The right bank of the river Cálvado is overlooked by the charming old town of Barcelos, which roots date back to Roman times. During the 15th century, it became the residence of the first Duke of Bragança. The palace that lies in ruins after an earthquake in 1755 and today is an open-air museum. The ancient streets are lined with houses in the baroque style. Most shops here sell handmade and painted ceramics which the town is famed for. You will also encounter the Barcelos rooster in various sizes and guises. The legend of the Barcelos Rooster, Portugal's national symbol has brought the town its fame. With MADABOUTPORTO.COM as your guide, you'll learn the best places to eat, sleep, how to get there and what to do once you're there.
Igreja Bom Jesus da Cruz
Just as legendary is the large weekly market held every Thursday in the town square; Campo de República, centred by a renaissance fountain. One of the largest in Europe, the market sells almost anything you can imagine, at reasonable prices. Including a wide range of handicrafts, lace, wickerwork, local ceramics, clothes, shoes, livestock, food and of cause… a wide selection of ceramic Barcelos roosters. Best to arrive early as it can get busy around mid-morning, a great place for buying your souvenirs.
Constructed in 1705 and topped with a red-tiled cupola, the handsome octagonal church of Bom Jesus da Cruz stands on the site of a miracle. In 1504 a local cobbler saw a miraculous apparition of a cross on the floor of the chapel, that originally occupied this space. Inside it is richly decorated with gilt, tile panels, and illuminated by elaborate chandeliers. During May every year, the vision of the cross is celebrated during A Festa Das Cruzes (the festival of the crosses).
Largo da Porta Nova 4750-329 Barcelos, Portugal. | 41° 31' 54" N | 08° 37' 09" W
The legend originates from medieval Barcelos, a popular staging post for pilgrims on their way to the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. One fateful day, an exhausted pilgrim decided to rest in a Barcelos' inn, during the time the inhabitants were in an uproar because of the theft of silver stolen from a local landowner and they were on the hunt for the culprit. Suspicion soon fell on the stranger. The pilgrim was immediately arrested, accused of the crime and condemned to death by hanging.
Eager to prove his innocence the pilgrim asked to be taken to the local judge to appeal his case. But the sceptical judge simply ignored the pilgrim's appeals, stating that there was no evidence of his innocence. The pilgrim subsequently fell to his knees and asked for gods help. Unexpectedly, he pointed to the roasted rooster on the table and proclaimed that this cock will crow at the hour of his hanging as proof of his innocence.
The following morning the pilgrim was taken to the gallows in front of the crowds gathered to ridicule him and see justice done. The judge stood next to the roasted rooster on its platter and at the hour of punishment, all were astonished when the roasted rooster stood up and crowed. The pilgrim was hurriedly set free and continued his pilgrimage in peace. Some years later, the pilgrim returned Barcelos and erected a cross (Cruzeiro do Senhor do Galo) in honour of the Virgin and St. James that now can be found at the Archeological museum. The legend has since embedded itself in Portuguese culture and the rooster has become Portugal's national symbol.
Museu Arqueológico (Archeological Museum)
This open-air archaeological museum is the former Palace of the Dukes of Bragança, once the ruling family of Portugal. Partially destroyed by an earthquake in 1755, the site has housed precious artefacts long before it officially became a museum in 1920. Among the treasures that date back to the Roman era, are sarcophagi of various faiths of those who have lived in the area during its long history. Once again can be found the legend of the rooster carved on its most infamous exhibit the Cruzeiro do Senhor do Galo. In front of the museum stands a magnificent 16th-century Gothic pillory.
Summer: Daily: 09h00 – 19h00, Winter: Daily: 09h00 – 17h30
Paço dos Condes de Barcelos, 4750-322 Barcelos, Portugal.
41° 31' 42.6" N | 08° 37' 21.7" W | +351 253 824 741
The Archeológical museum overlooks Barcelos' medieval bridge that joins the town with Barcelinhos. Along with a keep and three small towers, its arches have been standing since the 15th century by orders of D. Afonso, eighth Count of Barcelos.
