Portugal City Travel Guide: Vila do Conde
Vila do Conde
Vila do Conde is 27km north of Porto and located at the mouth of the River Ave. Although quite a major resort, the historic centre of town, about a kilometer north of the Ave, has been preserved and the town has a less-developed feel than Póvoa de Varzim.
The traditional old town retains its small fishing port and there are a number of historic buildings to enjoy.
The Convento de Santa Clara, is not open to the public but is a major landmark. The convent was known for its doces conventuais - delicious sweets that can now be bought in cafes around town.
An aqueduct, which once brought water from Terroso, 5km to the north abuts onto the convent. The structure was built between 1705 and 1714 and originally had 999 arches.
The 16th century, Manueline Igreja Matriz is set in a pleasant square near the town's turismo. The money for the church came from Portugal's Age of Discoveries and many local men were part of the crews that sailed the globe.
Just to the north is the market place, which hosts the weekly market on Fridays selling local agricultural products and the town's trademark lacework and embroidery (rendas de bilros).
The Museu de Rendas de Bilros (Tel: 252 248 470), has displays of the town's lacework and demonstrations on how it is made alongside old tools and equipment.
The Museu de Construção Naval has replica ships housed in the old royal Customs House. Nearby is the Moorish-style Capela do Socorro with interior azulejos and a Rococo altar.
The Fort of São João Baptista is down by the mouth of the Ave River and has been converted in a hotel and restaurant.
The two beaches nearest to town are the Praia do Forno and the Praia Azul.
Vila do Conde has some interesting festivals including the Feira de Gastronomia (Food Fair) in the third week of August, the Feira Nacional de Artesanato - a crafts fair from the last week of July to the first week of August and a short-film festival - Curtas - held in July.
Vila do Conde Tourist Office
Vila do Conde Tourist Office.
Rua 25 de Abril, 103.
Tel. 252 248 473.
Getting to Vila do Conde
Vila do Conde is no longer connected by railway but the former railway line is now the Porto metro Line B. Trains take just under 1 hour and continue to Póvoa de Varzim at the end of the line. Get off at Santa Clara or Vila do Conde.
Take the IC1/A28 highway north from Porto to Vila do Conde. The A7 highway connects to Guimarães and Vila Nova de Famalicão and the A11to Braga and Barcelos.
Vila do Conde has bus connections to Porto (40 minutes), Lisbon (4 hours, 40 minutes), Viseu (3 hours) and other destinations.
Vila do Conde has some recommended places to stay including the 3-star Hotel Brazao, the Hospedaria Venceslau, a budget guesthouse, Casa de Santo Amaro and the 4-star Santanahotel & Spa, located south of the River Ave.
See here for a full listing of hotel accommodation in Vila do Conde.
The Santanahotel & Spa, Monte Santana, 4480-188 Azurara, Portugal.
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Vila do Conde has some good restaurants and adegas serving Portuguese seafood cuisine on the river or try Ramon in town.
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The average high June temperatures for Portugal is between 22 degrees Centigrade and 26 degrees Centigrade.
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