North of Caramulo, and just beyond the fast Aveiro–Viseu road (IP5), Vouzela is an attractive Beira town set on the beautiful Rio Vouga and makes a fine destination if you feel like taking in a little of backwater Portugal. Bus services run from Coimbra and Aveiro and, on reaching the Vouga, follow the route of the old train line along the river on the N16. For drivers there are equally bucolic approaches, from Caramulo to the south (N228) or from Viseu and the IP5 to the east, from where the minor N337 makes a particularly memorable approach. Beyond the town lies the spa resort of São Pedro do Sul, on the Rio Sul, which flows down from the lovely Serra da Arada that flanks Vouzela to the north.
More about Portugal
Find out more
VOUZELA’s old centre is built around a shallow river, crossed by a low Romanesque bridge, overhung by willow and bordered by attractive manor houses. Beyond are the riverside gardens, manicured lawns and municipal pool, all towered over by the viaduct of the former railway which stretches across a narrow terraced gorge. You can cross both bridge and viaduct on an eight-kilometre circular walk – a board at the top of the gardens by the viaduct shows the route. Within Portugal, the town is best known for its pasteis de Vouzela (a very sweet egged-based pastry) and the local vinho Lafões (a wine similar to vinho verde). A good time to visit is the first Wednesday of the month when there’s a morning street market.
From the river, narrow Rua São Frei Gil climbs up past manor houses to a small square where you’ll find the Museu Municipal, housed in eighteenth-century former law courts. The museum has a fairly uninspiring collection of archeological remains and sacred art, though the room of old toys is more diverting. A third room hosts temporary exhibits.