Occupying a sandy coastal plain in northern Portugal, Povoa de Varzim has been settled for at least the last 4,000 years. The modern city emerged around the 2nd century BC and flourished as a fishing port and processing centre. Since the 19th century, Povoa de Varzim has been a popular coastal resort, home to a lively harbour, beautiful beaches and seafood restaurants.
Things to do in Póvoa de Varzim
In the heart of the city is the Ethnography and History Museum of Povoa de Varzim, which occupies a 17th-century building that once housed the Viscount of Azevedo. In addition to archaeological objects from the Castro culture, it exhibits religious artwork and local fishing artefacts. The museum also features a display dedicated to the Portuguese naturalist, António Augusto de Rocha Peixoto.
Dominating the coastline is the red-and-white-striped Farol da Povoa de Varzim, which can easily be reached along the breakwater. Gaze out towards the beaches that stretch to the north or watch the boats coming and going from the fishing port. Along the breakwater is a tiled panel depicting historical scenes that was created by Fernando Gonçalves.
Povoa de Varzim makes an ideal base for visiting the Igreja de São Pedro de Rates, a former Benedictine monastery. Its church dates from the turn of the 12th century, making it one of the oldest Romanesque churches in Portugal. Admire the beautifully carved main portal and the decorative arches with sculptures of humans and beasts.
Getting around Póvoa de Varzim
Povoa de Varzim is around 30 minutes’ drive from Porto and 20 minutes from Francisco Sa Carneiro Airport, which has flights to destinations across Europe and North Africa. Subway services stop at the Povoa de Varzim station while buses travel throughout the city. The centre of Povoa de Varzim can easily be explored on foot.