On the Road: One Day in Vila do Conde

One of the best things about living longer in a city is the chance to discover it on a deeper level. It happened when I lived in Porto, I had the chance to discover its surroundings and also the north of Portugal and Spain.

Vila do Conde was, to be honest, one of my favorite discoveries during this period in the second biggest portuguese town. Located in the suburbs of Porto, I went there early in the morning by metro, in a ride that takes approximately 40 minutes.

I started to discover ‘Caxinas’, the typical fisherman neighborhood, widely known in Portugal for its traditional houses and companies dedicated to the fishing industry. Personally, also recognized as the birth place of Valter Hugo Mãe, one of my favorite writers and poets.

‘Caxinas’ smells of fish, smells of salty sea, but also of tragedy. As I wandered around this neighborhood, I noticed a lot of local women dressed all black. In fact, it happens because unfortunately every year there are fishermen dying during their activity. 

To honour them, ‘Caxinas’ has a collection of heritage, from chapels to statues, but because the locals need to work, the movement in the sea is constant: the waves burst in the sand, from where the fishermen start another challenging day of work.

As I discovered the long beaches in ‘Caxinas’, I walked towards the center of Vila do Conde, following the marginal that leads to the local Fort of St John the Baptist and the chapel of Our Lady of Guia, patroness of the fishermen.

The walk is long yet appealing. The view, impactful: it is where the Ave river meets the Atlantic ocean, it is where the seagulls fly over the fishermen, inebriated in the treasures they bring in their boats. 

Vila do Conde is right there, dedicated to the Ave river. On the top of a hill I recognize the huge Santa Clara monastery and the homonym aqueduct. I have to be honest, this is the image that I photographed in my memory. Nowadays, the first that comes to my mind.

I breath and walk slowly to the city centre, taking time to admire the local heritage: Our Lady of Socorro is one of the most peculiar and unique chapels I’ve ever seen, a mix of catholic church and a muslim mosque.

This chapel also has a panoramic viewpoint and it is the start of Vila do Conde’s old town: a collection of cobblestone streets spread in every direction. It is truly pleasant to walk these narrow streets, watching the locals and feel the local vibe.

I followed the steps of the local ‘via crucis’ and passed several chapels until another religious heritage example, the local mother church of St John. Located close to the city hall, it made me speechless once I got in.

José Régio is another local author, one of the best portuguese writers and in Vila do Conde I found his museum. Outside, the walls are covered with a giant mural to honour him. Inside, the house exhibits his books and history.

Vila do Conde is a city to visit and stay. There’s a lot to do and to see. It was a pleasure for me to discover this city and, honestly, I can´t wait to return and stay there more than just one day.


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41 responses to “On the Road: One Day in Vila do Conde

  1. Is the city centre close to the place where the Are river meets the ocean.

    Then must be a beautiful location:


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  2. Hello, this is Toshiyuki, living in Japan.
    Thanks for visiting my blog.
    Your blog is awesome!
    I can see you visit many countries.
    Have you ever come to Japan?

    • Hi Toshiyuki, thanks for your comment 🙂 I’m so happy to read your words and thanks for your motivation about my blog 🙂

      To be honest, I haven’t count how many countries I have been… probably around 100 eheh Japan included but can´t wait to return, it is for me such a fascinating country 🙂

      some weeks ago I wrote a post about japanese culture, would like to invite you to read it and feel free to add more 🙂


      have a great weekend,

      • Thank you for reply.
        Around 100!? Amazing!
        I’m happy to hear that you like Japan.

        I’ve read your article about Japan.
        It’s good to learn about Japanese culture by Netflix.
        I didn’t know the movie midnight dinner, I’d like to try if I have chance.

        In fact, “UDON” is a Japanese movie about traditional food. The movie is taken in Kagawa, where I live in Kagwa!

        I couldn’t find UDON on Netflix, but I found at dailymotion (with English subtitles)

        If you like, please watch it.

      • I’ve never traveled Europe. I like speaking with foreign people traveling Japan. But if I have chance, I also want to travel.

      • By the way, in Japan,state-of-emergency declaration about corona virus has been announced and many people stayed home until last month. How about your country?

      • That’s right, in Portugal it happens the same… we had to be in quarantine for like 2 months and now we are going out again, but very slowly… it’s not an easy situation, there are still many new cases in Portugal… hopefully it will gets better 🙂 all the best for you Toshiyuki! PedroL

    • thanks Richard 🙂 how is your weekend going?? yes, Porto is the famous place of Porto wine eheh to the interior of the country in Porto region it is possible to find and visit dozens of wineries 🙂 also the view is so beautiful, on the banks of Douro river 🙂 all the best, PedroL

  3. This is something I always say about traveler vs. tourist and the need to balance both. It is fun discovering new places (less publically known places i.e.) and your post was succinct but enough to tempt someone to visit. 🙂

    • it’s true right?? 🙂 i started to feel it after actually living in the cities, it’s so much better when we have that chance 🙂 thanks for your kind words and wish you a great week 🙂 PedroL

    • Hi Vivienne, thanks for your comment 🙂 oh yeah, around Porto there’s so much to see, I think you should return eheh wish you a perfect week! PedroL

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  5. This looks like a beautiful and haunting place, thanks for this great post Pedro. I found that about getting to know a place on a deeper level once you live there, it’s the opposite of tourism really, which is just skimming the surface.

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  7. Oh rats… I’ve only been in Portugal once and that was Lisbon. I did love, love, love it but clearly I need to get over there again and explore the coast and the countryside. I now put a hex on the Corona virus: “May you disappear to, be consumed by a black hole and never return.”
    Don’t know if that will work but here’s hoping!

    • ahah your comment made me smile Catherine 🙂 I will put that hex on Corona virus too, if you don’t mind 🙂 hope you manage to return to Portugal to discover some other cities, there’s a lot to do and to see 🙂 have a great week, PedroL

  8. I enjoy your photography and descriptions. Loved Portugal – I was there many years ago when teaching in Prague and stopped at many lovely, interesting towns along the west coast. Sorry I didn’t get as far as Porto; now I can see what I missed. A few years ago I spent a few days on the Algarve coast, quiet and scenic.

    • dear Ruth, thank you for your kind words and lovely message 🙂 I’m truly glad you were in Portugal and appreciate my country!! As you may have understood, I’ve been traveling a lot and I just confirm how good is to live here… it is not perfect, but the what is good is better than what is bad…

      from time to time I write about my travels in Portugal 🙂 hope you can discover more cities! Portugal is a small country but there´s a lot to see and do eheh I am from Lisbon but from september’19 until march’20 spent a few months in Porto and took some time to discover the north of the country 🙂 it was amazing!!

      let me tell you that your blog is so inspiring!! thank you for sharing so many cool photos and stories 🙂 keep your good work and read you soon,

    • Oh my god! You spent 3 years in Japan?? you are the luckiest person ever ahah 🙂 one of my dreams is to take a few months to discover and write about my experience in Japan 🙂 maybe someday!!! let´s pray for it 🙂 thanks again Ruth,

      • You will get to Japan someday… the world will open again. I loved Japan, what an interesting culture and kind and gentle people. In the meantime, I’m posting some stories of past travels and I’ll read more of your blog!

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