Found on a hillside out of town are the ruined remains of the Faria Hill Fort and Castle. Here you can find traces of human habitation since the Bronze Age and Roman era. The site was occupied uptown during the early medieval period. It played an important role during the creation of Portugal and its successful defence against the Kingdom of Castile. The site consists of three lines of defensive walls dating from the Iron Age in addition to the foundations of circular huts typical of the Celtiberian culture. Here too, are the remains of medieval keep and outbuildings dating from the 9th and 10th century. The site can be reached by walking the Monte da Franqueira footpath.
Rua Nossa Senhora da Franqueira, 4755-406, Pereira, Barcelos
41° 29′ 47.7″ N | 08° 38′ 49.5″ W
Castelo de Faria
The Flag Hotel Barcelos (formerly the Hotel do Terço) is located in the heart of Barcelos near the best shopping area and only a five-minute walk from the historic centre. The hotel offers 24 doubles, twelve twins and one king-size room, modernly decorated with a totally fitted bathroom.
Rua de S. Bento 7, 4750-267, Barcelos, Portugal.
41º 32' 4.2" N | 08º 37' 3.2" W
Hotel Bagoeira is located in the centre of Barcelos, in front of the famous market place Campo da Feira. It is 20 minutes from the Parque Natural do Litoral Norte, as well as the Atlantic coast. Bagoeira has 54 rooms decorated in modern style and equipped with air conditioning, telephone, satellite TV, minibar, safe, hairdryer, Internet and electronic locks. The hotel also contains the best restaurant, specialising in traditional Portuguese food.
Av. Dr. Sidónio Pais 495, 4750-333, Barcelos, Portugal.
41º 31' 53.3" N | 08º 37' 0.5" W
This tasteful bed and breakfast establishment located just outside the centre of Barcelos offers a shared lounge and free WiFi. Continental and buffet breakfast options are available each morning at the bed and breakfast. A terrace is available for guests at Art'otel Barcelos to use.
Rua da Madalena nº29, 4750-315 Barcelos, Portugal.
N 41º 31' 57.8" | W 08º 37' 20.2"
Only using the freshest and, where possible, local ingredients. Pérola offers a diverse range of local favourites. Try to keep room for dessert because this is where Pérola really excels. The staff are both very friendly and efficient, they're happy to cater for you if you're just popping in for coffee and a cake or organising a special event.
Daily: 12h00 - 15h00/19h00 - 22h00
Avenida Combatentes Grande Guerra 66/70, 4750-279, Barcelos, Portugal.
41° 32' 02.9" N | 08° 36' 59.3" W
+351 253 811 416
Specialising in regional dishes with a policy of using the freshest ingredients. A large dessert menu, extensive wine list and a cosy atmosphere make this a romantic establishment.
Tuesday - Sunday: 12h00 - 15h00/19h00 - 22h00, Monday: 12h00 - 15h00
Rua Santa Leocádia 1415,4755-392 Pedra Furada, Barcelos, Portugal.
41° 28' 30.8" N | 08° 38' 12.9" W
+351 252 951 144
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Restaurante Muralha is renowned for serving great meals at reasonable prices. Portions are so very generous. I'm sure they're created to share. For pilgrims passing through Barcelos on the Caminho de Santiago, there's a prix fixe three-course lunch for only €10.00. Service is cordial yet professional, where nothing is too much trouble. On the menu, you'll find all the usual suspects, their duck rice (Arroz de pato) is particularly very good. Good choice of wines on the menu too, the waiter will be more than happy to make a recommendation for you.
Daily: 12h00 - 15h30/19h00 - 22h30
Largo da Porta Nova 1, Barcelos 4750-329, Portugal.
41º 31" 50.9' N | 08º 37" 08.7' W
+351 253 812 042
Barcelos is 52km52km (32 miles) North of Francisco de Sá Carneiro Airport PORTO. Website
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From Porto take the A28 north to Vila do Conde, turn right on the N306 to Barcelos.
Latitude - 41' 31' 53" N Longitude - 08° 37' 01" W
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Regular trains from Campanhã station in Porto, use the Regional train service (comboios regionais) Linha do Minho. (50mins): Train Timetable | Comboios de Portugal Website
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