Viana do Castelo, Portugal

By Vince Meleski
This item appears on page 31 of the September 2015 issue.

While visiting northern Portugal with my wife, Kay, in September 2014, we spent two nights at Casa do Ameal (Rua do Ameal, 119, 4900 – 585 Meadela, Viana do Castelo, Portugal; phone +351 91 420 62 27,

When we arrived, the owner, Isbel, came down the front steps to greet us and take us to our room. The beautiful house, purchased in 1669, is still in the same family. It was converted to a bed-and-breakfast a little over 30 years ago.

We spent time walking the grounds, which made us feel like we were in a botanical garden. Many fruits have been grown on the property, and the flowers were gorgeous. Breakfasts were sliced meats, cheeses, fruit and rolls.

Casa do Ameal is a member of Solares de Portugal (www.portugal, a group of beautiful, old family homes providing lodging in Portugal. Our room cost 90 (near $100) per night. We highly recommend a stay. 

Isbel recommended restaurants for dinner, and both were excellent. We had a wonderful experience at O Manel (Praça da Liberdade, A2-A4, Viana do Castelo) and felt it was the best meal during our 10 days in Portugal. 

We had rustic wheat bread, fish fritters and shrimp fritters for starters. I had grilled squid with potatoes, and Kay had grilled sole with potatoes. We had a liter of house white wine with the meal, and it all cost 35.50 (near $40). Two waiters took excellent care of us.

The second evening, we ate at an excellent fish restaurant, Taberna do Valentim (Rua Monsenhor Daniel Machado 180, 4900-356, Viana do Castelo; phone +351 258 827 505). Sharing a bottle of wine, we had grilled turbot and grilled sole for a very reasonable $50, total. We sat next to a German couple who were returning to the restaurant for the eighth year in a row!


Cullman, AL