North of Caramulo, and just beyond the fast Aveiro-Viseu road (IP5), VOUZELA is an attractive Beira town with a palpable sense of civic pride. It’s set on the beautiful Rio Vouga and makes a fine destination if you feel like taking in a little of backwater Portugal. The locals boast of the town’s pasteis de Vouzela (only for the most sweet-toothed) and the heady local vinho Lafões (similar to vinho verde). A good time to be in town is the first Wednesday of the month when there’s a morning street market.
The old centre is built around the sluggish river, crossed by a low Romanesque bridge, overhung by willow and bordered by small-town manor houses with granite steps and whitewashed plasterwork. Beyond are the riverside gardens, manicured lawns and municipal pool, towering over which is 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. 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 a former prison. Around the corner, the main road through town climbs up to Praça da República and its striking azulejo-clad thirteenth-century church.Read More