Vila Real, Portugal

From Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Template:For Template:Infobox settlement

Vila Real is a municipality and the capital and largest city of the Vila Real District, northern Portugal. According to the 2001 census, the city had a total of 49,897 inhabitants.

The municipality is composed of 30 parishes (freguesias) and has a total area of 378.8 km² and a total population of 50,499 inhabitants in the municipality. The city proper (includes 3 parishes) has a population of 24,481.

Vila Real is ranked number 7 in the Portuguese most livable cities survey of living conditions published yearly by Expresso.


The region shows traces of inhabitation during the paleolithic era, while the settlement of Panóias had a Roman presence. Vila Real itself was founded in 1289 by King Denis of Portugal, hence its name meaning Royal Town. It housed more members of the royal family during the Middle Ages than any other settlement in Portugal except the capital in Lisbon, and family Coats of Arms remain above old houses, some of which still occupied by those families. Vineyards were introduced to the municipality in 1764, growing red, white and rosé wines for export. Despite its royal presence, Vila Real only gained city status under the Portuguese Republic in 1925.

Coat of Arms

The coat of arms of Vila Real - a sword embedded in a wreath of zambujeiro (wild olive tree) and the slogan Aleu - is derived from the decorative motif of the tomb of Pedro de Menezes, 1st Count of Vila Real, found in the Igreja da Graça in Santarém. 'Aleu' or 'aleo' is an old Portuguese term for a 'gaming stick' (as used in hockey or shuffleboard). It refers to a famous episode concerning Pedro de Menezes from shortly after 1415. Pedro de Menezes was engaged in an outdoor game in the king's presence when a messenger arrived reporting an imminent Moroccan attack on Portuguese-held Ceuta. Menezes is said to have raised his gaming stick (aleo) and told the king that "with that stick alone" he could defend Ceuta from all the power of Morocco.

Main sights


  • Capela da Misericórdia
  • Capela de São Brás e o túmulo de Teixeira de Macedo
  • Capela do Espírito Santo ou Capela do Bom Jesus do Hospital
  • Diogo Cão's house
  • Carvalho Araújo's house,
  • Brocas' house
  • Marqueses's house de Vila Real
  • Cathedral of Vila Real
  • St. Peter's church
  • Bom Jesus do Calvário church
  • Clérigos's church or "Capela Nova"
  • Pelourinho de Vila Real


  • Archaeology and Numismatic Museum
  • Geology Museum at the Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro
  • Ethnographic Museum
  • Sound and Image Museum, at the Vila Real's Theatre
  • Vila Velha Museum

Outside the city centre

  • Alvão Natural Park
  • Mateus' Palace
  • Quintela's tower
  • Mamoas de Justes
  • Mão do Homem, in Adoufe
  • Necrópole de S. Miguel da Pena
  • Santuário de Panóias, in Vale de Nogueiras

Education, science and technology

The city is the headquarters and main campus for the Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD), a public university founded in 1986.



  • A24 - Connects Chaves (frontier with Galiza, Spain), to the North, and Viseu, to the South.
    • A7 - Indirect connection to Minho (Braga, Guimarães, etc.), from Vila Pouca de Aguiar, via A24.
  • A4 - Main Road that connects Porto, to the West, and Bragança, Northeast and the frontier with Castilla y Leon, Spain.


Vila Real airfield (VRL) - Located 4 km from city centre, near the Industrial Zone, in the Folhadela parish. Has a paved runway with 950×30 m. There's a regular airline service with AeroVIP to Bragança (BGC) and Lisbon (LIS).


200px The Corgo line was a metre gauge railway that connected the city to Regua, 25 km south, in the Douro valley. It closed for renovation in 2009, but due to spending cuts by the Portuguese Government the closure has become permanent. It followed the Corgo river valley and offered splendid views to the characteristic vineyards clinging on to almost vertical. Until 1990 the Corgo line also continued north to Chaves.

Urban Bus

The City Bus system in Vila Real is run by Corgobus. Has 5 lines and transported about 1.35 million people in 2008.

Main Distances

Civil Parishes

Vila Real's municipality consists of 30 freguesias or civil parishes, which are not all coexistent with the ecclesiastical parishes or paróquias. Three small civil parishes near the centre of the municipality are officially the city of Vila Real

The civil (administrative) parishes of the Vila Real municipality are: thumb

  • Abaças
  • Adoufe
  • Andrães
  • Arroios
  • Borbela
  • Campeã
  • Constantim
  • Ermida
  • Folhadela
  • Guiães
  • Justes
  • Lamares
  • Lamas de Olo
  • Lordelo
  • Mateus
  • Mondrões
  • Mouçós
  • Nogueira
  • Nossa Senhora da Conceição (Vila Real)
  • Parada de Cunhos
  • Pena
  • Quintã
  • São Dinis (Vila Real)
  • São Pedro (Vila Real)
  • São Tomé do Castelo
  • Torgueda
  • Vale de Nogueiras
  • Vila Cova
  • Vila Marim
  • Vilarinho de Samardã

Geography and climate

Located in a promontory, formed by the gorges of the Corgo and Cabril rivers, Vila Real has an elevation of 460 m. The Alvão and Marão mountains overlook the town on the North and West side, respectively, rising up to 1400 m.

Due to the geographical location, its climate is a mix between Temperate and Mediterranean. Winters are long, with negative temperatures and frequent frosts. In Summer, it is common to reach temperatures near 40 °C.

Weather averages for Vila Real
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Average
Highest °C 19,1 23,7 28,2 31,6 34,4 38,5 41,4 40,4 37,6 32,3 24,4 20,6
Average high °C 10,2 12,3 15,3 18,2 20,7 25,7 29,1 29,3 25,7 20,2 14,2 10,5 19,3
Average °C 6,2 7,4 10,2 12,6 14,9 19,0 21,4 21,6 19,1 14,4 9,7 6,6 13,6
Average low °C 2,3 2,6 5,2 6,9 9,1 12,2 13,8 13,9 12,5 8,7 5,2 2,7 7,9
Lowest °C -7,2 -6,3 -5,6 -2,0 0,0 4,0 6,5 6,1 2,4 -1,7 -5,2 -6,8
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total
Total mm 156,5 110,4 145,6 77,3 61,2 31,5 10,2 15,5 38,4 83,6 129,8 158,8 1018,8
Data from 1931 to 1960.


Sport Club Vila Real is the city's football club, founded in 1920. It has played in the Portuguese third and fourth tiers, currently competing in the fourth, the Terceira Divisao.

Famous citizens

  • Diogo Cão (15th century) - Navigator
  • Gen. José Augusto Alves Roçadas (1865–1926) - Colonial governor in Angola
  • Carvalho Araújo (1881–1918) - Politician and Military
  • Paulo Alves (b. 1969) - Football Player
  • Simão Sabrosa (b. 1979) - Football Player

Twin towns — Sister cities

Vila Real is twinned with:

Electric Power

Vila Real was the 4th Portuguese town to have public supply of electricity, but it was the first to produce hydroelectric power, in 1894. Template:Citation needed


External links