Vila Nova de Cerveira, or just Cerveira, is another small and pleasant Portuguese town that we visited during our 4-month stay in Portugal as digital nomads. It’s located in the northern part of the country, in Alto Minho region, on the banks of the River Minho, right across from Spain. King Dinis of Portugal founded it in the 14th century, on 1st October 1321. Nowadays the town is most famous for its huge weekly Saturday market and Cerveira International Art Biennial, the oldest art festival in Portugal taking place since 1978. But these aren’t the only things that the town can offer. Vamos, we’ll show you the best places to see in Vila Nova de Cerveira, Portugal.
Fun fact: Vila Nova de Cerveira is named after the deer population that used to inhabit the area (cervos means deer). Now they are carefully observing the village from above, from Miradoiro do Cervo.
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Best Places In Vila Nova De Cerveira, Portugal You Don’t Want To Miss
Legend of Vila Nova de Cerveira
The village has its own legend, here you can read it:
“Once upon a time… there was a stag (deer) that was chosen by the Gods of Olympus to become a King. And so the stag decided to move, together with other stags, to this uninhabited territory that began to be known as “Terras de Cervaria” (Land of the Stags). Many years flew past. Fights, skirmishes, and disasters gradually devastated the colony until only the King Stag was left. According to the legend, when the noblemen from Asturias came down during the Reconquest to conquer what was to become the Condado Portucalense (Portugal), a young nobleman challenged the King Stag to a face-to-face duel. And the old Lord accepted. The duel took place among the trees and weeds on a trenched site. And, so the legend tells, the King Stag swept to victory! He kept the nobleman’s flag that turned to be the King’s coat of arms. But the Gods deceived the old King. He wouldn’t be immortal… Tired of living and ill, the old Lord died in the loneliness of the crags and with him disappeared for good the Terra da Cervaria.” Source: Wikipedia
Vila Nova de Cerveira Viewpoints
Miradoiro do Cervo
Miradoiro do Cervo (eng. Cervo/Deer Viewpoint) is a truly spectacular viewpoint located only about 5km from the town center, a 10 minutes ride by car. On the top, you’ll find magnificent views over the surroundings (just look at the photos!), an iron deer statue designed by sculptor José Rodrigues that is watching over the area, and… a huge cerLove swing, perfect for a very instagrammable photo. What we recommend is to just sit for a moment on the rocks or a tree and enjoy the views.
Miradouro do Espírito Santo
Miradouro do Espírito Santo (eng. Espiritu Santo Viewpoint) is located just a little lower, on the same road leading to Miradoiro do Cervo. It’s yet another amazing viewpoint from which you can admire spectacular panoramas of the area. There you’ll find ruins of the Chapel of the Holy Spirit.
Believe us, both Miradoiro do Cervo and Miradouro do Espírito Santo are the places in Vila Nova de Cerveira that you wouldn’t want to miss.
Places to see in Old Town
Castelo de Vila Nova de Cerveira
Castelo de Vila Nova de Cerveira (eng. Vila Nova de Cerveira Castle) came to life in 1320, by the order of King Dinis, to defend the emerging town. It’s located in the town center, on a small hill that rises above Minho River, overlooking the town and the surroundings. Most of the fortifications disappeared with the town’s growth, but the most important ones stay hidden behind the gate. There you’ll find places like a pillory, Igreja da Misericórdia, 17th century Capela de Nossa Senhora da Ajuda, or old barracks and town hall.
Entrance to the castle is free. Unfortunately, when we were visiting it was closed due to some restoration works.
Praça da Liberdade
Praça da Liberdade (eng. Liberty Square) is located in the heart of Cerveira town, right next to the castle. It’s a huge, busy square where you’ll find many restaurants and cafes, as well as historic points of interest like Igreja Matriz (eng. Parish Church), Casa Verde (eng. Green House), and Monumento aos Heróis de 1808 (eng. Monument to the Heroes of 1808).
Casa Verde, the Green House, is a beautiful, renovated 19th-century mansion which facade is entirely covered in stunning emerald green tiles. It is located on the main square, Praça da Liberdade.
Igreja Matriz de Vila Nova de Cerveira
Igreja Matriz de Vila Nova de Cerveira (eng. Parish Church of Vila Nova de Cerveira) or Igreja de São Cipriano (eng. Church of St. Cyprian), is the town’s main church, located on the Liberty Square. It was built in the 18th century, in the Baroque style. In 1877 it was severely damaged during a strong storm and later rebuilt in 1881. Entrance to church is free.
Right next to the church there is a small green space, Jardim do Auditório Municipal (eng. Municipal Auditorium Garden), with quite an original sculpture you might want to see too.
