São João da Pesqueira

São João da Pesqueira is a town in the district of Viseu, which lies on the left bank of the Douro River. It is a municipality of modest size and population, but it is the oldest municipality in the country – created in 1055.

São João da Pesqueira has its origin even before the formation of Portugal, taking advantage of its strategic geographical position, where the great river and fertile land have always given sustenance to the people who settled here. The toponym “Pesqueira” (fishing) will have come from those remote times.

The first fortress in the area is believed to be a Lusitanian fort, later used by the Romans. When King Afonso III of León found the fortress destroyed and depopulated, he had the medieval castle built – in the year 900.

Over time, São João da Pesqueira has developed, where the surrounding natural landscape is of great beauty, where typical rural and manor houses are intertwined, surrounded by vine terraces, almond trees and olive groves. At the viewpoint above Barragem da Valeira, at the Sanctuary of São Salvador do Mundo, at an altitude of more than 700 metres, one can see a cluster of chapels built from the end of the 16th century.

Located in the considerable Demarcated Douro Region, producer of the well-known Port Wine and other fine wines of international prestige, in São João da Pesqueira the Marquis of Pombal lived as a young man. He was later responsible for the promising development of the entire region’s wine industry.

The municipality has a vast heritage, from which we highlight, for example, the Mother Church, the Misericórdia Chapel with a baroque façade, the Arch, topped by the Clock Tower and the Arcade or arcade (18th century) that served as a market, the building of the old Town Hall and Jail (19th century), where the Eduardo Tavares Museum is currently housed.

Also of note are the Convent of São Francisco – where the Marquis of Pombal attended the convent classes – and the many manor houses and coat of arms, demonstrating the wealth of the region.

To visit:

  • Mother Church of São João da Pesqueira
  • Church of Santa Marinha de Trevões
  • Church of Salvador do Mundo
  • Viewpoint of São Salvador do Mundo
  • Chapel of Nossa Senhora do Rosário
  • Chapel of Prisão de Cristo
  • Chapel of Senhora da Penha
  • Cruzeiro de Espinho
  • Sanctuary of São Salvador do Mundo
  • Convent of São Francisco
  • Alminhas das Fontelas
  • Eduardo Tavares Museum
  • Pillory of Soutelo do Douro
  • Manor House and Chapel of Caiado Ferrão family
  • Solar do Paço Episcopal
  • Casa de Azevedo and Chapel
  • Architectural Complex of the Praça da República in S. João da Pesqueira
  • Areita Dolmen
  • Casa do Cabo
  • Medieval Wall and Arch
  • Historic centre of São João da Pesqueira
  • Devesa Fountain
  • Casa dos Romeiro and Ermitão
  • Fraga do Diablo (cliff)
  • Quinta de Sidrô Palace
  • Solar dos Pintos

Festivities and pilgrimages:

  • Janeiras Festival, on the 12th January
  • Nossa Senhora dos Remédios festivities, on the last weekend of August
  • Vindouro – Pombaline Festivities, on the 1st week of September