A mere 2.5 km/1.5 miles away towards Sabrosa, you will find Casa de Mateus, an amazing XVIII century manor house with gorgeous gardens. Designed by the Italian architect Nicolau Nasoni, Mateus is considered one of the most beautiful houses in Portugal and is truly unmissable.
Casa de Mateus organizes wine tastings and grape-treading during the harvest. Click here to book your visit. Casa de Mateus is also an important cultural and artistic hub. You can see the calendar of events here: Activities
The historical centre of Vila Real lies 2.5 km/1.5 miles west of Levada. You will discover several buildings of architectural interest such as the Town Hall, the Gothic Cathedral with stained glass windows by the painter João Vieira, St. Peter’s Church and the Capela Nova.
The University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro Botanical Gardens (Jardim Botânico UTAD) are well worth a visit.
The Municipal Market is on Tuesday and Friday mornings. On market days, the town springs to life as locals from surrounding villages come to sell their wares and shop for whatever they are missing.
The Corgo River rises in Vila Pouca de Aguiar. Casa Agrícola da Levada is on one of its banks and the river winds through the Corgo Park, the town and the Douro Valley vineyards. It finally flows into the Douro in Peso da Régua, 44 km/27 miles from its source. When you come out of the main gate, turn left and cross the bridge. To your right, where you can begin a 3 km/1.8 mile walk along the Corgo river all the way to the Forest Park and the centre of Vila Real.
You can also walk along the new footbridges over the Corgo river, along the cliffs in the city of VIla Real.
Casa Lapão has been the home of the famous Cristas de Galo for over a hundred years, and a visit is mandatory if you have a sweet tooth. These delicious convent sweets won the coveted 7 Maravilhas Doces de Portugal award in 2019.
The beautiful black pottery of Bisalhães was classified as UNESCO Intangible World Heritage in 2016. It is baked in ovens dug directly into the ground by burning broom, pine needles and crocus. Smothered in
smoky soil, the clay pieces acquire their characteristic tones of dark grey and black in the village of Bisalhães, 8 km/5 miles from Levada.
The pieces are sold by the potters themselves in Vila Real. You will find further information about the black pottery of Bisalhães (in English) on the Unesco site here.
Velharias Morais is an antiques and second-hand warehouse 5 km/3 miles from Levada, in the village of Constantim. It is a fascinating collection of curios, heirlooms and bric-a-brac. You’ll find it hard to leave empty-handed!
7 km/4 miles away on the road to Sabrosa, you will find the Panóias Sanctuary, an important Roman temple from 2-3 AD. For visiting hours, please click here.
The Quintela Tower in Vila Marim, 8 km/5 miles from Levada, is a rare Portuguese example of a Gothic square tower. Built from 1248 to 1279, with 10 m/30-foot sides and almost 30 m/90 feet tall, it was classified as a National Monument in 1910 and can be visited by appointment.
For adventurous children and teenagers, the karting track in Vila Real can be a good plan.
Local Markets and Fairs
The Municipal Market is on Tuesdays and Friday, from 7 AM to 1 PM. You’ll find local produce from small-scale farmers on the top floor. On Saturdays until 1 PM, the Organic Market is in the same location.
On Tuesday and Fridays, the Feira de Levante, in Lordelo, sells everything from clothes and shoes to kitchen utensils and tools.
On the second Saturday of every month, there is a Flea Market and Collector’s Fair in the Town Hall square.
The Cattle and Livestock Market rotates between Lordelo (1st and 3rd Sundays of the month) and Senhora da Pena (2nd and 4th Sundays).
Regular Local Events
Casa de Mateus organizes concerts and cultural events all year round, many of which are open to the general public. For more information about their current activities, please click here.
Vila Real Cathedral holds monthly organ concerts. For details, please click here.
In June, the Festas da Cidade include the Vila Real circuit (auto racing), the Maronês Cattle Fair and show (an endemic breed of cattle) and the Festival of St. Anthony (June 12th) and St. John (June 23rd).
They culminate with the festival of St. Peter (June 28th an 29th) and the Feira dos Pucarinhos, a clay pot and handicrafts fair in the main street of Vila Real, where you can buy Agarez lace and Bisalhães pottery.
In August, neighboring villages truly come alive when Portuguese emigrants return home for their summer holiday. Village celebrations with music and dancing take place in most villages. There is no official program as such, but the celebrations are usually announced by pretty loud fireworks.