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A stylish experience in Vila Real

A stylish experience in Vila Real

Portugal is more than Lisbon and even more than the popular and commercially successful Algarve seaside region. The northern side of the country is rich both economically and culturally, with historic buildings and monuments galore and vivid cities with an authentic air. Today we suggest a stylish experience in Vila Real.

It is the capital city of the Vila Real District located in Northern Portugal, the biggest city in the region and a place with a long history of habitation, dating back to the paleolithic age. The name – Vila Real – means “the Royal Town” and was established by King Denis of Portugal at the end of the 13th century in order to host the royal family. The elegant atmosphere, regal even, is a result of the particular history of the city.

In the 18th century, vineyards were introduced here and the best red, rose and white wine varieties have been produced for export ever since.

The most famous landmark in Vila Real is the baroque Mateus Palace, the 18th-century residence commanded by the  Morgado de Mateus, Antonio Jose Botelho Mourao. Some regard it as the most fabulous house in Portugal and the construction is impressive indeed. Couple this with the legendary Mateus Rose wine and you get a recipe for a perfect tourist attraction. There is a fantastic 1745 baroque mansion to explore, a splendid garden, one of the most beautiful in Europe, full of stone statues, fountains and a 35-meter long cedar tunnel. You can even hire a guide to walk you through the entire ensemble. But the building alone is reason enough to want to visit Vila Real.

Not that there weren’t other places to see in town. The 19th-century Town Hall is beautiful, as well as the 15th-century Dominican monastery turned Cathedral.

With Vila Real car rental you can explore these and more.