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Sports in Viana do Castelo

It’s official.


Viana do Castelo is the European City of Sport in 2023.


The city of Minho received this distinction by ACES EUROPE, at the European Parliament, in Brussels.


The title was won thanks to the infrastructures that exist in Viana do Castelo and that make it possible to host competitions and sporting events of various modalities.


As if that were not enough to receive this distinction, the municipality of Minho has many inhabitants who are federated athletes. In total, there are 4,500 federated athletes and around 10,000 non-federated ones, distributed by 88 clubs and collectives of 50 different sports.


And as Viana do Castelo is now the European City of Sport, there will be no shortage of competitions and championships taking place in the municipality for many of its athletes to participate.


Throughout 2023, there will be around 365 sporting events of various modalities that you can watch, such as local, regional, national and international competitions.


One of the places where most of these competitions will take place is at the Cultural Center of Viana do Castelo, a place that is part of the cultural route of the Minho city and that has the capacity to receive 4000 people.


However, if in addition to watching sporting competitions, you like to practice sports, there are several activities waiting for you in Viana do Castelo.


Some of the most famous in the city are:



A very diversified offer for sports lovers.


Keep reading and get to know each of these activities in Viana do Castelo.


Sport Fishing


For those who enjoy fishing or have always been curious about this activity, you can try sport fishing in Viana do Castelo.


Pesca Desportiva em Viana do Castelo


The good thing about sport fishing is that you don’t need to be a professional fisherman to do it.


This activity is prepared so that anyone can fish. Know or not to fish.


To make it easier for everyone, from 8 to 80 years old, the most common form of sport fishing uses just a fishing rod and line, sinker, hook and artificial bait.


Generally, the species that are fished are Marlin, Rainbow Trout, Sea Bass, Tucunaré and Common Carp.


Can you imagine the pride you’ll feel when you sit down and taste a tasty fish that was caught by you?


A sensation that you will only feel when experiencing this sport fishing adventure in Viana do Castelo.




Canoeing in Viana do Castelo is the best way to connect with nature and the Lima River, while having fun and practicing sports.


Canoagem em Viana do Castelo


As the waters on the Lima River are not agitated, canoeing experiences in Viana do Castelo are quite calm and relaxing.


The descents by the river are made with the maximum safety conditions, which provides a relaxed and very fun time with family or friends and without worries.


Therefore, canoeing in this Minho city is a mix between tourism and adrenaline along the Lima River.




The beaches of Viana do Castelo are excellent for surfing.



As the city is located at the mouth of the River Lima, it benefits, throughout the year, from the “onshore” wind, that is, the wind comes from the sea and closes the wave more quickly.


Therefore, if you are a surfer, you will love surfing on the beaches of Viana.


The most famous among the surfing community are Cabedelo beach, Arda beach and Afife beach, where the waves easily reach two meters in height.


Close to Cabedelo beach, there are several surf shops at your disposal, if you need to buy or rent surf equipment. If you also need your board repaired, there are also workshops close to the beach.


And if you’ve never surfed before, but are curious to try it out during your holidays, you can always take part in a class for beginners, at one of the several schools that are close to the beaches of Viana do Castelo.


The best known are the Acrobatic Wave School, the Feelviana Sport Center and the XLife Surf School.




However, if surfing is not your thing, there are always other options for water sports to practice in Viana do Castelo.


One of the most therapeutic and that helps fight stress is sailing.


And contrary to what many people think, sailing is an easy sport for everyone to try.


Vela em Viana do Castelo


To help in the first experiences, the Escola do Clube de Vela de Viana do Castelo is at your disposal if you want to give this sport a chance.


In addition to being therapeutic, sailing also helps to exercise the body, due to the maneuvers that are performed to control the boat. Some force is needed to hoist/stretch a sail or to counterbalance a sailboat.


But, despite having to use some strength, it is an effort that is well worth it, as there is nothing like the freedom and contact with nature that this sport provides.


Undoubtedly, an experience worth adding to your list of adventures in Viana do Castelo.




Another water sport that is part of the sports culture of Viana do Castelo is rowing.


Remo em Viana do Castelo


Rowing is practiced on rivers, lakes, coves, in the sea and even on lanes built specifically for this sport.


