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"A historic and charming hidden city"

"Uma cidade escondida histórica e charmosa"

Viseu as a historic and charming hidden city

In central Portugal, we discover a historic and charming hidden city. Surrounded by mountains, we welcome Viseu. This is maybe a nice hidden gem in central Portugal. There is not a lot of public transport to reach this location. It always was an important place in the history of Portugal and the Iberian Peninsula. From the Romans, Visigoths, Catholic Church, reconquest of Portugal and the maritime discoveries.

Estimated read time: 6 minutes


#viseu, #centralportugal, #viriathus, #cathedral, #saomateus




Nearest large city:

Distance to district capital:

Central Portugal



90 km

Location keywords:

history, hidden city, central portugal, religious, Infante Dom Henrique

The charming hidden city Viseu

viseu jardim das maes garden charming hidden city

A city surrounded by mountains

Viseu is a charming hidden city in the north of central Portugal. The city is surrounded by mountains and there is less public transport to reach this place. At the left side of Viseu, is the wonderful Serra da Estrella located. These facts made from Viseu already for a long time ago an important location. But why you have to visit Viseu? Why is it worth to make the trip to this hidden city?

Picturesque squares and parks

Viseu has a lot of charming picturesque squares and great parks to walk, relax and enjoy the real quiet Portuguese atmosphere. To enter the historic city centre, you still can discover a part of the old city wall. From there you enter the old part of the city. What to discover in Viseu?

Praça de Dom Duarte
viseu praça dom duarte road trip city center portugal a historic and charming hidden city

Central in the historic city centre, you find the small picturesque Praça Dom Duarte. This square gives some medieval feeling. In the center stands the statue of King Dom Duarte I. He was born in Viseu and son of King John I of Portugal, o Rei João I. Duarte was a brother of Infante Dom Henrique, who was the most important figure in the famous Portuguese maritime discoveries. Infante Dom Henrique, is the person in the front of the "Padrão dos Descobrimentos", the tribute monument for the discoveries in Belém.

Praça da Sé

After the statue of Dom Duarte, you reach the Praça da Sé. Here you find the Cathedral with the Convent of Viseu. In front of these buildings stands the wonderful Igreja da Misericordia, the Church of Mercy. The convent and cathedral are the home of the Diocese of Viseu. The Diocese of Viseu already exists from the 6th century.

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Viseu igreja misericordia mercy church portugal travel charming hidden city

The main square in the city is the Praça da República, also known as Rossio. In Portugal Rossio is the place in the city where the most traffic passes to cross the city. It also is the square where you can take the most public transport. In Viseu, at this square you find a wall decorated with wonderful azulejos. This is famous is a famous spot in the city and is aside of the Jardim das Mães.

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City park of Viseu

Viseu has a nice city park to take a break and relax. Ideal to feel the quiet Portuguese atmosphere. this is the Parque Aquilino Ribeiro, located more at the southern side and a little walk out of the historic city centre. this park is a nice piece of nature in the city. When I went to this park, I felt myself out of the urban environment, but you still are in it.

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viseu aquilino ribeiro river city park travel charming hidden city
Jardim da Ribeira

Last but not least, I bring you to the lowest part of the city. Behind the Igreja da Misericordia, you can take a funicular to bring you down. The Funicular of Viseu has no driver and brings you from the church to the lower garden, the Jardim da Ribeira. This is located at the water side. Here you find the Casa da Ribeira. It is a museum about the history of Viseu and how the people lived in the settlements aside of the water way. If you drive the Rota EN2, you also find here the yellow marker of the famous route. Read more about the Rota EN2 in our specific post by clicking this link. Jardim da Ribeira also is the place where you have to be every year for the famous Feira de São Mateus. Below in this post you read more about this city festival.

Viseu has an old history

Roman period

Viseu has already settlements in the pre-Roman period. During the Roman period, these settlements were very important. Because they were located on an intersection of roman roads to Galicia, Lisbon and Mérida. A Lusitanian hery, Viriathus is associated with Viseu. Because it is thought that he was born in the region of Viseu. Viriathus is also known as Viriato and was the most important Lusitanian leader to resist against the Roman expansion in these regions of the Iberian Peninsula.

Viseu became a city

In the 6th century, the settlements in this region obtained the status of a city. This was after the Roman period, when the Visigoths were on the Iberian Peninsula. Also in this time, in Viseu settled the seat of a diocese.

Famous figures of Viseu

Viseu always was the home of famous figures in Portuguese history. As already told during the Roman Empire, there was Viriathus. Also King Dom Duarte I was born in Viseu. His brother Infante Dom Henrique, "The Navigator", was Duke of Viseu. And if you like football, then you maybe know João Félix. He is also from Viseu.

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viseu dom duarte photo image historic and charming hidden city
viseu infante dom henrique historic and charming hidden city padrao dos descobrimentos
viseu joao felix famous football player hidden city portugal soccer futebol

Feira de São Mateus

viseu historic charming hidden city festival feira sao mateus logo

From August till the end of September, you have to be in Viseu for the biggest festival of Portugal, aside of the Festa dos Santos Populares. Viseu is the place to be for the famous Feira de São Mateus. The Feira de São Mateus is one of the oldest and most famous festivals in Portugal. One and a half month of festivities, concerts, fair, joy and pleasure in the Jardim da Ribeira in Viseu. Do you like fun, entertainment, concerts and a local folksy atmosphere? In that case, you absolutely have to visit the Feira de São Mateus at least once. With concerts of famous portuguese artists like Mariza (the top of the Fado), Calema and Pedro Abrunhosa.

viseu feira sao mateus historic charming hidden city oldest festival
viseu travel festival sao matheus feira central portugal charming hidden city

Travel to the historic and charming hidden city Viseu

Visit this wonderful place full of important history. A charming hidden gem in central Portugal. Viseu is a great place to discover the real charm of Portugal. The busses of Rede Expressos or by car are the most ideal ways to reach Viseu as a historic and charming hidden city. Click on the button below to find a stay in Viseu.

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