Viseu Tourist Guide
Viseu, or “City of the Green Pine” as it is sometimes referred to, is a charming medieval city situated high on a plateau between the Caramulo and Serra mountain ranges commanding a fabulous view of all its surroundings. Mountains rise up on either side of it and luscious pine forests and vineyards stretch out before it. Heralded as the gastronomic capital of the region and equally famous for its Dão wine, its appeal is universal.
Viseu’s location has made it an important vantage point over the centuries and many traces of Roman occupation are still visible in the city today. The Sé Cathedral, situated at the highest point of the city, was erected in the 13th century over Roman fortress walls and Viseu’s oldest monument, the Cava do Viriato, are the remains of an old Roman fortification and watch tower. The Muralha Romana, part of the original 3rd century Roman wall protecting the city, is still standing.
Like most Portuguese medieval cities, the historical centre of Viseu is a maze of narrow, little streets, many of them lined with former noblemen’s houses, branching out from the highest point of the city, the cathedral square. Famous for its gothic chancel, the original 13th century cathedral combines various architectural styles, as additions were made over the centuries. Next to the cathedral is the Museu Grão Vasco, named after the famous 15th century Portuguese artist, who has also given his name to one of the region’s well-known wines. The museum houses many of his works, including the renowned 14 paintings of the life of Christ that once decorated the cathedral walls.
Gastronomy and the art of good eating and drinking are very important in Viseu. Restaurants abound and the delights they have to offer vary widely and appeal to many different tastes. Roasted kid and lamb dishes are the speciality, but the region is famous for its smoked meats and sausages, both of which are staple ingredients in many of the tasty stews. Also the centre of the important Dão wine-making region, Viseu is proud of its wines and there are established wine-tasting routes with visits to all the region’s major producers. Alternatively, for those who prefer spirits to wine, Viseu boasts an ice bar, the “Minus 5º Lounge”, where everything from the seats and walls to the sculptures and glasses, is built using ice from Canadian glaciers. The bar is part of the large Ice Palace shopping centre that includes shops, spas, swimming pools and a 600m skating rink.
The traditional local crafts include handmade lace and wicker basketry and the city comes alive every Tuesday with the advent of the weekly market. The bustle intensifies in September with the famous Feira de Mateus market that lasts all month.
Enjoy the food, architecture, history and beautiful surroundings of Viseu ... accompanied by a Dão, full-bodied red.
Temperature Average Cº