Vila do Conde is a town on the Atlantic Coast of Northern Portugal and one of the many stopping places on the Portuguese Camino de Santiago – for a very good reason.
Just 25km to the north of Porto (you can take the metro line from Porto), Vila do Conde is often overlooked by international visitors, despite being home to many beautiful beaches, and that all-important Portuguese charm,
Situated at the mouth of the Ave River, Vila do Conde has a maritime history as a centre of shipbuilding and seafaring.
Tourism has taken over in modern times and Vila do Conde is well-loved by the many Portuguese visitors who descend on the town in the summer months.
So, let’s take a look at things to do and see in 24 hours in Vila do Conde.
The main pull to this town is the beach life that is on offer. While the town has all of the amenities you would expect from a beach resort, Vila do Conde still manages to ooze bags of charm, with quaint squares and beautiful buildings from another age gone by.
The main beaches in the area are the Praia Azul and the Praia da Azurara. The area is still underdeveloped, so you will find the beaches have a more natural feel, with white sands and deep, blue ocean. Perfect for a spot of sun-worshipping after your day on the Camino de Santiago.
Historical Centre & Religious Buildings
Vila do Conde is not all about the beach – the colourful town has a beautiful historical centre about a kilometre north of the Ave, which has been well preserved.
The traditional old town also has a small fishing port where old-fashioned boats dot the river banks. A beautiful place to explore for an afternoon.
There are a number of religious buildings of interest in Vila do Conde.
While not open to the public, the Convento de Santa Clara is a major landmark. The convent was known for its doces conventuais – delicious sweets that can now be bought in cafes around town.
Manueline Igreja Matriz is Vila do Conde’s main church, set in a pleasant square near the town’s tourism centre. The money for the church came from Portugal’s Age of Discoveries so only the best design and materials were used.
There are two museums in Vila do Conde. The Museu de Rendas de Bilros has displays of the town’s lacework and demonstrations on how it is made alongside old tools and equipment. The Museu de Construção Naval has replica ships housed in the old Royal Customs House.
The Moorish-style Capela do Socorro with interior azulejos (Portuguese hand-painted tiles) and a Rococo altar is also worth a visit.
If you stop off at Vila do Conde on the Portuguese Camino de Santiago, I hope you enjoy your 24 hours in this quaint and relaxed 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.
Featured Image Photo Credit – Trek Earth