Barcelos Mini Guide
Tell me About Barcelos
Barcelos is a town in the Braga district of northern Portugal. It is an attractive market town with medieval walls on a plateau by the river Cavado. It is famous for the Barcelos Cockerel – a brightly painted ceramic cockerel which is the symbol of Portugal and signifies good luck.
So, What’s the Story?
Many years ago, a local rich man had a party and found out that his silvery cutlery had been stolen. The man accused a pilgrim and he went to court, unfortunately the judge did not believe his pleas and sent him to the gallows. The judge was about to eat a roasted cockerel when the pilgrim said ‘If I am innocent, that cockerel will crow three times!’ Just as he was about to be hanged, the cockerel crowed three times and the judge released the pilgrim. The pilgrim returned to Barcelos and made a statue of the cockerel to commemorate the event.
How can I get There?
If you are in Portugal already, there are trains to Barcelos from Porto
and buses will get you around the area. Porto Airport
is the nearest, if you are travelling from further afield and from here you can take a taxi or drive using the A28 and A11.
What can I see in the Town?
Start at the Campo da Republica, the main square with its renaissance fountain. Just north of the square is the 18th century church of Nosso Senhora do Terco, a former monastery decorated inside with panels of tiles showing monks at work and the last supper. The church of Bom Jesus da Cruz built in 1705 is octagonal in shape and has a tiled cupola and elaborate chandeliers. See the open air archaeological museum and ruins of the Dukes of Braganca Palace, you will also see a 15th century cross telling the town’s famous story of the cockerel. You could also visit the pottery museum where they have over 6,000 pieces.
What Else can I do?
Go shopping at the Thursday market in Campo da Republica, it is the largest weekly market in Portugal. There you will find everything from local produce to souvenirs and clothing. You can also take a look at the Centro do Artesanato de Barcelos, you can take home locally made copperware and table linen or of course the famous Barcelos cockerel. You can also visit the 'factory' in Viana where the costumes are made for the Feats of Crosses carnival.
Are There any Special Festivals?
The Feast of Crosses is held every May and has a 500 year old history. It is held in the Senhora de la Cruz, where a cobbler saw a vision of a cross etched into the ground and they built a church in that place.