Cultural Facilities


Present in the city's image since 1890, the Garrett Cinema-Theatre was a private initiative, as a consequence of the city's bubbling cultural life and as a substitute for two other theatres, built of wood:  the primitive Theatre Garrett (1873) and Theatre Sá da Bandeira (1876). 

A life devoted to culture was not enough to protect his physical integrity. It was remodelled in 1938, 1954 and 1973, and almost subject to ruin on the eve of its centenary. The Municipality acquired the property in 1998 and launched a major restoration in 2005. In June 2014, the modern Garrett Cinema-Theatre is returned to the city, fully equipped and suited to the requirements of contemporary cultural programmes. The space is currently the stage for the most varied forms of art and artistic and cultural events, such as dance, concerts, literature and, above all, cinema and theatre, with more than 1000 events for a community of 270,000 spectators between 2014 and 2018.  It hosts the International Music Festival, which has been held for 40 years, and hosts some of the planned events of the Correntes d'Escritas Literary Festival. 


The Municipal Auditorium is a Concert Hall mainly for use in connection with the Music School. It arose from the intensification of cultural activities promoted by the Council and, consequently, the need to provide new spaces for the population of Póvoa. 

Its inauguration reduced the municipality's dependence on private spaces to host certain cultural activities. It hosts film cycles, presentations of small and medium-scale theatrical productions, concerts, recitals and conferences or meetings.
The building is also home to the Póvoa de Varzim Music School, which has around 200 students.


The Municipal Museum of Ethnography and History of Póvoa de Varzim, created in 1937, contains the main collection of the municipality, dedicated to the study of the territory, customs, traditions and ways of life of the community of Póvoa de Varzim, especially the fishing class.  

Installed in the Solar dos Carneiros Manor House, it has permanent exhibitions in the "Archaeology Room" and in the "Sea Room". There we find testimonies of the customs of the life on and beside the sea, in particular records of the "Siglas Poveiras" signs. As a city museum, it also exhibits sacred art from the ancient main church (16th century), a collection of ceramics (16th to 19th centuries) and archaeological items such as the Roman inscriptions of Beiriz.
It expanded throughout the territory in 2004 with the purpose of helping to understand some of the municipality's main monuments, inaugurating the Archaeological Nucleus of Cividade de Terroso and the Museum Nucleus of the Romanesque Church of S. Pedro de Rates. 

The Museum is a valuable instrument for promoting the production of research and academic literature, dedicated to the culture of Póvoa de Varzim and its relations with other maritime cultures.

The Museum has played a central role in collecting, cataloguing and the study of the elements of the siglas poveiras, as well as in the promotion of their dissemination, which is evident in international exhibitions associated with other cultures of the sea, and the regular publishing of catalogues, publications and materials for broad dissemination. The Museum, together with the Municipal Library, dialogues with the academic researchers working in the field, especially in the areas of History of Art and Semiotics.


The Museum Nucleus of the Romanesque Church of S. Pedro de Rates is an expansion of the Municipal Museum, inaugurated on 10 July 2004. Its purpose is to assist the interpretation of the Church of S. Pedro de Rates, a monument of great relevance on the Route of Santiago de Compostela. The contemporary architecture of the Nucleus is part of the existing heritage context, functioning as a point of dissemination of the history, art and archaeology of the old monastery - the greatest work of the Portuguese Romanesque period and, therefore, classified as a National Monument. Visitors will be able to see the transformations of the medieval monument, aged over 800 years. They can also see the restoration work carried out in the 1930s by the Institute of National Monuments, as well as observe the archaeological remains of more recent excavations. 

The Nucleus, under the auspices of the Municipal Museum, is an important instrument to support the production of research and academic literature on the disciplines of History, Architecture, Archaeology and Restoration.


