Vila do Conde is an important industrial centre, fishing port and bathing and tourist area. It is one of the most sought after bathing centres in the country. The city is on the north bank of the mouth of the river Ave, and is part of the same urban agglomeration as Póvoa de Varzim.
There are buses, subway and trains from Porto.
The city is connected by road on a north-south axis from Vila Nova de Cerveira to Porto by the A28 motorway. The A7 motorway crosses the A28 and on an east-west axis, through the north of the city, connecting it to Vila Nova de Famalicão and Guimarães. The EN13, which crosses the municipality and the city in the north-south direction, is used by motorists coming from the parishes south of the city of Vila do Conde for it to access or move around in the parishes of the municipality; and to the north, to access from Póvoa de Varzim. The EN205it crosses the municipality to the north, on an east-west axis and connects Vila do Conde to Vila Nova de Famalicão. The EN104 crosses the municipality in the middle, on an east-west axis, and connects Vila do Conde to Trofa and Santo Tirso. The EN205 and EN104 are used by travellers from the interior of the municipality to access the city or move around the parishes in the municipality.
The Porto/Pedras Rubras (Sá Carneiro International Airport) OPO IATA, 15 km from the city centre, is the second largest airport in the country, connects to the municipality and the city of Vila do Conde via the A28, EN13 and Metro from Porto.
It's small enough to walk around.
Public transport within the city of Vila do Conde is managed mainly by Litoral Norte - Transportes Urbanos da Póvoa de Varzim; the remaining lines are managed by Transdev.
Line B of the Metro do Porto connects Vila do Conde to the city of Porto and the airport in two types of services, normal and express. It also connects to the north of Póvoa de Varzim.
- This is not a town on the main trail for foreign tourists but it's no worse for that. It has long been connected with lace-making and there's an interesting museum.
- The old part of the town is fascinating and it is still a minor port.
- There is a disproportionately large Friday market.
- The most interesting tourist sight is probably the Convento de Santa Clara, later a school for delinquent boys. You may need to knock but then a guide will take you for a tour. A small fountain in a courtyard is fed by a narrow channel from a very long aqueduct, seen stretching away into the hills.
- Vila do Conde was a very important shipyard in the first decades of the Maritime Discoveries. You can see and visit a replica of a Portuguese "Nau" (a big seafaring ship from the 15th/16th century, bigger than the caravelle, smaller than the galleon) by the riverside. If you arrive by the bridge from the south, the "Nau" is easily visible on the docks by your left.
- The festivities to São João are the most important and most expressive festivities in the city. São João de Vila do Conde is considered the oldest and most typical celebration around this popular saint in Portugal. They take place during the month of June, with the main days being the 23rd and 24th of June. Traditions such as the martelinhos and sanjoaninos balloons, are traditions common to all the localities that celebrate this popular saint, but Vila do Conde has unique traditions during these festivals, such as the singing of the Orvalhadas, the throwing of the pebble into the niche (Fonte de São João), the traditional trip to the beach on the night of the 24th of June, the construction of Sanjoanine waterfalls in all the typical streets and neighbourhoods of the city, the luminous procession on the night of the 23rd of June, the parade of mordomas representing the parishes of the municipality, the exhibition of the Sanjoanine masts representing each parish of the municipality, the distribution of carnations by the lacemakers and the great regatta Sanjoanina Monte VS Praça.
- Lord of Navigators Festival: parties are held in Caxinas to honor the patron saint of Caxinas fishermen on the first weekend of August. The highlight of these festivities always takes place on the first Sunday of August with the majestic procession that has sixteen floors, which brings countless outsiders to Vila do Conde.
- The Pilgrimage of Nossa Senhora da Guia takes place at the beginning of February. The chapel of Nossa Senhora da Guia in Vila do Conde is at the start of the Rio Ave, at the beginning of the south sea bar of Vila do Conde. It is in this chapel that the procession is held in honour of the patron saint of the fishermen of Vila do Conde. The procession of Senhora Guia, which takes place on the last Sunday in January, leaves the Igreja Matriz in Vila do Conde and runs through the entire riverside area of the city to the estuary of the Rio Ave, while devotees of the Saint launch rockets on the south bank of the river.
- Easter and Angel's Day: the procession of the Burial of the Lord and the Way of the Cross takes place on Good Friday, the Easter vigil on Alleluia Saturday and the blessing of the houses of all villagers on Easter Sunday. On Easter Monday or Easter Angel Day it is tradition in the region of Vila do Conde and Póvoa de Varzim to head to the bouça and have picnics between families and friends.
- Watch football at Rio Ave FC, who play in Primeira Liga, the top tier of soccer in Portugal. Their home ground Estádio dos Arcos (capacity 12,800) is 2 km north of city centre.
- 1 Vila do Conde Porto Fashion Outlet, Avenida Fonte Cova, Modivas (Metro: to VC Fashion Outlet / Modivas Centro (take a free shuttle from the stop)), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M–F 12:00–20:00, Sa Su 10:00–12:45. The biggest outlet in Northern Portugal. You can buy some of the best Portuguese products (shoes, clothing, bags) and find some interesting foreign brands at a reasonable price. Spanish tourists are very common customers there.
- Vila do Conde, like any Portuguese fishing village, has very good restaurants, especially the old, typical ones. Expect good fresh fish, big steaks, and reasonable prices.
If you follow the main street in Vila do Conde, you will find yourself in Povoa do Varzim without noticing anything different. Both were fishing villages that grew side by side, until they grew together. No borders are visible.