Vila Real is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.