Viseu, is a charming hilltop city and district capital (around 53,000 inhabitants) in central Portugal. It is situated in the Beira Alta between the mountain ranges of the Serra da Estrela and Serra do Caramulo, about halfway between Aveiro and Guarda off the new A25 Motorway right in the middle of the famous Dão wine region.
Viseu (/vi.ˈzew/, vee-ZIHOO), a regional centre for agriculture and education, has many schools, a modern polytechnic and two universities (the Catholic University and the Piaget Institute). There is no heavy industry.
- 1 Loja de Turismo de Viseu (Visit Viseu), Rua Soar de Cima, Largo Almeida Moreira, ☏ +351 232 427 427, email@example.com. Daily 10:00–18:00.
Viseu has excellent motorway links with other major cities, the coast and Spain via the junction of the A25 (east/west) and A24/IP3 (north/south) motorways. There is an outer ringroad consisting of part A25 and IP5.
There are frequent long distance coach services operated by Rede/Expressos to other major cities.
There is no train service. The closest railway stations are in Nelas or Mangualde, both on the Linha da Beira Alta. This makes Viseu the largest city on the Iberian peninsula without a railway station.
Porto airport (OPO IATA) is the nearest international airport, about 1 3/4 hours away by car.
- 1 Aeródromo de Viseu (Aeródromo Gonçalves Lobato, Viseu Airport, VSE IATA). Viseu has its own municipal airport for light private aircraft. Air service to Viseu is provided by Sevenair from Bragança (BGC IATA), Cascais (CAT IATA), Portimão (PRM IATA), and Vila Real (VRL IATA).
By car: signposting for the city centre is good. There is an inner ring road with 12 roundabouts giving access to the inner city at frequent intervals.
The old town can easily be explored on foot. There is also a funicular connecting the lower city (The Forum) with the upper city (Adro da Sé).
The well-kept, clean and prosperous city has a fine historic quarter (Centro Historico) with cobbled streets, hidden alleys, flights of steps and intriguing corners. There are numerous Renaissance and Baroque mansions and palaces as well as some remaining city gates like the 15th C. Porta do Soar de Cima. The crowning glory is the Romanesque and Gothic Sé (Cathedral), one of the finest in Portugal and partly built directly on granite boulders which is particularly evident at the back. It is located on the Adro da Sé, an impressive square, which is also the location of the striking Misericordia Church with its broad white Rococo facade. Since it is the highest point in town, the square provides extensive views to the surrounding countryside.
However, striking modern architecture is evident too. The Forum shopping, food and cinema centre (2005), bordering the river Pavia, is a good example as is the enormous Palacio do Gelo shopping & restaurant mall (2008) with its indoor ice rink and other sports facilities, easily accessible on the ring road. Also of note is the converted Old Market on the Rua Formosa with cafés and boutiques, and now a venue for exhibitions and open air concerts. The city has ample municipal facilities for visitors such as free internet locations, a modern public library, a new large district hospital, a youth hostel (Pousada de Juventude), a swimming pool complex and other modern sports facilities.
- Old Quarter (Centro Historico) with Rua Direita, Rua Augusta Hilario, Rua D. Duarte, Praca D. Duarte, Rua Escura, Rua das Quintas.
- Museum Casa Almeida Moreira
- Porta do Soar de Cima
- Porta dos Cavaleiros
- Fontelo Park with Solar do Vinho do Dao (Dao wine institute)
- Nerys Convent (seminary with suspended staircase) and Igreja do Carmo on Largo Santa Cristina
- Cava de Viriato. Remains of a very large Lusitanian-Roman camp surrounded by an pentagonal earthen wall.
- Old Market on Rua Formosa
- Statue of Viriathus
- 1 Sé de Viseu (Catedral de Viseu, Viseu Cathedral), Adro da Sé, ☏ +351 232 436 065. Romanesque/Gothic with a cloister, built on granite rocks. Walk around the Sé to fully appreciate this. Construction of the church began in the 12th century. It is the most important historical monument of the town. It is a mix of architectural styles, especially from the Manueline, Renaissance and Mannerist periods.
- 2 Praça da República (Rossio). It has fountains, azulejos, the 19th-century Town Hall, and Igreja dos Terceiros de São Francisco.
- 3 Igreja da Misericórdia, Adro da Sé. 18th-century church.
- 4 Museu Nacional Grão Vasco (Grão Vasco National Museum), Paço dos Três Escalões, Adro da Sé, ☏ +351 232 422 049, firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu–Su 10:00–13:00 & 14:00–18:00, closed M. This national museum is named after one of the most important Portuguese painters of the Renaissance, Vasco Fernandes (also known as the Grão Vasco), who had his workshop in Viseu.
- Walk the streets and soak up the atmosphere in this unspoilt Portuguese city. Eat and drink in one of the many cafés,restaurants or cervejarias.
- Visit the Municipal Theatre, Teatro do Viriato, where there is usually an exhibition during the daytime.
- Visit the Cathedral, churches and chapels, all free during opening hours.
- See works by the famous painter Vasco Fernandes in the Grao Vasco Museum. Free on Sunday mornings!
