The Marques de Pombal was soley responsible redesigning the town after a flood annihilated everything. He designed the town on a grid-like design and managed to achieve all this rebuilding in only 5 months. He was considered the greatest civil engineer Portugal ever had.
In the middle of the town is the Praca Marques de Pombal. In the centre of the square is an obelisk which was put there in 1775 and is a monument to Jose I. Surrounding the square are lovely 18th century houses. There is also the townhall a church and an ex guardhouse.
One of the main thoroughfares, pedestrian fare which runs from the seafront, past the main square. You will also find the Manuel Cabanas Museum in this strip.
Stores sell anything from kitchen utensils and appliances to linen and groceries.
Walking around the town, life is slow paced and quiet. Locals sit around chatting or quietly go about their business or shopping. The passing tourist is not hassled or bothered except maybe just a little down on the riverfront.
The rectangle square was erected by the Marquês of Pombal, who also rebuilt Lisbon, after a tsunami-like wave hit the town in 1774. An obelisk stands in the center of the square, which is paved with inlays of black-and-white tiles radiating like sunrays.
The church has quite a collection of 18th century statues including a very well known Our Lady of the Incarnation (Nossa Senhora Da Encarnacao) which was created by Machado de Castro.
The 18th century Igreja Matriz sits in the Marquês de Pombal Sq and over time
suffered damage from fire on several occasions.
In 1998 a new marina was been built in Vila Real de San Antonio and can accommodate 340 vessels. There is fuel available at this marina also along with electricity and water.
This statue on the esplanade has the inscription ‘E que nao ha um ceu de tal splendor’ which translates to ‘And that has not a heaven of such splendor’. I’m not sure of its significance.
Along the riverfront are lovely gardens with colourful bouganvillias and the paved footpaths are decorated in marine type mosaics. From the Avenue you can get a great view over to Ayamonte in Spain.
The tourist office in Vila Real de Santo António is in the old fish market (now the cultural centre). They are open 9.30am - 1.00pm and 2.00pm – 5.30pm Mon-Fri.
Vila Real de Santo António is a good example of 18th-century town planning. In addition the buildings are white or light-yellow painted and have usually two floors.