Vila Real

The Portuguese town of Vila Real is located between the Atlantic Ocean and the eastern border with Spain.  Vila Real lies in the foothills of the Serra do Marao range.  The region has many hills and plateaus, which provides for beautiful views but limited industrial growth.  The charm of Vila Real is the small-town atmosphere, the old town district with buildings that are centuries old, and the quirky residents who put a unique stamp to Vila Real.

While in Vila Real, be sure to check out:

Numismatic and Archaeological Museum:  Two museums in the same building, the second floor is the Numismatic Museum, which houses over 30,000 coins.  The collection is one of Europe’s largest, and over 5,000 are permanently exhibited.  On the first floor, you will find the Archaeology Museum, which features a large-scale model of the ancient Roman temple of Panoias.

Clerigos Church:  Located across the street from the Numismatic and Archaeological Museum is this place of worship, built in a Baroque style.  The church, also named Capela Nova was designed by Nicolau Nasoni.  The most striking feature of the church has to be the portal and arch, which contains a statue of St. Peter with two archangels on either side.

Cathedral:  Originally the church to St. Dominic’s monastery, construction began on this complex is 1421.  The bell tower atop the cathedral dates back to 1742, and the cathedral was named a National Monument based in part on the Gothic style.

The weather in Vila Real is standard Mediterranean climate, with warm dry summers and cool wet winters.  Daytime high temperatures in July and August reach 28 degrees Celsius, with lows averaging 14 degrees.  Only one centimetre of rain falls in Vila Real in July and August each month.  In January, the average high is nine degrees Celsius, with evening low temperatures of just 3 degrees.

Vila Real is served by Porto Airport, located 78 kilometres from the Vila Real city centre.  You will want to consider car hire at Porto Airport to travel to and around the country.

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