In a region constantly exposed to the wind and waves of the Atlantic Ocean, Ílhavo is a town with an interesting history and the home of some truly remarkable works of porcelain art.
The fame and prestige of Vista Alegre porcelain dates back a long way and has already spread globally. It’s displayed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and decorates some of Europe’s most famous royal houses. It’s on sale to the public too.
Ílhavo is a town with close links to the sea, inhabited by people who are proud of their cod fishing past in the icy waters of Newfoundland. Deep in the heart of the town, Ílhavo’s modest one-storey houses, hidden from the crowds on the shopping streets, display signs of the local maritime tradition.
This contrasts with the many Art Nouveau villas that hark back to the region’s golden age.
You can discover more about the town’s centuries-old maritime history in the Museu Marítimo de Ílhavo.
The town’s most famous landmark is the Vista Alegre porcelain factory, which is almost like another local museum. A place where history is seen in the exhibition of hundreds of pieces highlighting the evolution of porcelain and its growing popularity since 1824.
The chapel of Nossa Senhora da Penha de França is another curiosity that highlights the town’s history. Admire its painted ceilings and the figurative late 17th-Century tiles, as well as the Renaissance tomb of the Bishop Dom Manuel de Moura.