Póvoa de Varzim

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About Póvoa de Varzim

Póvoa de Varzim is a Portuguese city in the Norte Region and sub-region of Greater Porto, with a estimated population of 67,105. It is located in a sandy coastal plain, just south of Cape Santo André, halfway between the Minho and Douro rivers.

Permanent habitation in Póvoa de Varzim dates back to around four to six thousand years ago, around 900 BC, unrest in the region led to the establishment of a fortified city. The ocean has played an important part in its culture and economy, through maritime trade, and later through fishing, leading it to acquire a Foral in 1308 and to become, in the 18th century, the main fishing port in northern Portugal. Since the late 19th century, its beaches have helped it become one of the main tourist areas of the region.

Póvoa de Varzim is one of the few legal gambling areas in Portugal, and has significant textile and food industries. The town has a rich seafood cuisine, and retains ancient customs such as the writing system of siglas poveiras and the masseira farming technique.

Photo of Póvoa de Varzim

Another photo of Póvoa de Varzim

What to do in Póvoa de Varzim

Nossa Senhora da Conceição Fortress (Fortaleza da Nossa Senhora da Conceição), mostly known as Castelo da Póvoa (Castle of Póvoa) is a Portuguese fortress in Póvoa de Varzim rebuilt in the reigns of Peter II and John V (between 1701 and 1740) to defend the town from privateers, in the site of an earlier fort known as “Forte de Torrão”. It is considered a listed property of Public Interest in Portugal.

The Nossa Senhora das Dores church is located in a small hill where, prior to the 18th century, the Senhor do Monte (Lord of the Hill) was celebrated in an ancient chapel.
The alteration in evocation occurred on July 24th 1768, when the archbishop granted authorization for the placement of the Senhora das Dores icon in the chapel to a group of Latin Grammar students studying in a school in the square. These students where devotees of Our Lady, and were helped by some residents to achieve that goal. From then on the renovation of the chapel started and extended throw time, the chapel name was renamed to Capela da Virgem Santíssima Senhora das Dores (Chapel of the Holly Virgin Lady of Pains) and became very popular. The brotherhood had its statutes approved in 1769.

Casino da Póvoa (Póvoa Casino) is a casino located in Póvoa de Varzim, near Porto, in Portugal. In 2006, it kept its growth at a more modest pace, only suppressed by the opening effect of Casino Lisboa, with 53.825.372 euros of profit in 2006, it became the second largest casino.

Lapa Church, officially Igreja Paroquial de Nossa Senhora da Lapa (Parish Church of Our Lady of Lapa) is a Parish church in the Portuguese city of Póvoa de Varzim. It was built in 1772 by the local fishermen community. Despite its simplicity it has some interesting features and cultural interest such as its old lighthouse, once a link between the church and the fishermen at sea.

Photo of Fortaleza da Nossa Senhora da Conceição

Photo of Casino da Póvoa de Varzim

What to eat in Póvoa de Varzim

Póvoa de Varzim is well-served by good restaurants where distinct gastronomic traditions meet: on one hand, the Minho’s cooking based upon meat and, on the other hand, the Póvoa’s traditional cooking, this one, naturally, honouring fish as the special guest in every recipe: “Pescada à poveiro” (Póvoa’s boiled whitefish), “Caldeirada de Peixe” (different fishes stewed together), “Arroz de sardinha” (sardine’s rice). When served with the good wine of this region “vinho verde”, these typical meals are simply delicious.

For dessert, “Rabanadas à poveira” (Póvoa’s golden toasts fried in milk and eggs with sugar) should be served with a glass of Port wine.

Photo of Pescada á poveiro

Photo of Rabanadas á pouveira

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