It can be done in groups of up to eight people or individually.


This is one of the sports that requires the most physical preparation to be done.


This happens because, in addition to being a speed sport, in rowing athletes have to use their whole body to get the boat moving as quickly as possible.


For this very reason, athletes in this modality are very strong and muscular and have a great aerobic capacity.


But if you’re curious to try this sport and don’t have the physical preparation for it, don’t worry.


There is a particular category for the common citizen, which is adapted to the physical conditions of the normal standard of the population.


The category is “light weight” and gives everyone the possibility to experience the activity of rowing.


In Viana do Castelo, there is the Viana Remadores do Lima club, which allows any citizen to rowing and have a moment of relaxation and connection with nature during their holidays.


However, if you don’t want to venture into the water, you can always live the experience indoors. In this category, equipment is used in a closed space.


But, despite having the same benefits for your body as rowing at sea, indoor rowing does not provide the same experience of contact with nature.


Underwater Diving


If exploring the bottom of the sea has always been a curiosity for you, in Viana do Castelo you will have the opportunity to satisfy your desire.


At the Mare Vitae center and at Cavaleiros do Mar you can go diving.


In addition to having the support of professionals, in both places, you have all the material you need, from the regulator, to the stabilizer vest and the diving bottle.


And don’t worry. If you have never done diving before, the activity will be adapted for beginners.


Therefore, don’t be afraid.


Mergulho em Viana do Castelo


Underwater Diving is a relaxing sport that provides unique sensations.


Many people who have tried it say that the feeling is as if they were flying.


Others say diving is a great way to disconnect from the world. This is because the bottom of the sea provides a silent and serene environment.


There are even scientific studies that show how underwater diving is capable of greatly reducing stress. The justification is that the descent to depths between twenty and thirty meters, combined with breathing control, has an anti-stress effect on our brain.


As if all of this weren’t enough reason to do this activity during your holidays in Viana do Castelo, diving is a sport that also helps you burn calories.


In a dive lasting 45 minutes it is possible to burn between 450 and 500 calories.


Another positive point is that you can do this activity with all your family or friends, without leaving anyone out. From the age of 8, everyone can dive, without restrictions.


You just have to present a medical certificate that proves that there are no contraindications for practicing this sport.


If you don’t have any contraindications, enjoy and dive into Viana do Castelo. Discover landscapes that are only possible to see at the bottom of the sea.


Walking & Cycling


Viana do Castelo is one of the best destinations to practice water sports.


However, for those who prefer to go hiking or cycling, the Minho city and its surroundings also offer fantastic trails for walking and enjoying beautiful landscapes, while doing sport.


In 2023, a project was even implemented in Alto Minho that has 10 Walking & Cycling centers spread across 10 mountain villages in the region.


According to the Alto Minho Intermunicipal Community, these villages are “connected through thematic routes and the network of greenways – ecovias and ecopaths along the Minho, Lima and Vez river axes, and the coast”.


Walking e Cycling em Viana do Castelo


One of the most famous trails in Viana do Castelo is the Lima River Ecovia, with a route of approximately 70 kilometres.


This trail passes through the municipalities of Viana do Castelo, Ponte de Lima, Ponte da Barca and Arcos de Valdevez.


If you choose this trail, along your Walking or Cycling journey, you can glimpse rural paths by the riverside, meadows, fishing grounds on the route to the spawning of the lamprey and wooden walkways.


You will also cross the Protected Area and Wetland of International Importance of Lagoas de Bertiandos and S. Pedro d’Arcos.


On the Wikiloc website, you can find out about all the trails in the municipality of Viana do Castelo and its surroundings.


Viana do Castelo is, therefore, a city that breathes sport, in other words, the European city of sport.


It is the ideal place for active holidays, but with lots of leisure and peace in the mix.


In addition to the sports offers, Viana do Castelo also presents an architecture route that you can follow and a route of sweets and typical dishes to replenish the energy spent during physical activities.


And as rest is also essential to replenish energy, don’t forget to book your stay at the AP Dona Aninhas to enjoy a high quality rest during your holidays in Viana do Castelo.


Enjoy this Minho city to the fullest.