Vila Nova de Cerveira was born and raised by the waters of the Minho River! It grew up beautiful and green, cradled by nature! A town of remote origins, long before kings, it rises today, bold and imposing, towards tomorrow!
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VILA NOVA DE CERVEIRA
Cerveira, como também é conhecida, é famosa pela sua história e beleza natural mas também pela arte e cultura. Desde 1978 que Vila Nova de Cerveira promove a Bienal Internacional de Arte, difundindo a arte contemporânea. Cerveira, a Vila das Artes, é um lugar onde coabitam harmoniosamente a modernidade e a história.
WHERE IS VILA NOVA DE CERVEIRA?
Vila Nova de Cerveira is in the north of Portugal, belongs to the district of Viana do Castelo, in the region of Minho. From Lisbon to Vila Nova de Cerveira is 415 km, about a 4h trip. From the city of Porto, it is only 102 km, a journey of 1h05.
The nearest airport is neither Oporto’s nor Lisbon’s, but Vigo in Spain, 43Km away, about 35 minutes by car. There are several trains and buses a day from either Lisbon or Oporto to Vila Nova de Cerveira. From Oporto, the fastest transport is the bus, which makes the trip in 1h30. Although the airport of Vigo is closer, transport is less frequent and not direct.
WHAT TO VISIT IN VILA NOVA DE CERVEIRA?
Vila Nova de Cerveira has countless charms for all tastes. We have described some of the most emblematic places, however, there is much more to discover, both in and around Cerveira! So that you can organize your visits in a more logical and rational way, we have created a map with the main attractions of the town. We hope it will be useful!
HISTORICAL CENTER OF VILA NOVA DE CERVEIRA
Walking through the streets of Vila Nova de Cerveira, we are challenged by the history that is presented from beautiful landmarks of ancient times, such as the castle, the pillory, churches and manor houses.
VILA NOVA DE CERVEIRA CASTLE
Although a defensive tower already existed in Cerveira, it was during the reign of D. Dinis that the defensive structure was ordered enlarged, giving rise to the medieval castle structure we know today. The castle was imperative to protect the border with Spain. At the time, the town was surrounded by walls, which keep to this day treasures of Cerveira’s heritage such as the pillory, the Misericordia church, Nossa Senhora da Ajuda chapel, the “Porta da Traição” and many others.
NOSSA SENHORA DA AJUDA CHAPEL
The Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Ajuda dates back to the 17th century. It was built over the Porta da Vila, the main entrance to the castle grounds. Although it is small in size, it is worth visiting, both for its amazing location and for the interior with its gilded carved altar, the colored tile walls and the ceiling covered with panels with paintings alluding to Our Lady of Ajuda.
Igreja da Misericórdia church is sheltered by the castle walls of Vila de Cerveira, near the pillory. It is possibly one of the oldest patrimonies of the Santa Casa da Misericórdia institution. The protector of the church is the Lord Ecce-Homo, which means “Behold the Man” – it was with these words that Pilate presented Jesus to the crowd that condemned him to martyrdom on the cross. The image of Senhor Ecce-Homo that is found here, was found buried, giving rise to a great popular devotion.
VILA NOVA DE CERVEIRA PILLORY
The pillory dates from 1547 and is located in the castle, in front of the old Paços do Concelho building. In the upper part of the pillory it is possible to distinguish a small shield with the heraldic emblem of the Viscondes de Cerveira.
MAIN CHURCH OF VILA NOVA DE CERVEIRA
The Mother Church, or Igreja de S. Cipriano, its patron saint, is located in Vila Nova de Cerveira’s main square, the Praça da Liberdade. In 1877 the church was badly affected by a strong storm. Only the head of the church survived, everything else was rebuilt in 1881. The beautiful facade invites you in, and inside we are surprised by the main chapel, where the uniqueness of the tabernacle stands out, surrounded by angels and framed by two sets of sculptures, one reproducing the biblical passage of the Last Judgment and the other the Magi adoring the Baby Jesus.
SOLAR DOS CASTROS
Solar dos Castros is one of the most important buildings in the historic center of Vila Nova de Cerveira. It was built in the 17th century and rebuilt in the 18th century. In the center of the beautiful facade stands the imposing coat of arms of the Castros. Currently the Municipal Library is located here. Solar dos Castros is located in Praça da Liberdade, practically next to the Matriz Church.
