The first things you’ll notice when you arrive in Vila Real are the attractive residences rising above the surrounding countryside. Between the 17th and 19th centuries, many noble families built homes here. To this day, stone coats of arms can still be spotted on the exteriors of these houses.
Tour the city and its medieval centre where the first people to arrive here set up home. Head on through the oldest part of the city. Between Avenida Carvalho Araújo and Avenida Marginal, wander past noble residences interspersed with busy shopping streets – incidentally, these shops are the best in Vila Real. Finish your walk in the green of the Garden Jardim da Carreira.
Head up to the top of Calvário, where there are fine views out over the city, the hills of Marão and Alvão.
Approximately 3 kilometres away, make time for one of the jewels in the Portuguese Baroque crown: the Mateus Palace, with its beautiful gardens leading on to a huge estate. The interior of this Nasoni-designed masterpiece features worked wooden ceilings, furniture from a range of periods, 17th and 18th century paintings, and a library home to a rare edition of the Portuguese classic ‘Os Lusíadas’. And if you visit Vila Real in the summer try to catch the annual Encontros music festival.