Vila Real

Vila Real is the capital of the Alto Douro region. It is located in Trás-os-Montes, near the Marão and Alvão mountain ranges, on the right bank of the Corgo River, a tributary of the Douro River.

With its fertile and productive land, Vila Real has traces of human occupation since the Palaeolithic. From the Roman occupation of the region we can find the Sanctuary of Panóias.

In 1296, King Dinis granted it a charter and founded Vila Real de Panóias. Its privileged location, at the crossroads of the Porto / Bragança and Viseu / Chaves roads, allows for sustained growth. The presence, from the 17th century onwards, of the Casa dos Marqueses led to many nobles of the court also settling here. This is proven by several stones bearing the nobility titles of their owners that can still be seen in the city today.

Next to Vila Real is the Mateus Palace, a baroque manor house attributed to Nicolau Nasoni. The palace area is superb with varied gardens from different eras, a lake and a courtyard with exotic botanical species.

The University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, attracted to the city young people who came to give a new life to the city.

In gastronomic terms we can find roast veal and kid, tripe with sauces, meat from Maronesa, Covilhetes, meat ball and sausages. The pastries are rich in conventual sweets: Tigelinhas de Laranja, Pastéis de Santa Clara, Cristas de Galo, Pitos de Santa Luzia and Ganchas.

To visit:

  • Mateus Palace
  • Panóias Sanctuary
  • Church of São Domingos (cathedral)
  • Clérigos Church
  • Church of São Pedro
  • Casa de Diogo Cão
  • Archaeology and Numismatics Museum of Vila Real
  • Alvão Natural Park
  • Serra do Marão (mountains)


  • Festivities of Nossa Senhora dos Prazeres, Easter Sunday
  • São Pedro (or Pucarinhos) Fair, 27 to 29 June.
  • Senhora da Pena Pilgrimage, on the second Sunday in September