CONVENT OF SAN PAYO
The Convent of San Payo is located in Cerveira, about 6 km from the town, and is a reference point for Portuguese art. This convent was built in the late 14th century. It was under the care of Franciscan friars who came from Galicia. The convent was built on the site of an old hermitage dedicated to San Payo, a Galician saint. With the storms of history, the convent degraded until it was finally vacated in the 19th century. Portuguese artist José Rodrigues rediscovered and reinvented the convent. Today the space has been converted into an art museum, where history and modernity meet harmoniously.
LOVELHE ARCHAEOLOGICAL ARO
Aro de Lovelhe is a large archaeological site of an old settlement in Vila Nova de Cerveira, where the ruins of typical round stone houses, surrounded by an earthen wall, can be clearly seen.
The Lovelhe Fort, or S. Francisco Fort, is part of Cerveira’s defensive complex, along with the Village Castle and the Atalaia Fort. It was built in the 17th century, near Aro de Lovelhe, and is currently in ruins.
FORTIM DA ATALAIA
The Fortim da Atalaia is the smallest fortification of the Vila Nova de Cerveira defense complex, with only one circular tower. Although small in size, it is of great heritage, aesthetic and historical interest. It is located in Alto do Lourido, in a very beautiful natural setting.
NOSSA SENHORA DA ENCARNAÇÃO CHAPEL
This small stone chapel stands outside the center of Cerveira, on a hill. Tradition has it that Our Lady of the Incarnation appeared in the chapel. It is in a place surrounded by great natural beauty and with a beautiful view over the river Minho.
Since 2004, Vila Nova de Cerveira and Goian, the Spanish town on the north bank of the Minho River, have been connected by an international bridge, known as the Friendship Bridge. So, if you are in Cerveira, you can easily take a stroll through Spanish lands.
From the summit of the Alto do Crasto hill, the iron Deer watches over Vila Nova de Cerveira. Next to this Deer, a work of the artist José Rodrigues, is one of the most dazzling viewpoints in Portugal, the Miradouro do Cervo. From here you can see the winding of the Minho River, between Portuguese and Spanish lands, until it flows into the ocean, in Caminha.
ESPIRITO SANTO VIEWPOINT
In the Gávea Mountains, 5 minutes from the center of Cerveira, the Portas do Céu opens, the name by which the Miradouro do Espírito Santo is also known. This place was once the Chapel of the Holy Spirit, and still keeps its vestiges. From here the panorama over the Minho River is graceful, especially at sunset.
SINO DOS MOUROS VIEWPOINT
It is worth visiting Miradouro Sino dos Mouros and let yourself be intoxicated by the beauty of the view over Praia de Moledo. This viewpoint is in Caminha, about 20 km from Vila nova de Cerveira.
MINHO RIVER AQUAMUSEUM
The Minho River Aquamuseum literally has a life of its own. Here are represented several living species that inhabit this river. This space has as its main objectives the disclosure and preservation of the natural and cultural wealth of this watercourse.
The Aquarium, the Otterarium and the Fisheries Museum are the three major areas of the Aquamuseum. By visiting the Aquarium, one can discover the diversity of fauna and flora of the Minho River, from its source, in the Spanish Cantabrian mountains, to the Portuguese mouth, in Caminha. This space has nine different aquariums, in each one you can observe different animals, corresponding to specific areas of the river (source, dam, mouth).
The Lontrário reproduces the natural habitat of the otters in the Minho River. Here we are welcomed by a lovely couple, the female Eureka and the male Einstein, the resident animals. This space intends to raise awareness about the protection of this species, which is already non-existent in some European countries, due to hunting and the destruction of its habitats, either by the degradation of riverbanks or by pollution.
The Fishing Museum exposes the history of the people’s relationship with the river, through artisanal fishing objects, different boats, and documents related to fishing, some from the 19th century.
The Aquamuseum is integrated in the Castelinho Park, on the banks of the Minho River, and is one of Vila Nova de Cerveira’s most attractive tourist attractions.
CASA VERDE (GREEN HOUSE)
The Green House is a beautiful palatial 19th century building with a green tiled facade, located on Liberty Square.
PASSOS DE VIA SACRA
The set of seven oratories of popular devotion is known as the Passos de Via Sacra. These oratories are very similar to each other and are found at different points in the town. Traditionally, the Procession of the Steps runs through the streets of Cerveira on Holy Thursday, stopping at each of the oratories.
This avenue provides a beautiful riverside promenade, ending at the leisure park “O castelinho”. On the way, we can see a place where fishermen leave their boats, and so the street was baptized as “the fishermen’s street”.
