Viseu On a BudgetViseu is the beautiful capital city of the Centro Region of Portugal, located northeast of Lisbon. The city, which is situated in the center of the famous Dao wine region, offers stunning natural scenery and beautiful ancient architecture. The best time to visit Viseu is during the summer from June through September when temperatures tend to range from 75-85° Fahrenheit and there is less rain. From October-May, temperatures tend to stay between 45-60° F and rainfall is at its highest.
SightsViseu is an ancient city with a history of Roman occupation, evidence of which can be found at the ancient Roman Gate in the Viseu Old Town. The Roman Gate is the perfect place to begin a walking tour through the Old Town, or Centro Historico, where you'll find winding cobbled streets and secret alleyways with hidden restaurants and shops at their ends. At the Adro da Se square, you'll find the Misericordia Church which features a stunning Rococo façade, including blue azulejos tiles and statues.
Outside of Viseu is the small town of Mangualde, where you'll find the 18th century Palacio dos Condes de Anadia and the Old District. The Old District features lovely granite houses which surround the large bell tower situated in the center of the district. Here, you'll also find the AF Gallery, considered to be one of the best kept secrets in the area. The Gallery features some of the finest quality art and master crafts from artists all over the world.
NeighborhoodsViseu is a fairly large city, divided between the Old Town and the New Town. In the Old Town, you'll find ancient architecture, delicious traditional restaurants, and lovely little shops. The New Town is home to the universities and more modern shopping malls. Near Viseu are a few more ancient cities that make for perfect day trips.
Nelas: Home to the stunning Shrine of our Lady of Viso and the Church of the Savior.
Mangaulde: Offers a beautiful Old District, Palaces, and delicious traditional restaurants.
Tondela: Here, you'll find the St. Euphemia Chapel, the Crossbowmen Lands Museum, and the Caramulo Museum.
ActivitiesSome of the best activities in Viseu involve the beautiful landscapes of the area, such as mountain biking and rock climbing. At the Caramulo Mountain, you can hike the well marked trails and enjoy the breathtaking views. After your hike, take a relaxing dip in the Sao Pedro do Sul thermal baths located just outside of the city. Near the thermal baths is the Serra de Sai Macario mountain which has many different hiking and walking trails. Some of the most famous trails are actually ancient paths which pilgrims used to take to the top of the mountain to celebrate Saint Macarius. No matter which path you choose, you'll always be met with incredible views of the surrounding area.
Food and DiningViseu is the ideal place to experience some of the best food and wine Portugal has to offer, with restaurants throughout the area offering traditional and delicious dishes. Maranhos, a pork, goat, and rice haggis, and Cozido a Portuguesa, a thick stew, are two of the more popular dishes in the area. Chilis, honey, and Serra da Estrela cheese are popularly incorporated into many dishes, especially desserts! And with Viseu being situated right in the center of the Dao Wine region, you can't go wrong with some of the delicious Dao wine with your meal. Also check out Coral beer, Bairrada wine, and Bucelas wine, which are all local options.
You will not have a problem finding great restaurant options in Viseu; they have everything from small traditional cafes to high end restaurants. The student population in Viseu has also brought more international fare to the scene, which you can find the majority of in the New Town near the university campuses.
TransportationThe best prices for buses and trains in Portugal can be found on Omio (formerly GoEuro). They let you search across all train, bus, and plane routes throughout Europe.
The nearest international airport is the Porto Airport located about a two-hour drive away. The small airport in town only takes small, private, aircrafts. There are many long distance coaches from major cities which take you into Viseu, although the roads are very easy to drive so renting a car is a good option as well. If you prefer train, you can take the train into Mangaulde then a bus or coach to Viseu.
When exploring Viseu, you can easily get around on foot, although having a car is helpful for going to the nearby towns. In Viseu, there is tram which connects the Old Town to the New Town.