An industrialized county, it was inhabited since remote times as several remains from the Neolithic and Roman periods found at the region show.
Indeed, the well-known thermal waters of Vizela were already used by the Romans, who built the first public baths at the site to benefit from the medicinal qualities of the sulphurous waters sprouting from natural springs at a temperature of 60º C (140º F).
Besides its thermal spa, the county offers visitors other attractions, from interesting monuments to a beautiful landscape and the possibility of practising several leisure activities, such as rowing, tennis or fishing.
The architectural patrimony includes, among other features, the Roman bridge at the parish of São João, once part of the military road between Amarante and Braga, the Palace of Gominhães (1280), the Mother Church of Saint Michael (13th century) and the Casa de Sá (manor-house from the end of the 17th century).
It is worth climbing up the hillside of the Monte de São Bento to visit the sanctuary, which includes a chapel from the 14th century, and admire the magnificent views from the belvedere, a sight which may be equally enjoyed from the top of the hill of Santo Adrião, with its lovely chapel in pre-Romanesque style consecrated to Our Lady of the Torch.
To enjoy moments of tranquillity, the Spa Park offers unusual vegetation, a large lake and springs of water, whereas the picturesque «Bica Quente» (hot spurt), at the heart of the town, has a tiny fountain with a jet of sulphurous waters.
Vizela is named after the river which crosses the valley between beautiful banks of lush vegetation and spots where old wind and water mills may still be seen.
The county also boasts of an excellent gastronomy with appetizing dishes of cod, grilled octopus, veal and oven-cooked kid, but the local speciality is undoubtedly the typical pão-de-ló coberto
, a kind of sponge-cake with slightly moist dough sprinkled with sugar and unique in Portugal because of its rectangular shape.