Barcelos Minho | Portugal Visitor

Barcelos Minho | Portugal Visitor



Barcelos: Home of Galo de Barcelos

View of the Ponte de Barcelos and the Igreja Matriz de Santa Maria Maior

Barcelos is a town of around 120,000 inhabitants in the Minho region of northern Portugal, just 22 km west of Braga.

Though not the most beautiful of Portuguese cities (admittedly there is a lot of competition), Barcelos is famous for its huge weekly market and as the production center of the Barcelos Rooster, an iconic symbol of Portugal.

The town is however, home to a pretty medieval core, several worthwhile museums and a number of fine, historic churches.

Passeio dos Assentos (Jardim das Barrocas).
Passeio dos Assentos (Jardim das Barrocas)
Chafariz do Largo da Porta Nova, Portugal.
The Chafariz do Largo da Porta Nova and the Igreja do Bom Jesus da Cruz, Barcelos

Barcelos is located on the banks of the Cávado River which divides the town into two, Barcelos to the north and the much smaller civil parish (freguesia) of Barcelinhos to the south.

The Ponte Medieval connects the two and the road from the bridge leads up into the old part of town and the market area in Campo da Feira.

Ponte de Barcelos.
View of the Ponte de Barcelos, the Capela De Nossa Senhora Da Ponte and the suburb of Barcelinhos


Barcelos was once a Roman settlement and later was a seat of the Dukes of Bragança. The palace of the Dukes of Bragança was already in disrepair when it was destroyed by the 1755 earthquake. The ruins on the banks of the river are now the open-air Paço dos Duques – Museu Arqueológico de Barcelos (Archeology Museum) along with the adjacent 15th century, Manueline Solar dos Pinheiros.

Among the Roman columns, Medieval tombs, various pieces from ruined churches and a pillory (pelourinho) assembled here is the Cruzeiro do Senhor do Galo.

The stone cross relates to Barcelos’ most famous story, that of a 16th (some say 14th) century Galician pilgrim on his way to Santiago de Compostela in Spain who was wrongly accused of theft and sentenced to hang.

The condemned and justifiably outraged pilgrim affirmed that the very roast on the judge’s dinner table that night would proclaim his innocence. Just as said magistrate was about to begin his meal the cooked cockerel began to crow. The pilgrim was speedily released with some versions of the story having him already on the gallows with the noose around his neck. The town still stands on the Portuguese Way of the Camino de Santiago.

Barcelos Rooster.
The iconic Barcelos Rooster – a symbol of Portugal

Feira de Barcelos

The huge weekly market in Barcelos (Feira de Barcelos) takes place on Thursdays in the Campo da Feira (Campo da República). It is one of the largest such markets in Europe selling a huge and diverse range of goods including much agricultural produce, basketwork, embroidery, handicrafts, home-made food, flowers, fruit and vegetables, local louça de Barcelos pottery and textiles.

Museums & Churches

Among the churches of interest are the Igreja Matriz de Santa Maria Maior which dates from the 14th century and is Gothic in style. The rose window is of note and the bell tower was added in the 18th century. The interior consists of three naves and is lined with some exquisite azulejos tiles. The church stands close to the Paço dos Condes de Barcelos and the Pelourinho de Barcelos (pillory) near the grounds of the Archeology Museum.

The Igreja do Bom Jesus da Cruz dates from the early 18th century and is octagonal in shape. The church is Baroque in design and clearly influenced by Italian architecture of the time. Within are some fine examples of blue and white tiles and gilded woodwork. It stands close to the Chafariz do Largo da Porta Nova and the Passeio dos Assentos (Jardim das Barrocas).

The latter is an ornamental garden from the 18th century with various flower plantings, a stone gate and clipped hedges.

The plain exterior of the Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Terço (Confraria de Nossa Senhora do Terço) hides a riot of azulejos tilework within. Much of it is dedicated to the life and good deeds of St Benedict as the church was once part of a Benedictine convent.

