The beautiful Pousada de Viana do Castelo is the result of a modern restoration of a palatial hotel dating back to the early 20th century. The original hotel, Hotel de Santa Luzia, was built in 1918 by a merchant trading with Brazil. He donated it to the town and in 1979 it officially joined the Pousada network.
Since then the property has managed to maintain an aura of the grand early 20th century Belle Époque style. The interior décor blends modern design with this Edwardian elegance, resulting in an on-trend, yet classic atmosphere. This style is reflected in the public areas, many of which exude extravagance with high ceilings, chandeliers, and Edwardian-style furniture.
The bedrooms are bright with large windows and are decorated in a contemporary fashion that still manages to maintain the grandiose feel of the Pousada. Many of the rooms benefit from the incredible views the property is renowned for.
Situated atop of Monte Santa Luzia, the Viana do Castelo's Pousada boasts magnificent panoramic views over the mouth of the River Lima, the town’s picturesque port, and the Santa Luzia Church, a mountaintop Neo-Byzantine Basilica which dominates the skyline. The Pousada’s surrounding landscape views have been recognised by the international press as some of the best in the world and an expansive terrace provides guests with the optimal location to enjoy the panorama.
Set high above the town, the Pousada is the ideal location for guests to relax away from the hustle and bustle of Viana do Castelo’s town centre, and the essence of peace and tranquillity is further enhanced by the gardens and woodland surrounding it, complete with a garden, a seasonal outdoor pool and tennis courts.
There is a good-sized car park at the entrance which is sufficiently secure given the remoteness of the Pousada above the town.
The Pousada’s restaurant, with its chandeliers and hardwood floors, further perpetuates the idea of modern-day extravagance. Leading out on to the large terrace, guests can enjoy their meals against a spectacular backdrop. The restaurant features many regional dishes, such as Fried Cod (one of Portugal’s most famous dishes), Grilled Octopus, Kid Stew, and Grilled Veal Chop, not to mention some fine local desserts.
Situated in Portugal’s North Region, 65km north of Porto and only 50km from the Spanish border, the coastal town of Viana do Castelo is popular amongst those who want to experience a Portugal quite different from the major cities.
A lively town, it has long been a key port in terms of trade with northern Europe, much of which involved the export of wines, fruit and salt, and imports of cutlery, fabrics, and glass. This trade attracted the attention of Queen Maria II of Portugal who, in 1852, granted the town the licence ‘Commercial Association of Viana do Castelo’ and it is now the fourth oldest employer in Portugal.
Located at the base of Monte Santa Luzia, Viana do Castelo enjoys both mountain and ocean views, therefore providing an ideal location for both water sports and nature enthusiasts. As with many coastal towns, Viana do Castelo’s commercial success is largely intertwined with the ocean, both in terms of trade and fishing, and much of the area’s gastronomy consists of locally sourced seafood.
In addition to the attraction of its coastal and mountainside location, Viana do Castelo’s cultural offerings are also popular among tourists. Home to a large number of 16th century buildings, the town’s plazas and streets truly transport visitors back in time. Arguably the town’s most prominent feature is the Santa Luzia Church located on the mountain itself. Typical Neo-Byzantine architecture, the red-roofed church is easily recognised by visitors to the area, and forms a key part of the view from the Pousada above it. The Municipal Museum located near to the church is also popular amongst visitors and focuses on the history and folklore of the town.
Those travelling to the town in August should keep an eye out for the Festival of Our Lady in Sorrow celebrated each year from the 18th to 20th August. The celebrations began in 1744 when fishermen prayed to the ‘Senhora da Agonia’ to keep the sea calm during their trips. Nowadays, the festival provides an opportunity for the town to come to life with processions, colourful costumes, and live music. A fireworks display concludes the celebration, which is one of the most popular and grandiose in northern Portugal.