Vila Real: The Complete Guide

Vila Real, the capital of Trás-os-Montes, is a bustling town located on a plateau in the foothills of the Serra do Marão. The town is connected by bridges that span the deep ravines created by the Corgo and Cabril rivers, which converge here. From a terrace high above, once the site of a castle, visitors can enjoy stunning views of the gorges below. To reach the lookout, head in a straight line from the cemetery. From this vantage point, you can also see houses perched precariously on the edge of the Corgo ravine.

Vila Real’s historic center is worth exploring, and visitors can spend a pleasant two hours or so wandering the streets and stopping in cafes for a glass of port. Most of the town’s interesting sights and buildings are located along Avenida Carvalho Araújo.

The town’s agricultural roots make it an excellent base for exploring the surrounding area, including the Parque Nacional do Alvão to the northwest, which features waterfalls, flower-filled valleys, and ravines. The tourist office can provide maps and suggest places to visit. To reach the park, take the IP-4 west for 10km (6.25 miles), then turn onto the N304 heading towards Mondim de Bastro and Campeã. This scenic drive takes you through some of the most picturesque parts of Trás-os-Montes, though you’ll first need to pass through the drab modern suburbs of Vila Real, which are in stark contrast to the charming historic core.

Visiting Vila Real for the first time and wondering what are the top places to see in the city? In this complete guide, I share the best things to do in Vila Real on the first visit. Top help you plan your trip, I have also included an interactive map and practical tips for visiting!

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3 Best places to See in Vila Real

This complete guide to Vila Real not only tells you about the very best sights and tourist attractions for first-time visitors to the city but also provide insights into a few of our personal favorite things to do.

This is a practical guide to visiting the best places to see in Vila Real and is filled with tips and info that should answer all your questions!

Casa de Mateus

Fachada Do Palácio De Mateus
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Marcoslopes86
The Casa de Mateus palace, constructed in the first half of the 18th century and featuring the skilled hand of Nicolau Nasoni, is located on a vast estate and surrounded by stunning gardens. It is considered one of Portugal’s most exquisite examples of baroque civil architecture. The interior of the palace boasts intricately carved wood […]
Location: Fundação Da Casa De Mateus, Casa de Mateus, Vila Real, Portugal | Website | Distance: 2.40km
Visiting Casa de Mateus

Santuário de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios

Santuário De Nossa Senhora Dos Remédios
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Concierge.2C
Situated on Mount St. Stephen (Monte de Santo Estêvão), the Marian shrine constructed between the 18th and 20th centuries attracts pilgrims from across the country, particularly on September 8th, the Nativity of the Virgin and the pinnacle of the festivities in honor of Our Lady of Remedies. The celebrations usually feature fireworks, musical performances, and […]
Location: Santuário de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, Lamego, Portugal | Hours: Winter: 8.30 a.m.- 1.30 p.m. / 1.30 p.m.-6.00 p.m.; summer 8.30 a.m. - 7.00 p.m. | Distance: 24.10km
Visiting Santuário de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios

Castelo de Numão

Castelo De Numão Portugal
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Vitor Oliveira
The Castle of Numão is a medieval castle located in the village of Numão, in the northern region of Portugal. The castle dates back to the 12th century, when it was built by the first king of Portugal, D. Afonso Henriques, as a strategic fortress to defend the Portuguese borders from the Spanish Kingdom of […]
Location: Castelo de Numão, Portugal | Distance: 43.90km
Visiting Castelo de Numão

Tours and Activities from Vila Real