Living Vila Verde
You were born and raised in Vila Verde. What do you think is so captivating about this council?
Vila Verde is the best place in the world to live. I may seem a bit exaggerated but I truly love my homeland. There is something about Vila Verde that enchants, attracts and captivates us.
It’s not only the land where I was born and that saw me grow up, but it is also where I chose to live. I feel good here and I think Vila Verde is really one of those lovely places that have everything.
It’s with satisfaction that I see the growth and development of our land, how it projects itself and attracts more and more people. We haven’t lost population, on the contrary, which demonstrates that Vila Verde is effectively on the right track, attracting new audiences, new people choosing to live here.
Does being very close to a large urban center like Braga have disadvantages?
Contrary to what one might think, we feel that this proximity to the city of Braga brings us surplus value. In fact, many people living in the city chose to sell their houses and build or buy a new one in Vila Verde because they feel it’s a quieter place, away from the noise and the busy city life.
Vila Verde manages to have the best of both worlds: an almost rural tranquility with an offer of a whole set of services essential for everyday life, and the proximity to a big city.
The local people are also excellent hosts...
We are very welcoming and friendly people and we like to receive well.
The local people really like their land, opening the door of their house to everyone as they open the door of their hearts.
Even young people who often turn to cities can relate with this land and feel good here. Even those who were not from Vila Verde, but who married here, ended up staying and relating to the land and its people.
If we ask you for a brief tour around the county, which places would you recommend?
Vila Verde has a vast array of attractions that is not easy to summarize. But let's start with our landscape (at north more mountainous and flattest at south) and our rivers (Homem, Cávado and Neiva) of very limpid waters, with very interesting river beaches, like Faial, Malheira or Ponte Nova. Very pleasant places that everyone likes to visit, even if it's not summer.
Then there is a diversified architectural heritage, of which I must mention Santo António Mixões da Serra, the Romanesque church of Coucieiro and the sanctuaries of Nossa Senhora do Bom Despacho and Nossa Senhora do Alívio. I would say these are places of mandatory visit.
Even a simple walk on a summer day under the green foliage of the many trees that we have here in the center of the town is by itself a delight.
Vila Verde also has a very rich cultural offer...
In fact, Vila Verde offers a cultural program that contributes greatly to all this attractiveness. Whatever the time of the year there is always something to visit and to do for anyone who visits.
I would start with the buildings of the Aliança Artesanal – Centro de Dinamização Artesanal (Craft Alliance) and the space Namorar Portugal that anchors the whole project inspired by the traditional Valentine’s handkerchiefs Lenços dos Namorados.
Also, worthy of mention are the Sacred Art Museum in Pico de Regalados and the Linho Museum in Marrancos, without forgetting the Toy and Play House and, since October 2016, the House of Knowledge with a more technological component.
The program of the event Namorar Portugal, which always takes place between the end of January and the beginning of March; The 16th Century Fair, which brings us back to the time of Sá de Miranda who lived here for more than 30 years and here produced most of his literary work; The Santo António municipal festivals; The Route of the Harvests between the beginning of August and end of November. There are numerous events throughout the year.
And in terms of gastronomy what would you highlight?
We have an excellent gastronomy. It is almost impossible to visit Vila Verde and not find a restaurant that doesn’t serve us well, with food as typical and traditional as the chicken blood rice “Pica no chão”, the Pudding “Abade de Priscos”, the roasted lamb, the “Cozido à Portuguesa” (stew with different meats), the “Tripas” and “Papas de Sarrabulho”, among many other delicacies. We have a very good gastronomy, with very well made products. And good wines too, of course.
Just the simple fact of going through the center of Vila Verde, visiting the Interactive Tourism Shop, entering spaces such as Letraria with its artisanal bear, the artisanal chocolatier or any of the restaurants or bars, I think will let everyone pleasantly surprised.
Without forgetting the role of our local commerce, properly equipped, and of our handicrafts that contribute a lot to make Vila Verde a land of many charms.
What has been the impact of the Namorar Portugal brand?
Namorar Portugal is a registered brand since 2008, that currently has 60 partners working products with the insignia of the Valentine's handkerchiefs Lenços dos Namorados. From big companies like Vista Alegre and Lameirinho, but also other medium-sized ones with stores scattered around the four corners of the world.
We can´t also Forget a group of small businesses, generally dedicated to crafts, that saw in the Namorar Portugal brand and in the products inspired by the Valentine's handkerchiefs a way to produce more, to create more wealth and to dynamize their own business.
On the other hand, we have been watching with interest the demand of the consumers, that suggests us new products to introduce in the market. A requirement that also forces our partners to be more and more innovative, creative and enterprising.
We are going through times of appreciation of what is ours, of the quality of our products and what differentiates us. Our products are beautiful and we are proud to use them. And the Namorar Portugal brand has precisely this ability to combine tradition with modernity and contemporaneity.
This special affection for the brand has already crossed borders, largely thanks to our emigrants scattered around the world. Even the foreign tourists, after being explained that the Lenços dos Namorados and the brand Namorar Portugal are all about love, feelings, and affection, and even though they can´t understand what is written on the handkerchiefs, they manage to recognize that all the embroidered words and little birds, hearts, keys and all are love symbols.
The brand has therefore fulfilled its role of promoting the assets and heritage of Vila Verde, on one hand, and on the other hand, of increasing the businesses and economy that have ceased to be local and are already international.
In a nutshell, how do you describe Vila Verde?
Vila Verde, land of a thousand and one charms!