Vila Nova De Cerveira is a small town/large village on the Portuguese Coastal Camino de Santiago.
Nestled on the backs of the Rio Minho in northern Portugal (just across the border from Spain), there is something magical about Vila Nova De Cerveira.
Perhaps its the random art and sculptures dotted around the town or the number of art and craft shops mixed in with the little cafes, restaurants and bars in the market square. The laidback vibe and peaceful ambience make Vila Nova De Cerveira the perfect place for a weary pilgrim to rest their head for the night.
So let´s take a look at things to see and do in 24 hours in Vila Nova De Cerveira
Vila Nova De Cerveira Castle
Vila Nova de Cerveira has a history going back until at least the 13th century when a castle was built overlooking the strategic point along the Rio Minho opposite the Galician territory in Spain.
Check Out The Art
Vila Nova de Cerveira promotes itself as the Village of Arts (Vila d’Arte) and hosts a bi-annual event in July. A variety of art forms are given encouragement and display, including poetry, painting, sculpture, theatre, and music.
There are many public sculptures to celebrate the town’s art history.
Cool Off By River
As Vila Nove De Cerveira is located by the Rio Minho, there are many little river banks to cool off and enjoy the sun in the summer months. There are a range of water activities on offer, including river kayaking.
There are a couple of small chapels of note in this village but the main religious building is the Convento San Payo, once a convent but now houses a museum of arts. The convento is well worth a visit as the beautiful building is located on a hill above the town giving stunning views toward the Rio Minho.
Check Out The Legendary Stag
Located high above the village stands Cervo, the gigantic stag sculpture. The village is named after the stag deer for this reason.
Legend has it that the Gods of Olympus crowned a stag a king. Kings, of course, need land to defend, so he and his fellow stags settled on the lands near the River Minho. This area became known as the Terras de Cerveira (Land of the Stags). As stags do, the continuing clash of horns between them gradually whittled the stag population down, until only the King remained.
At this point in the legend, Spain wanted to reconquer Portugal. A Spanish nobleman challenged the King stag to a duel which the stag won. He kept the nobleman’s banner as a trophy.
The banner and the image of the stag is part of Vila Nova de Cerveira’s coat of arms. The King may be gone, but he’s definitely not forgotten, as his memory lives on in the giant sculpture that presides over the town.
If you plan to walk the Camino de Santiago, check out my book, A Wild Woman’s Guide To The Camino de Santiago. I share everything you need to know before you begin your Camino. Read at A Wild Woman’s Guide To The Camino De Santiago or click the link below.
(c) Samantha Wilson 2019. All Rights Reserved.