Outside Porto: Santa Maria da Feira

Discover cities in Portugal with AtWill’s tips!


Santa Maria da Feira is a small charming city located 33 km away from Porto (30 min. car ride). With its 18.000 inhabitants, the city has a strategic position that made this area a place of encounters and passage during times, being on the way between Lisbon and Braga and also between Porto and Viseu. There’s evidence of occupancy dated from a very long time ago: it was found traces of funeral monuments dating back to 400 to 500 years B.C!

The past makes itself present in many places in Santa Maria da Feira: fragments of a roman occupation, medieval castle, baroque churches, and convents… Today we share with you some information about this gems and hopefully you’ll feel like visiting :)

The Romariz citadel is one of the most important archeological stations in the north area of Portugal. The citadel was erected in the 5th century B.C and was occupied until the 1st century A.C. Here it was found numerous types of pottery, glasses, iron and coins, many of indigenous origins, indicating the cultural exchange that marks this area.

To visit, contact in advance (a week before) the association responsible for guided tours in the area: or +351 965 441 627.

Santa Maria da Feira Castle is probably the higher point in town! This notable military monument has unique defensive features that date back to the period between the 11th and 16th centuries – many of which were very innovative for its time! The castle is a strong symbol for the city and had many uses throughout the time: bulwark during the Norman invasions, fortress during the Catholic reconquest, military headquarters and even residence of royals and nobles.Today, after a conservation and remodeling project, the castle is a cultural equipment and it is open to visitation:

November to March: On weekdays, from 9 am to 12:30 pm | 1 pm to 5 pm. On weekends and holidays, from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm | 1 pm to 5:30 pm.
April to October: On weekdays: from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm | 1:30 pm to 6 pm. On weekends and holidays, 10 am to 12:30 pm | 1:30 pm to 6:30 pm.
Closes on Mondays. Tickets cost 3 euros (discounts are available).

Lóios Convent and Museum

This museum, located in an ancient convent, has an archeological and ethnological collection about the local history, with objects that represent the occupancy of the territory, its history and manners – arts, crafts, traditions, religion and other aspects that determine its identity.
Visiting hours: October to April: Tuesday to Friday, from 9:30 am to 5 pm.
May to September: Tuesday to Friday, from 9:30 am to 6 pm. Saturday and Sundays from 2:30 pm to 5 pm. Tickets cost 1 euro.

The beautiful Espírito Santo Church (translates as Holy Spirit church) is part of the Lóios complex. Its construction began in the 16th century and continued through the following centuries. The outside is complemented by a gorgeous set of stars and fountain, and on the inside you can see beautiful wood carving works!

We hope you enjoy our suggestion and go check Santa Maria da Feira! And remember: if you want to learn more about the history of Porto and the north of Portugal, book a History Master Class with us :)

Photos: TripAdvisor| Turismo de Portugal|portodigital.pt|Mapio.net|A Terceira Dimensão