In Barcelinhos the Igreja Matriz de Santo André Apóstolo de Barcelinhos is distinctive with its two bell towers.

Igreja Matriz de Santa Maria Maior.
Igreja Matriz de Santa Maria Maior

Barcelos is famous for its ceramic production and not just roosters. The area was home to Rosa Ramalho (1888-1977) one of Portugal’s most famous potters. The Museu de Olaria exhibits pieces of local pottery as well as traditional and contemporary styles from other parts of the country including the Azores and Estremoz.

Among the large collection of around 9,000 pieces are also exhibits from overseas including pottery from Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Chile, Spain and Timor. The museum was created in 1963 from the private collection of the ethnographer, Joaquim Sellés Paes Villas Boas and contains figurines, tiles and glazed work.

The Torre do Cimo da Vila was built in granite in the 15th century by order of the 8th Count of Barcelos, and once served as the mayor’s residence.

It was one of three towers that once protected the city walls and then served from the end of the 17th century until 1932 as a jail. It is now home to the Barcelos Handicraft Center. The tower can also be climbed and has wonderful views over the town.

The Piscina Municipal de Barcelos (Municipal Swimming Pool) on the Rver Cávado is a pleasant place to swim with one indoor and one outdoor pool. Be warned, however, that a swimming cap is required to use the facilities and cannot be purchased at the pool. Bring your own! The indoor pool is open from 1 October – 30 June with the outdoor pool open from 16 June – 15 September. Address: Rua Rosa Ramalho, 4750, Barcelos; Tel: 253815804

Torre do Cimo da Vila.
Torre do Cimo da Vila aka Torre de Barcelos


Barcelos is known for its Festa das Cruzes (Festival of the Crosses) – a festival that normally takes place in early May. The festival is celebrated with processions, flowers, light shows and concerts.

The annual Festival Internacional Folclore RIO in late July/early August features folk song and dance with participants from all over the world even as far away as South Korea. It began in 1980 and has grown into the largest of its kind in Portugal.

Barcelos shops.
Shopping in Barcelos

Barcelos Tourist Office

Largo Dr. José Novais n.º 27
4750-310 Barcelos
Tel: 253 811 882

Barcelos Station.
Barcelos Station

Getting to Barcelos


There are expresso long-distance and more local bus services to Braga, Esposende (30 minutes) and Ponte de Lima.

By car the town is a 50 minute drive, depending on the traffic, from Porto on the A3 or A28. From Braga it is 30 minutes. From Guimarães the journey by car is just over 30 minutes on the A11. From Vila Real allow around 90 minutes on the A4 and A11 going northwest.


Barcelos Station is the town’s railway station, a little east from the center. There are trains to Porto to both Campanha and São Bento stations and also north to Valença on the border with Tui in Galicia, Spain. There are also services to Braga Station in Braga.

Portugal Hotel & Hostel Accommodation

Book Accommodation in Barcelos

Hotel Bagoeira.
Hotel Bagoeira

Recommended Hotel
Hotel Bagoeira
495 Av Dr Sidonio Pais, 4750-333 Barcelos

The 3-star hotel offers spacious rooms and good food in its restaurant.

Other recommended hotels are the Art’otel Barcelos, with outdoor pool, the Barcelos Way Guest House and Residencial Solar da Estação.

See a full listing of hotels in Barcelos.

Hotels in Portugal –

Hotels in Portugal – Agoda

Hostels in Portugal –

Hotels in Spain – Agoda


There is a good selection of restaurants to choose from in Barcelos.

For excellent local Portuguese cuisine try O Ás Restaurante on Rua Padre Alfredo da Rocha Martins.

Also recommended are the excellent Turismo Restaurante Lounge and Restaurante Pedra Furada, some distance south of town.

List your restaurant/bar/hotel contact Advertising

The average high June temperatures for Portugal is between 22C and 26C.
more weather information for Portugal


Map of Barcelos.
Map of Barcelos in the Minho region


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