The Archaeological Nucleus of Cividade de Terroso, an expansion of the Municipal Museum, is the centre of interpretation of the important archaeological station of the hillfort culture in North Portugal. It was inaugurated on 28 July 2004. The building built for this purpose has a reception, work area, auditorium and projections room, with the capacity to offer guided tours to small groups, thus assisting with the interpretation of any visit to the archaeological site of Cividade de Terroso.

The Cividade (a large hillfort) is part of the Northwest Network of Hillforts, the management of which is articulated with the Regional Department of Culture of North Portugal.

The policy of preservation and accessibility to the hillfort offers conditions that meet the interest of students, researchers and also writers who, inspired by this place, produce literary works such as "Uma Deusa na Bruma" by João Aguiar.


With the purpose of promoting access by the municipal council's services and the general public to information and documentation under its custody, the Póvoa de Varzim Municipal Archive has been open to the public since December 2001. It is located in a manor house built at the end of the 18th century, and adapted for that purpose.

According to its regulations, the Municipal Archives are "made up of documentation of an administrative and historical nature, irrespective of the type of medium or format, originating from the different Municipal services and as a consequence of the generic attributions of collection, selection, processing and dissemination of the respective documentation".

In its new home, the Municipal Archives now offers guided tours, with the aim of allowing people to find out about and to promote the collection of documents accumulated over the centuries. These tours strengthen its mission to let others know about the irreplaceable historical memory of Póvoa de Varzim.


The Póvoa de Varzim Music School, managed by Associação Pró-Música was created on 28 May 1988 by Póvoa de Varzim Municipal Council. The school is a member of the Ministry of Education's music vocational education network. It offers extracurricular vocational education or articulated with regular education, with emphasis on choir and Gregorian singing. The orchestras and choirs are regular participants in the Correntes d'Escritas Literary Festival. 

The school has the capacity to teach 200 students in its 10 classrooms, administrative areas and café. It has been functioning since 1995 at a location that also includes the Municipal Auditorium. Its calendar of auditions and presentations spreads to other cultural buildings and historical monuments of the municipality, such as the Garrett Cinema-Theatre, the Romanesque Church of St. Pedro de Rates, the Main Parish Church and the Parish Church of Beiriz.


The Youth Centre has been operating since 1997. It is a centre for information, training and promotion of the sporting, social, artistic and cultural capacities of the city's youth. 

Póvoa Municipal Council, aware of the importance of youth in the political, social and, above all, cultural life of the city, has specifically invested in this area. Professional courses, film cycles and musical concerts all have dedicated spaces in the Youth Centre. It is an important partner in the implementation of the municipality's cultural initiatives, with an intensive programme aimed at its target audience. The initiatives include book launches, recitals, exhibitions, workshops, different types of lectures and activities to raise awareness such as those related to Portuguese sign language, for example.


This Rotary Club of Póvoa de Varzim project, inaugurated in November 2007, offers more than 40 subjects in the areas of literature, languages, communication, photography, sports, and music, among others. The project currently has more than 30 volunteer teachers and more than 160 students enrolled. 

In addition to the subjects, the curriculum is complemented by social-cultural activities, which promote informal training capable of fostering students' personal fulfilment. The social-cultural initiatives include national and international study visits, solidarity projects, workshops and courses. Low-income students are supported by a scholarship.


The neoclassical building, built between 1930 and 1934, was designed from scratch for the function it still performs today. Póvoa Casino is a facility helping form the backbone of the tourism facilities of Póvoa de Varzim, combining gambling, cultural entertainment and catering. It offers a diversified weekly schedule of shows for more than 80,000 annual tourists.  

The Casino is a prominent patron of the Correntes d'Escritas Literary Festival, hosting part of the Festival's activities and it has funded the Casino da Póvoa Literary Prize since 2004. 

Poetry and prose are awarded prizes in alternating years, culminating in the first editions of the titles awarded the prize, whether in Portuguese or Spanish. In order to understand the importance of the Prize, more than 500 titles were entered in the competition between 2014 and 2019 and prizes of €120,000 were awarded to writers from the Iberian Peninsula, Africa and South America. 
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