Vila do Conde is a lovely town located in the north region of Portugal, on the northern river bank of the river Ave, by the coastline, and it is an important industrial centre, fishing port and, every time more, a Tourist centre.
The origins of the locality are quite ancient, being occupied by Celts in the 8th century b.C, up in the hill over the actual town. From the 3rd century b.C onwards it is occupied by Romans that bring the locality further down the hill, and later it is occupied and influenced by Suebis. In the beginning of the 14th century the Order of St Clare Monastery started a new development to the town as well as, later, the development on the 15th century of the Shipyard in sequence of the Portuguese Discoveries Era and the increment of the maritime trading, augmenting the anceint connection of this town with the ocean.
Vila do Conde has several important monuments to be seen, like the gorgeous St Clare Monastery and its Church and Conventual Residence, as well as other interesting spots, like the magnificent Aqueduct with 999 round arches, from the beginning of the 18th century, the Mother Church (16th century), the Santa Catarina Chapel (15th century), the São Francisco and Misericórdia Churches, the São Roque and São Bento Chapels, or the São João Baptista Castle, or Fort, located in the lovely river Ave mouth, built to protect the port and the town’s entrance, mainly from the dangerous pirates. Also quite interesting to be seen are the quite ancient Shipyards, for wooden constructions, nowadays located in the nearby small village of Azurara.
The hole Vila do Conde’s region in rich in archaeological vestiges, with pre-historical and pre-roman vestiges throughout the municipality, like the São Paio Hill Fort in Labruge, or the Bagunte Hill Fort.
Throughout the municipality there are several manor houses and small palaces attesting the great richness that the fertile soils, the river and the ocean have provided all over the years.
Due to its proximity with the coastline, Vila do Conde region has astonishing sandy beaches, quite frequented and appreciated during summer time.
Vila do Conde is widely known for its handmade production, namely for the Bobbin Lacework (“Rendas de Bilros“), following the old tradition dating from the 16th century. All this ancient technique and knowledge can be observed in the interesting Bobbin Lacework Museum. All this interest for handicraft is quite obvious during the National Fair that takes place every year between July and August, attracting a large number of visitors.