Top 10 Things To Do In Viseu, Portugal

things to do in viseu
| 5 min read

For people in love with culture and the arts, Viseu, Portugal, is the perfect destination for you. While you are here, you can sit with a freshly brewed coffee in cozy outdoor cafes while enjoying the city’s old Roman architecture, appreciate highly acclaimed artworks in museums, peruse novels in quaint little bookshops, and taste exquisite wine from the city’s best. It is also home to a lot of festivals where you can enjoy scrumptious food, wine, books, architecture, live music, theater, handicrafts, parties, and so much more. If you wish to visit this lively city and are looking for some of the best activities in the city, check out this list of the top things to do in Viseu, Portugal.

1. Enjoy everything nature has to offer at Fontelo Park

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Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Nuno Tavares used under CC BY-SA 2.5

Just near the bustling city center, Fontelo Park serves as a getaway for tourists and locals alike to just relax and be one with nature. Surrounded by ancient sturdy trees, green pastures, fragrant flowers, and vibrant colorful chirping peacocks, it’s as if nature is becoming alive right before your very eyes.

You can take it easy by reading a good book under a cool shade or having a picnic with your friends or family. You can also jog along the trails and breathe in the fresh morning air. Enjoy a bike ride on the premises, or have some fun in any of the recreational facilities, such as football fields, tennis courts, swimming pools, obstacles courses, a skate park, and a gymnastic pavilion.

Fontelo Park

Address: Av. José Relvas, Viseu, Portugal

Website: Fontelo Park

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

2. Shop around Palácio do Gelo

Shopping Center Palácio do Gelo - Viseu - Portugal (2679137247)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Vitor Oliveira used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Just located south of the city center, Palácio do Gelo is a one-stop shop with plenty of stores and an Olympic-sized swimming pool. It is convenient to look around, with its oval-shaped structure and a clear open space in the middle as well as an enormous water fountain below.

It features different cuisines, a playground, an arcade, a fully equipped gym, and stores and services for leisure and health. The place has its own ice skating rink and ice bar, where you can enjoy refreshing beverages. Inside Bar de Gelo Viseu, you will be provided with padded coats and hand gloves, and boots are also available if you need a pair.

Palácio do Gelo

Address: R. do Palacio do Gelo nº 3, 3504-526 Viseu, Portugal

Website: Palácio do Gelo

Opening hours: 10am - 11pm (daily)

3. Witness history unveil at Viseu Cathedral

Top Things To Do in Viseu, Portugal
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Daniel VILLAFRUELA used under CC BY-SA 3.0

A first look at Viseu Cathedral, it looks like your ordinary austere churches from the outside; however, as you take a step inside, Viseu Cathedral’s interior can allow you to marvel at different pieces and structures of art from several centuries that complement each other.

A true testament to history, it boasts Romanesque, Manueline, Baroque, and Gothic eras, from its two tall bell towers outside to its intricate ceiling decoration. Dating from the early 12th century, it truly is a vision to see the distinct style of the imposing stone vaults, sculptures, roof, wood carvings, panels of azulejo tiles, and the beautiful altarpiece. What makes it truly sacred and enchanting is that it hosts baptisms, weddings, and other joyous celebrations.

Viseu Cathedral

Address: Adro Sé, 3500-195 Viseu, Portugal

Website: Viseu Cathedral

Opening hours: Sun: 9am - 12pm, 2pm - 7pm; Mon - Sat: 9am - 12pm, 2pm - 6pm

4. Have fun with your loved ones at Aquilino Ribeiro Park

City Park Garden (50057810963)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Pedro Ribeiro Simões used under CC BY 2.0

If you wish for a quiet refuge from the city, then one of Viseu’s enchanting parks to relax in is Aquilino Ribeiro Park. You can read novels or have a picnic under the cool shade from the trees, or take a stroll and enjoy the fresh scent of the humble forest. Stretch your legs and do yoga near the lake.

There are also tables and benches if you prefer a romantic quiet date. You can enjoy a visit to the cafe on a hot sunny day as well. Your kids can have some fun at the playground, children’s library, or sports complex.

Aquilino Ribeiro Park

Address: Av. 25 de Abril 25, 3510-118 Viseu, Portugal

Opening hours: Sun: 8am - 8pm; Mon - Sat: 24 hours

5. Take in historical art at Museu Grão Vasco

Museu Grão Vasco - Viseu - Portugal (24735963889)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Vitor Oliveira used under CC BY-SA 2.0

If you love religious art history, then Grão Vasco Museum is a must-visit when in Viseu. It has preserved the best contemporary Portuguese works of art from as early as 1915. As one of Portugal’s most important Renaissance painters, Vasco Fernandes, some of his altarpiece paintings are displayed here.