Feira de Vila Nova de Cerveira
Feira de Vila Nova de Cerveira (eng. Fair of Vila Nova de Cerveira) is a huge weekly Saturday market that the town is very well known for. Each Saturday hundreds of people both from Portugal and Spain visit it to buy things like clothes, fruits, vegetables, cheeses, pastries, honey, flowers, or various household items. If you’re visiting on Saturday – don’t miss this place.
Parque de Lazer do Castelinho
Parque de Lazer do Castelinho (eng. Castelinho Leisure Park) is the main leisure area. This green space is located at the riverfront and can offer facilities like a mini-golf course, climbing wall, volleyball field, children’s playground, and more. It’s also a perfect place for walking or running.
Inside Parque de Lazer do Castelinho you’ll also find Aquamuseu do Rio Minho (eng. Rio Minho Aquamuseum), where in aquariums you’ll be able to see fish found in the Rio Minho, and native fauna. Ticket cost: €2 (April 2023). For current prices and opening hours visit aquamuseu.cm-vncerveira.pt website.
Ponte da Amizade
Ponte da Amizade is a Bridge connecting Spain and Portugal. It took 2 years to finish and from 2004 both vehicles and people can move on the bridge. You can take a short 20-minute walk to it from the Cerveira town center and admire the views over the Minho river from it.
How to get to Vila Nova de Cerveira, Portugal?
Where to park in Vila Nova de Cerveira?
If you visit on any other day than Saturday you can leave your car in a huge parking lot where the market, takes place. On Saturdays looking for a parking lot will be more challenging. We managed to find a place on Rua 15 de Maio.
Airports near Vila Nova de Cerveira
The closest airport to Vila Nova de Cerveira in Portugal is located in Porto (100km away). Other ones are located in Spain, in Vigo (40km away), Santiago de Compostela (140km away), and A Coruna (195km away). From each airport, you can get to Cerveira by bus or bus+train. To check the connections that interest you please visit rome2rio.com website.
To Vila Nova de Cerveira by bus
You can quite easily get there by bus. For example, the journey from Porto will take about 1h20min (€5-14), from Viana do Castelo 45min (€2-10), and 2.5h from Ponte de Lima (€3-10). To learn more about bus connections that interest you visit rome2rio.com website.
To Vila Nova de Cerveira by train
Camping in Vila Nova de Cerveira, Portugal
If you’re traveling by camper you’ll probably be glad to know that there is a camping site. You’ll find Parque de Caravanas opposite Parque de Lazer do Castelinho.
Best places to see in Vila Nova de Cerveira, Portugal – Summing up
Whether you would like to enjoy a bit of a hike with stunning Instagram-worthy views, do the shopping on the market, or just enjoy another old town this place have it all! If you have a day to spare don’t think twice and get there. You won’t be disappointed!
Restaurants, accommodations, and map
Check out various recommended places below.
Where to eat in Vila Nova de Cerveira?
Here are your best, high-rated options in Vila Nova de Cerveira:
Where to sleep in Vila Nova de Cerveira?
INATEL Cerveira Hotel
INATEL Cerveira Hotel is a modern hotel located in the heart of Vila Nova de Cerveira. The hotel features a range of comfortable rooms, all with private bathrooms, air conditioning, and free Wi-Fi. Guests can enjoy a buffet breakfast each morning and a variety of regional dishes at the on-site restaurant, as well as relax by the outdoor swimming pool and take advantage of the hotel's fitness center and tennis court.
Casa do Cais Cerveira
Casa do Cais Cerveira is a cosy house with views over the walls of the Cerveira Castle and located just a few metres from the centre. House feature a living area with a flat-screen TV, kitchenette, dining area, private bathroom, and central heating.
Quinta de São Roque
Quinta de São Roque is a beautiful countryside retreat in Vila Nova de Cerveira, Portugal, featuring a lovely outdoor pool and gardens. The property offers comfortable and spacious rooms with private balconies and scenic views of the mountains and river. Guests can enjoy a delicious breakfast and relax in the peaceful surroundings of this charming guesthouse.
Casa Nossominho, a charming air-conditioned holiday home with three separate bedrooms and a spacious living room. Enjoy the convenience of free WiFi throughout the property and the comfort of a fully equipped kitchen and modern bathroom.
Hotel Minho Belo
Hotel Minho Belo is a hotel located in Vila Nova de Cerveira. The hotel offers a variety of comfortable rooms, as well as an outdoor pool and a restaurant serving local cuisine. Guests can also enjoy the beautiful views of the Minho River from the hotel's terrace.
Accommodations photos source: booking.com