Gouveia is a small city located on the western slopes of Serra da Estrela, with panoramic views over the Mondego valley – find out everything it has to offer.

Gouveia is a small city located on the western slopes of Serra da Estrela, with panoramic views over the Mondego valley and good access to shops, restaurants and walking trails.

The historic centre is composed of large, attractive buildings in a refined style – constructed from carefully dressed and carved granite blocks that reflect the city’s historic wealth as a major wool-production centre.

The winding cobbled streets frequently open out into pleasant squares, with cafés on every corner. The town has several beautifully kept parks and public gardens and an array of fountains, statues and traditional painted tiles that give it a happy and well-loved quality.

Points of Interest

Igreja de De São Pedro

Tiled Church – One of Gouveia’s prettiest buildings is the 17th century tiled church in the main square – the Igreja de São Pedro (St. Peter’s Church). Its facade is covered almost entirely in traditional blue and white azuleijos.

Camera Municipal – Further along the same street, you will find the Camera Municipal (Municipal Chambers) whose doors are generally open to the public.

This majestic building is also well worth a peek inside because, in addition to incredible stonework and bass reliefs, it opens out inside into a set of small but beautiful courtyard gardens. Hidden between the thick granite walls, the sounds of the town are muffled. Sitting on a bench under a bower of ivy, stop here to enjoy a moment of pure peace while watching small birds flutter between the flowers.

Gouveia Camera Municipal

Things to Do

As one of the larger towns in western Serra da Estrela, Gouveia has several museums and hosts various events and festivities throughout the year.

Top places to visit include:

Art and Memory Space

Located in the former refectory of a Jesuit convent, the ‘Espaco Arte e Memoria‘ safeguards the cultural heritage, material history and collective memories of the city of Gouveia. It houses carvings, manuscripts, photos and various religious and sacred artefacts.

Museum of Miniature Cars

Exactly what is sounds like – this quaint museum, ideal for visiting with children, contains an extensive collection of model vehicles spanning all types and periods.

Abel Manta Museum of Modern Art

The former 18th century of the Count of Vinhós houses a collection of Portuguese Modernist paintings, including works by his son – famous Portuguese painter Abel Manta (1888-1982). Manta’s vivid and distinctive depictions of local scenes and traditional Portuguese ways of life are well worth the visit.

vents include:

Gouveia Art’Rock, a progressive rock festival going back more than a decade

An annual literary and painting award named after two of the greatest 20th-century Portuguese authors and artists as an homage to their home town.

FESTIVAL DA PRAÇA DAS ORIGENS

Shops

Gouveia has an active high street with a bustling and convivial atmosphere.

It is mainly composed of locally-owned shops, selling traditional and artisanal products from the area, as well as other goods.

Places to Eat

Gouveia has no shortage of cafés serving lunch and bakeries offering delicious snacks and Portuguese pastries throughout the morning and afternoon.

There exists a selection of restaurants for dinner – most of them traditional, but also including two pizza places, for those not wishing to eat out Portuguese style every night.

Amenities

Gouveia is a convenient hub to pick up necessities, including several supermarkets (Lidl, Intermarche and Continente), multiple ATMs/Multibancos and pharmacies.

Walks

In addition to being extremely pretty and bustling with shops, restaurants and activities, Gouveia is one possible starting point for hikes to Torre Peak – the highest point in mainland Portugal.

History

Anta da Pedra da Orca – The Stone Dolmen of Orca

Modern Gouveia stands on the site of an ancient settlement, said to have been established around 580BC.

The earliest material evidence of occupation is even older than this: Bronze Age funerary pottery has been unearthed nearby and in the Parish of Rio Torto one can find a dolmen (neolithic funeral monument) erected in the fourth millennium BC.