VIRTUAL TOUR TO VILA NOVA DE CERVEIRA
WHAT TO VISIT NEAR VILA NOVA DE CERVEIRA?
The contemporary art lovers can visit the Fundação Bienal de Arte de Cerveira. The sportsmen have at their disposal the ecopista of the Minho River. In Spain, only 20 Km from Cerveira, one can find the imposing Tui Cathedral. In the neighboring county of Monção, a little over 30Km away, you can visit the Palace of Brejoeira. Nearby Vila Nova de Cerveira, there is also much to see. So that you can organize your visits beyond Vila Nova de Cerveira, we have prepared a map with the main attractions you will find nearby. We hope it will be useful!
MINHO RIVER ECOTRACK
The Minho ecopista is just over 20 minutes by car from Vila Nova de Cerveira. If you like green landscapes, don’t miss this opportunity! You will ride along parallel paths to the old road section that used to connect Monção and Valença. While cycling along this ecopista, you will cross vineyards, agricultural fields and landscapes of indescribable beauty that include panoramic views of the Minho River. The so-called “river path” between Cerveira and Caminha is not to be missed. In the middle of the tour, stop to visit the interpretation center of the ecopista in Valença and taste the typical gastronomy and, of course, the Portuguese vinho verde!
CASTRO DE SANTA TREGA
The Castro de Santa Trega is less than 20 km from Vila Nova de Cerveira, on the other bank of the Minho, in Spain. It is an impressive site not only for the archeological remains of the ancient Castrense settlement, but also for the charm of the view over the mouth of the Minho River.
Vila Nova de Cerveira is 33 kilometers away from Palácio da Brejoeira by car. A 35-minute drive and a small effort that is well worth it. The palace has been classified as a national monument since 1910. Throughout its history, the palace has alternated between decay and renovation. In 1960 a modern winery was built here. In 1997 the famous “Alvarinho” wine was born here. Its architecture is inspired by a neoclassical style and is in an “L” shape. Inside the palace you will find huge halls, decorated with glamorous paintings and frescoes. There is also a theater and a chapel. The palace is surrounded by lush woods and beautiful gardens (accessible by guided tour).
19 kilometers and 19 minutes separate the cathedral of Tui (city of Tui – Spain) from Vila Nova de Cerveira (Portugal). A short distance for an enormous reward. The monument was built in 1180. In its beautiful facade the Gothic style predominates. We suggest a guided tour that will cost you only 4€. The garden and especially the top of the cathedral are not to be missed. From the top of the cathedral you have a phenomenal view over the river Minho and over Portugal. Take your time and invest at least one hour to visit the Tui Cathedral.
HISTORY OF VILA NOVA DE CERVEIRA
Cerveira tells its history through prehistoric archaeological remains, medieval fortresses, ancient churches, emblazoned houses, and more recently, public works of contemporary art. Its name has two possible origins: the large number of deer (animal) that once inhabited the region or the name of the first Lord of these lands, João Nunes de Cerveira.
GASTRONOMY IN VILA NOVA DE CERVEIRA
Lovers of good food will not be disappointed in Vila Nova de Cerveira. The meal jumps from the river to the plate. In the proper season of each fish, it is possible to delight yourself with tasty traditional delicacies of mullet, shad and lamprey. Some of the most characteristic dishes are the mullet, cooked in the oven, the stewed lamprey, the lamprey rice and the shad debulho. To water the meal you can choose a regional green wine.
RESTAURANTS IN VILA NOVA DE CERVEIRA
CURT’ISSO TABERNA BAR
Cheap Restaurant. It has over 470 reviews and an overall rating of 4.6 stars (out of a maximum of 5). A perfect place for those who like snacks but where vegetarians also find solutions. The atmosphere and music of the restaurant are highly praised by the customers. The codfish and the price-quality ratio are two of the strong points!
HOTELS IN VILA NOVA DE CERVEIRA
HOTEL DO MINHO
More than 1100 customer reviews on google and an overall rating of 4.5 (out of 5). Hotel do Minho has everything you need to fully enjoy your stay in Vila Nova de Cerveira. In this space, classified with four stars, modernity, refinement and simplicity prevail. The hotel has several leisure areas such as a swimming pool with bar service, esplanade, spa with indoor pool and several services at your disposal, restaurant, lounge, wine bar and a cocktail area. The hotel also has a fully equipped business center, which operates on a separate floor from the other areas of the hotel.