Between the sea, river and mountain, Viana do Catelo extends along the banks of the river Lima just up from where it joins the ocean.
Begin your history of art tour in the Praça da República with its three works from the 16th century: a gracious granite fountain, the Council House and the charity Casa da Misericórdia.
Leaving the civic heart of the city, head slowly out through the streets. You will soon lose count of the number of fine, noble residences you stumble across.
Sumptuous in the Baroque or Rocaille styles, finished with the most beautiful enlarged window frames including family coats of arms, they contribute much to the charm of Viana and testify to its noble families and successful traders and explorers. Here, a wavy doorway to a Baroque chapel.
Over there, a fountain bearing a saintly image. Further on, the matrix church with its towers creating a fortress effect on one corner. On another, an explorer’s Gothic style residence.
By the end, it becomes clear why the city’s 13th century founder, king Afonso III, declared that Viana was "the city he most loved".
By the mouth of the Lima, visit the Santiago da Barra fortress, a fine example of maritime fortification. Enjoy the surprises along the "Caminho da Ronda" (Circular Path).
Facing the sea that defined the history of Viana, a lovely Baroque church guards over a statue of Senhora da Agonia, favoured among fishermen. She is brought out to bless the sea every August in one of the most beautiful and colourful of Portugal’s religious festivals.