A guide to the port and other information of assistance for the cruising sailor

Viana do Castelo marina map
This old sailing town is probably one of the most beautiful towns in Portugal.  The small marina is close to the centre of the town just before the old steel bridge built by Mr. Eiffel.  Be prepared for the tide flowing past the entrance. 

There is a large commercial shipyard, two builders of wooden boats and a manufacturer of GRP fishing boats, together with a good precision engineer.  All skills are available for repairs, except for a rigger. The main chandlery is at the fishing port towards the mouth of the river. 

Yachts visiting Bayona on their summer cruise would be well advised to come the extra 30 miles south to sample the complete change of culture of this beautiful area.  From here it is possible to take a bus or train to visit the Port Wine Lodges in Porto. 

Crew changes can be carried out using Porto Airport (45 minutes by taxi) and there are rail connections to Vigo and Santiago do Compestela (in Spain).

The channel is dredged to 8.0 metres and is now an all weather port.  Any bar builds up between the end of the mole and the first port hand buoy.  In heavy weather, (swell over 2 m.) keep 1/4 mile off the end of the mole and enter the river from the south, midway between the port hand buoy and the inner mole.  At night, enter with the rear leading light bearing 005 degrees.  ( The former green leading light for use of the pilots have been expunged). 

For the marina, follow the buoyed channel moving over to the port side of the river after passing the commercial harbour. 

There is an obstruction in the marina entrance at about 2.5m below LWS and on spring tides, deep draft vessels should wait for the tide. 

It is an excellent, safe place to keep a boat in the water for winter but Povoa de Varzim 20 miles south is the place for a lift out and hard standing. 
Marina view - Eiffel bridge
A swinging pedestrian bridge has been built at the marina entrance and there is a waiting pontoon down stream of the entrance be near the conspicuous riverfront building.

If the bridge is open, tie up at the fuel berth on the starboard side and ask the marina staff for instructions

In 2008 it is expected that a new marina for visiting yachts will be opened in the fishing harbour.  to enter follow the leading lights towards the shipyard, On leaving the river, turn to starboard into the new marina.

The town has many hotels, restaurants and bars.  The main market is on Fridays with farm produce also being sold on Tuesdays. The Yacht Club bar will produce snack meals or (pass the first restaurant by the marina entrance!) and go into the old town where there are numerous good value eating places to chose from. 

A prominent high rise building is behind the garden alongside the marina (with plans for its demolition). Camping gas is sold at the iron mongers along side this building.  The town has a small Pingo Doce supermarket (with the bread shop next door offering good cheap set menu lunches). 

The main hyper market is about 1.5 kms. away.  Follow the road upstream behind the marina office and pass the youth hostel (Pousada de Juventude), the bull ring and go under the new road.  Take the first left turn and the Continente hyper market is on the corner by the traffic lights.  Here again, there is a good cheap place for lunch inside.  In this road is also the Viana Pottery factory where you can watch a room full of people hand painting the traditional plates. 

The Youth hostel behind the marina allows Internet access and the use of the bar.  They also have 9 budget priced rooms with en suite bathroom which can be useful for crew changes or family visits. All ages are welcome but join your local association before arrival. 

A visit to Viana would not be complete without going up to Santa Luzia Temple which overlooks the town. The vernacular railway leaves from near the roundabout near the conspicuous hospital, visit the temple and the museum at the rear to climb up to the zimborium (the balcony above the dome), Then visit the site of the old Celtic town reached by following the road around the top of the hill anti-clockwise. Continue up the road keeping left and have a drink on the terrace of the Pousada who are very relaxed regarding the dress of tourists! (entrance at rear) 

If the clouds are low, consider walking down river past the new buildings at the end of the main street and visit the old hospital ship 'Gil Eames'. Beside a tour of the ship, there is an interesting exhibition of fishing on the Grand Banks where the ship was stationed.

Note that Spain is one hour ahead of Portugal time wise and that there is no siesta in Portugal (unlike Spain).  In Portugal you should try to be in a restaurant around 8.00 pm. as they close early in the evening. 

Marina Vian do Castelo view

Map by Google (not always current) showing the ports each side
Use the controls on the left to zoom in and out
Below are the Latitude and Longitude of map centre,
Latitude and Longitude of map centre


Press the appropriate button to cruise along the Coast
Going NORTH 
Bayona (S) 30 m
Bayona (S) 30 m
Caminha 10 m
Leixoes 34 miles
Povoa de Varzim 23 m
Povoa de Varzim 23 m

List of Ports
Links to Accommodation
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