Vila Real de Santo António is a town and a community (about 12,000 inhabitants) in the same-named county.
Coordinates: 37° 12′ N, 7° 25′ W
The place is situated by the mouth of the Rio Guadiana. Until the beginning of the 17th century the fishing village Santo Antonio de Avenilha had lied here, which had been completely destroyed by a heavy seaquake. In 1774 the Marquês de Pombal made a town be constructed in order to demonstrate strength towards the Spanish after the earthquake of 1755 and the destructions in Castro Marim and other border towns. The time of construction was only 5 months. The Marquês had already rebuilt large parts of Lisbon and had been able to collect experience there. A fishing association was founded and the shipbuilding was subsidised. After the King had died, the Marquês fell into disgrace and the town faded into obscurity for more than 100 years. Afterwards, until app. 1960, here were caught tuna and sardines, so that the place flourished again.
The streets of the town run parallel to each other and are designed like a chessboard.
The cultural center of the town is framed by four streets.
One can see and discover many things in town, as e. g. this public bath in the pedestrian zone.
The pedestrian area offers a big range of shops, banks, restaurants, snackbars and cafés.
The central square Praça do Marquês de Pombal. Here it is always busy, and gastronomic establishments lead on to linger.
Old structure at the port promenade along the Rio Guadiana. The promenade goes toward south, crosses the park Jardim da Avenida da República and continues then toward the Atlantic (roughly 1,200 m).
From the harbour exists a regular ferry service to the Spanish place Ayamonte. This had been the only connection to Spain until the highway bridge running northern was constructed.