The museum showcases Romanesque and Baroque works, as well as artworks of different styles and mediums such as watercolor painting, oriental porcelain, Portuguese faience, goldsmithery, metalwork, tapestry, and furniture as well. It also houses other exhibitions temporarily. You can also browse art library and historical archive here, and rest at the cafe afterward.

Museu Grão Vasco

Address: Adro Sé, 3500-195 Viseu, Portugal

Website: Museu Grão Vasco

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 10am - 1pm, 2pm - 6pm (closed on Mon)

Price: 4 EUR (4.69 USD)

6. Explore Igreja da Misericórdia

Viseu Igreja da Misericórdia 774
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user GFreihalter used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Just opposite of Viseu Cathedral is Igreja da Misericórdia. This 18th-century church has a white rococo facade and neoclassical interior, which contrasts with Viseu Cathedral’s Baroque style. With rich white and gold decor, it feels light and airy inside, unlike your common austere churches.

Igreja da Misericórdia is distinguished by its beautiful portico, balcony, and twin bell towers with large windows. It is a peaceful place to stay silent, pray, and reflect on its unique architecture.

Igreja da Misericórdia

Address: da 069, Adro Sé, Viseu, Portugal

Opening hours: Mon - Tue: 10am - 5pm; Wed: 10am - 5pm (closed on Wed, Fri - Sun)

7. Discover history at Porta do Soar

Porta do Soar - Viseu - Portugal (7890329022)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Vitor Oliveira used under CC BY-SA 2.0

A gem on the main street, this 15th-century gate built from granite served as protection for the city during the medieval times. It was one of the seven city gates, but only two remain now, with the other named “Porta dos Cavaleiros.” Constructed by Alfonso V in 1472, Porta do Soar is also where you’ll find the shield of Portugal and the image of San Francisco.

Porta do Soar

Address: Largo Pintor Gata 18, 3500-158 Viseu, Portugal

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

8. Have a restful day at Jardim das Mães

Estátua das Mães (48758698128)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Halley Oliveira used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Walking up the slope and stone path, a bronze sculpture displaying a small boy asleep on his mother’s lap while she sits and prays lies in the middle of Jardim das Mães. José de Oliveira Ferreira crafted the statue in honor of his mother.

Surrounding his valued work is a small well-kept garden, which is full of life and color from the flowers such as pansies, petunias, roses, marigolds, cane begonias, and lilies. You can sit on the park’s benches and have a pleasant rest or spend some time contemplating and reflecting for a change of pace.

Jardim das Mães

Address: Largo Maj. Teles 6, 3500-212 Viseu, Portugal

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

9. Experience the indie art culture of Carmo 81

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Carmo 81 is different from your usual art gallery as it is located in a renovated warehouse with a cozy bar, a local second-hand bookshop, a photographic lab, and a patio. It also holds exhibitions, installations, live gigs, film screenings, workshops, performances, presentations, conferences, and events. Although temporarily closed, Carmo 81 is a hotspot for the indie art scene as you can socialize and enjoy your drinks while you relax in its cool street vintage ambiance.

Carmo 81

Address: R. Carmo 81, 3500-096 Viseu, Portugal

Website: Carmo 81

10. Uncover Viseu's rich heritage at House of Memories

Casa das Memórias - Viseu - Portugal
Source: Photo by Flickr user Vitor Oliveira used under CC BY-SA 2.0

While House of Memories is a small museum, it could be considered the city’s most important museum as it contains all of its 2,500 years of rich history, and you can explore it for free. Its kind and friendly staff can give you a tour for a small fee, with a minimum of five participants.

For the same fee, House of Memories provides other educational services as well. You can reflect on the history and icons of Viseu through its opening video, time capsule, ancient jewels, Roman altar, coins, city charter, and other archaeological artifacts and valued works of art.

House of Memories

Address: R. Árvore 1 7, 3500-087 Viseu, Portugal

Website: House of Memories

Opening hours: Tue: 2pm - 6pm; Wed - Sun: 10am - 1pm, 2pm - 6pm (closed on Mon)

Enjoy the rich culture of Viseu

If you love delving into arts and culture, Viseu should definitely be on your next list of destinations. From admiring the breathtaking architecture of classic churches to discovering their local pop culture in indie bars, Viseu offers plenty to its visitors. Check out the top things to do in Viseu, Portugal, and start planning your itinerary.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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