Viseu is a city in the Central region of Portugal with a population of around 100,000.

Portugal - Viseu

This charming city is unknown to many tourists but has so much to offer, especially if you like beautiful churches.

We spent an afternoon here but in hindsight, should have given a whole day to wandering around. We wasted a lot of time finding carpark in the centre of Viseu. It would have been better to park on the outskirts and take public transport in.

Viseu has a medieval feel having been populated by a Romans, Visigoths and Moors over the centuries.

The Praca da Republica is a pleasant square with a fountain and gardens. There are several outdoor cafes which are popular with locals and visitors alike.

Portugal - Viseu

Here you will also find the Museu Almeida Moreira which is an art filled home of a former art professor.

Portugal - Viseu

Close by is a feature wall with blue glazed tiles. Try and get up close to see the intricate details of this masterpiece. So typical of Portuguese tile displays but nevertheless spectacular.

Portugal - Viseu

Portugal - Viseu

Portugal - Viseu

Walking through the old town, you go through an old gate leading to the monumental square in the highest part of the city. From here you can visit the Cathedral, Museum and the Igreja da Misericordia.

This old gate, known as Porta do Soar is one of the remaining traces of Viseu’s defensive walls. It was built in 1472. Much history is evident on the gate with inscriptions and small idols.

Portugal - Viseu

Portugal - Viseu

One of these is St Francis.

Portugal - Viseu

When you go through the gate (watch for vehicles as they too use this), then turn around and take photos from the other side.

Portugal - Viseu

There is an old house beside the gate called Casa do Soar which dates back to the 1600’s.

Portugal - Viseu

Viseu Cathedral

Built in the 12th century, it has undergone many changes over the years until the 17th century. It is currently a mix of architectural styles, specially from the Manueline and Renaissance periods.

Portugal - Viseu

The cathedral dominates the town with its two towers. Like most cathedrals of that era, it has a beautiful two-storied cloister.

Portugal - Viseu

Portugal - Viseu

Portugal - Viseu

Portugal - Viseu

This is known as the Canon’s walk linking the cloister to the cathedral.

Portugal - Viseu

Once inside, one is in awe of the majesty and size of the church.

Portugal - Viseu

Portugal - Viseu

The main chapel was rebuilt in Mannerist style and features gilt-woodwork in Baroque-Rococo style.

Portugal - Viseu

The choir stalls, built in 1733 were well preserved and beautifully carved.

Portugal - Viseu

There are several chapels within the cathedral.

Portugal - Viseu

Portugal - Viseu

Leading to the sacristy is a passageway adorned with Portuguese blue tiles. Take photos from both sides of the arches.

Portugal - Viseu

Portugal - Viseu

The sacristy itself had more tiles, heavy dark furniture and an ornate ceiling.

Portugal - Viseu

Portugal - Viseu

Portugal - Viseu

Across from the cathedral is the Igreja da Misericorcdia, a church built in the 16th  century.

Portugal - Viseu

Step inside to see the Neoclassical altarpieces painted in white and gold with an magnificent organ to match.

Portugal - Viseu

Portugal - Viseu

To complete the buildings in the square is the art museum, Grao Vasco. We did not have the time to visit this museum.

Viseu is the home to many churches and as we wandered around, we popped into a couple.

Capela de Nossa – this was so small that you could stand in the doorway and see the entire church. However we did enter to see the ornate altar and blue tiled walls.

Portugal - Viseu

Portugal - Viseu

Portugal - Viseu

Igreja de Sao Francisco is situated at the top of a steep flight of stairs. A bit of a climb, but worth the visit.

Portugal - Viseu

Inside, the church was filled with baroque art and Portuguese tiles. Even the pews were ornate.

Portugal - Viseu

Portugal - Viseu

One other little church for which I could not find a name was so inviting with it’s blue door.

Portugal - Viseu

Portugal - Viseu

We spent the remainder of the afternoon wandering through the streets of the old town.

Portugal - Viseu

So many interesting things to photograph – old windows always attract my attention.

Portugal - Viseu

Portugal - Viseu

Portugal - Viseu

Then there were statues, water fountains and beautiful signs on the walls.

Portugal - Viseu

Portugal - Viseu

Portugal - Viseu

Portugal - Viseu

Came across this very old building – zooming in to see so much detail.

Portugal - Viseu

We walked back to the car footsore and weary but had a great afternoon.

Portugal - Viseu

I recommend that you visit Viseu on your travels to Portugal but you should spend at least a full day to take in the complete atmosphere of the place, both old and new. You will love it…

Portugal - Viseu

Related posts for more places in Portugal

The beautiful walled city of Obidos

Santarem – a city of churches and Gothic architecture

Coimbra – an old university and so much more

Vouzela – what a hidden gem

Ovar – City of tiles

The beautiful staircases of Braga and Lamego

Bussaco Palace – an enchanting place to stay