- Walk the newly constructed riverside walkway along the Rio Pavia which runs straight through the lower city.
- Visit the modern sports facilities in Fontelo Park
- Shop in the Rua Direita, Rua Formosa, The Forum and Palacio do Gelo
- See the Cava de Viriato with Viriato's statue in front.
- Dao Wine, Serra da Estrela cheese, handicrafts.
The numerous restaurants, cafés, pastelarias, bars and cervejarias provide excellent freshly prepared food for all budgets.
Try the traditional pastry of the region, the Viriato, for sale in good pastelarias.
- 1 O Cantinho do Tito, Rua Mario Pais da Costa 10, ☏ +351 232 187 231, email@example.com. M–Sa 11:00–23:00, closed Su. Mid-range.
- 2 Mesa d'Alegria, Rua Vitória 21, ☏ +351 232 400 765, firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 11:00–15:00 & 19:00–23:00. €7-16.
- 3 Mesa de Lemos, Quinta de Lemos, Passos de Silgueiros, Silgueiros, ☏ +351 961 158 503, email@example.com. W Th 20:00–00:00, F Sa 12:00–15:00 & 20:00–00:00, Su 12:00–15:00, closed M Tu. Perhaps Portugal's most out-of-the-way Michelin-starred restaurant, Mesa de Lemos is in a modern building in the midst of a mountain vineyard. Chef Diogo Rocha combines ingredients from the estate's vegetable garden, from elsewhere in Viseu, and even from Iceland (the cod) to create simple, tasty Portuguese dishes. €75-115.
- 4 Porta 64, Praça Dom Duarte 17, ☏ +351 963 754 021, firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu–Su 10:00–23:00, closed M. Mid-range.
The excellent local Dao wines from the co-operatives like UDACA (Union of the Dao Co-operatives) and private wineries such as: Casa de Santar, Quinta da Fata, Quinta de Cabriz, Casa da Insua, Duque de Viseu, Grao Vasco and many more.
There are many hotels in Viseu ranging from 1 to 5 stars.
- 1 Avenida Boutique Hotel (Hotel Avenida), Avenida Alberto Sampaio 1, ☏ +351 232 423 432, email@example.com. Check-in: 14:00–23:30, check-out: 07:00–12:00. Two-star, 29-room hotel. €61-72.
- 2 Hotel Grão Vasco, Rua Gaspar Barreiros, ☏ +351 232 423 511, firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 16:00, check-out: 12:00. Four-star, 108-room hotel. €62-84.
- 3 Hotel Moinho de Vento, Rua Paulo Emílio 13, ☏ + 351 232 424 116, email@example.com. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Three-star, 30-room hotel. €46-59.
- 4 Hotel Onix, Via Caçador 16, ☏ +351 232 479 243, firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 16:00, check-out: 12:00. Three-star, 86-room hotel. €42-56.
- 5 Montebelo Viseu Congress Hotel, Urbanização Quinta do Bosque, ☏ +351 232 420 000, email@example.com. Check-in: 15:00–00:00, check-out: 07:00–12:00. Five-star, 172-room hotel. €75-116.
- 6 Montebelo Palácio dos Melos, Rua Chão Mestre 4, ☏ +351 232 439 290, firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 16:00–00:00, check-out: 07:00–12:00. Four-star, 27-room hotel. €55-83.
- 7 Hotel José Alberto (Albergaria José Alberto), Rua Cândido dos Reis 43, ☏ +351 232 440 440, email@example.com. Check-in: 14:00–22:00, check-out: 06:00–12:00. Three-star, 32-room inn. €51-64.
- 8 Montebelo Príncipe Perfeito, Rua Príncipe Perfeito, Urbanização da Misericórdia, Ranhados, ☏ +351 232 469 200, firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 16:00, check-out: 12:00. Four-star, 43-room hotel. €56-75.
- 9 Pensão Rossio Parque, Rua Solar de Cima 55, ☏ +351 232 422 085.
- 10 Viseu Garden Hotel, Vermum, Campo, ☏ +351 232 430 050, email@example.com. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Three-star inn. €40-45.
- 11 Pousada de Juventude de Viseu (HI Viseu), Rua Cônsul Aristides Sousa Mendes, ☏ +351 232 413 342, firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 14:00–00:00, check-out: 08:00–12:00. 19-room youth hostel. €30-33.
- 12 Pousada de Viseu, Rua do Hospital, ☏ +351 210 407 610, email@example.com. Check-in: 16:00, check-out: 11:00. Four-star, 84-room hotel. €71-183.
- 13 Casa da Sé, Rua Augusta Cruz 12, ☏ +351 232 468 032, firstname.lastname@example.org. Four-star, 12-room inn. €59-85.
- Alcafache (spa), Almeida, Caramulo, Celorico, Guarda, Penedono, Pinhel, Sabugal, Santa Comba Dao (rivers Mondego, Criz and Dao), Santar, Sao Pedro do Sul (spa), Seia, Sernancelhe, Serra da Estrela (highest Portuguese mountain range), Vouzela.
- The road from Viseu to Nelas is very picturesque offering views of many vineyards.