Vila Nova de Cerveira itself has a history going back at least until the 13th century when a castle was built over looking the strategic point along the rio minho opposite the Galician territory. It's name comes from the deer ("cervo") populations of those days.
It promotes itself as the Village of Arts - Vila d'Arte and hosts a bi-annual event in july where a variety of art forms are given encouragement and display. Including poetry, painting, sculpture, theater and music.
To quote a line from the Cerveira website, "We welcome you to a perfect symbiosis of nature combined with history, art, culture, and gastronomy."
Bienal de Cerveira - Vila Nova de Cerveira
Every summer the town has a medieval faire and a festa with live concerts and other events. During this time the village is decorated with designs and artwork created by people from the community.
Next to the Aqua park
with various children's activities
, close by the river Minho is the Agua-museum - the River museum
, that holds an aquarium, otters and interesting artifacts and information of the rivers history and use over the centuries.
There are numerous bars, cafes and restaurants in the locality varying between traditional Portuguese, Italian and vegetarian menus.
Supermarkets and a pharmacy are close at hand as well as the local hospital and emergency clinic.
Every Saturday the village hosts a large outdoor market where you will find everything from dress ware, house items and food along with local garden produce.
A road bridge connects Cerveira to the Spanish region of Galicia. This provides easy access to Spain and the opposite side of the river with numerous small hamlets, beaches and traditional cuisine.As well, the locality has a number of old small villages and towns of some interest.
Historical Tuy in Spain has a notable cathedral and is on the central Portuguese Camino de Santiago
as is Valença just across the river with it's magnificient castle and walled old town.
Viana do Castelo on the Portuguese coast has some fine architecture dating from the 15th cantaury and featured in Portugals first voyages of discovery.
Generally speaking the area is very rural with many small family farms
. The famous Albarinho
grape grows all along the hillsides of the Rio Minho and there are numerous boutique wineries
hosting tourism and tasting during the summer.
Abundant fine seafood
is available everywhere with the Galician octopus, Portuguese bacalhau (cod) and lamprey eel being specialities.
The little Spanish fishing port of A Guarda near the mouth of the river has many good seafood restaurants.
Upon a hill top above A Guarda (Spain) is one of the biggest intact Celtic villages
in Europe, testimony to this regions protected nature on the Atlantic extremity of Europe.
During the summer there are numerous octopus and sardine festivals around the region along with fairs and markets
of all kinds where local sausage, hams, cheese, breads, cakes, preserves and honey are displayed. At these events you're likely to hear traditional music featuring the Galician Gaita bagpipe.
Higher cultural events can be discovered between Viana do Castelo, Vigo and Braga. Once you've sampled the area I think you'll agree it's an undiscovered gem of the Iberian NW.