Viana do Costelo

Viana do Costelo, Northern Portugal


On the Atlantic coast, just north of the river Lima, you find the small Portuguese city of Viana do Costelo.
With a river front, beaches, a posh new shopping center and plenty of history you'd expect it to be a lot busier.
Without huge hotels but with plenty of things to see and do it seems to have become a place to visit on a coach trip for a day. We thought it deserved better than that and stayed for a week.

Arriving late evening we found "O Laranjeira" in the historic center. We were one of two tables dining.

Our hotel, Casa Melo Alvim, was built in 1509. The oldest manor house in the city is exceptionally well placed.
A wooden frame puzzle/clothes drier was provided. You can see the stone blocks of the outer wall and window seats.

Outside view of the side window of our room.

Into the mirror, a four poster bed and a drawing of the front window.

Waiting for the ferry across the river to a beach where kite surfing is popular.
There are newer buildings along the front, a multipurpose hall, library, restaurants. Walk along inland you find a gym overlooking the marina near the road and rail bridge. Walking out to sea takes you to a fort and the port.

The waterfront at night:

Monte de Santa Luzia

We took two trips on the Elavador 650 metres up to the Santuário de Santa Luzia.

The first mid afternoon with a visit to the large Hotel, and a walk down the hillside paths back into town taking in another church enroute.

The second visit just before sunset.
Popular for photographs from instagram selfies to prints developed while you waited.
The Elavador shuts about 6pm, while most hopped back on to coaches, if you are staying in town you need a torch to come down 650m worth of steps in the dark.

The ever present Santa Luzia and the Hotel on the hillside.

Traditional dancing in the square.

Train times need checking beforehand, there are usually big gaps in the timetable early afternoon. Prices are very fair.

Looking down from the station to the waterfront. Very easy to find your bearings.

Braga

The train to Braga involved a change and a coffee at Nine (pronounce "Neen") switching to an electrified modern line with huge open carriages.

Its a city with a charming mix of architecture from grand planned projects to streets that seem to have evolved over time. We found it easy to find our way around after a 5 minute walk from the modern station. Well worth the trip.

The "Death of the Digital SLR" on show:

Braga Cathedral is well worth a look.

The fountain in the Praça da Republica took a short break and the still surface made for great reflections.

Rooftops as the sun goes down and we head back to the station.

Porto

After having thoroughly enjoyed staying there last year, this time the tourist packed rain slicked streets didn't grab us.
In fact we took an earlier train back and were glad to get back to the quiet streets of Viana.
I took one photo which I felt reflected our mood.

Vila Praia de Ancora

Ancora beach is a few trains stops north along the coast.
The town square has a church, monument, fountain and a large cafe to wait out a storm. If the weather had been better in the second half of our holiday we would have come back for a longer walk along the coast.

All along the coast we saw arrows for the Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James) part of a network of ancient pilgrim routes heading towards Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain. I wouldn't be suprised if there were more pilgrims along the route hundreds of years ago. Very quiet mid October.

Valenca

A longer train ride north and then along the river Minho.
The large fort or Fortaleza is well worth a visit, to quote google maps - "Scenic medieval structure with shops, restaurants & historical sites inside the fortress walls."
Once built to defend from Spanish incursions the bridge invites coach loads over the border to buy linen goods and stop for coffee and icecream.
A place where enemies have become partners.
Is a harder border on the Island of Ireland and with the rest of Europe a good idea?
Hard not to recommend icecream over bullets and bombs.

Equipment used - Sony RX100Va.

Posted on October 22nd, 2019

A week in Porto, October 2018

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A week in Porto, October 2018