Feelviana - An insiders look into Portugals first Sports Hotel

A hotel with a central focus on being, feeling and doing.

There is something special that happens at FeelViana, Portugal’s first Sports Hotel. 

You reconnect with nature and with yourself. You feel immense happiness. You come alive. You feel at home.

In this small but stylish modern resort, almost everything revolves around recreationally varied sports and leisure activities with nature being the core focus. The hotel is situated just outside of the quiet city of Viana do Castelo and with only a 1-hour drive away from Porto, this communal ‘place of tranquillity’ makes for the perfect weekend getaway. 

The hotel is more than just a brand. It is an attitude that is completely evident in its core. You can see it throughout its facilities right down to its staff.

I casually browsed through the guestbook that lies freely on the reception desk. And one thing really stood out to me. The consistency of the comments regarding the FeelViana team. They are warm, friendly and humble. Their hospitality is most highly appreciated by all the international guests. Most of these comments specify that they have never visited a hotel with this many happy people. It was refreshing reading these as I had the same experience.

And with happy staff, comes a happy owner.

Jose Sampaio, the owner of FeelViana, originally started the hotel in an effort to share his passion for wind, sea, land and life. The location he chose to fuel his true couldn't have been more perfect. 

The main building is a 2 story linear structure that is attached to a sports centre, the Spa, and the kids club. It rests of a sand dune with a surrounding pine tree forest and abundant vegetation.

Alongside the main building, you will find 9 bungalows. The copper-sheet roof coverings enhance the scene as well as the wood exterior, making it blend in with the landscapes.

A short walk away you will find Cabedelo Beach and the Lima River - the ideal space for lovers of action and nature.


There are 46 rooms and 9 bungalows available in the hotel. Each offers a haven of comfort, are spaciousness and are in harmony with nature. The interiors are simple, yet appealing and functional. All have minimalistic wooden furnishings reminiscent of the surrounding environment, which you can get a visual representation of from the balconies. 

There are 4 different room types to choose from. The Standard Room, Junior Suite, Suite or the Bungalow. Each room shares a king-size bed with extra soft white linen that will ensure you a restful and pleasant sleep as well as a balcony. Wifi is available, as well as a minibar

Standard Room

I stayed in the Standard room and can vouch for it being a calm and comfortable space. Soft natural light filters through from the balcony illuminating all the natural elements of the room. 

It is very spacious (26,68sqm) and has a desk in the room. Its not only the room that is big but also the king-sized bed. This had to have been my favourite part of the experience and probably the softest linen a hotel bed could have.

Admittedly, I didn't want to leave this Space. Its been 1 month and I still tell people about this bed. 

Junior Suite

The junior suite is spacious (bigger than the standard suite), comfortable and preferred more by couples or families that prefer to stay a long time. The balconies are also beach facing, so you can hear the sound of the waves - a perfect soundtrack for falling off to sleep.


The Suite is sophisticated and cosy. And just like the Standard Room and the Junior Suite, this one too is spacious (53,75 sqm) and comes with a king-size bed. The highlight here is the additional space it comes with as it has an added living room with a sofa bed.

Another difference of this one is it has both a shower (the others just have a shower) and a bath. The balcony is also bigger, serving as the perfect space to free your mind and relax whilst taking in the sights of the surrounding pine forest and the gentle sea breeze.


Rather than a conventional hotel room, the bungalows are a series of small dwellings that have been distributed between the pine trees. A great space for families of 4. 

You will love the size of the space to. It is 35,94 sqm, has 1 bedroom, a living room, a sofa bed and a shower.


The Spa centre was my absolute favourite, especially because I don't find myself having pamper days all too often. Usually, because I am very outdoorsy, I opt for a day out hiking mountains or chasing waterfalls, rather than having a wellness day. I am so very glad that on this particular day, I slowed down and immersed myself in an ultimate state of relaxation in this silent and tranquil space. 

The Spa centre is a unique enclave. It is a lot bigger than one would imagine and offers a range of facilities. Namely, an indoor swimming pool, a sauna, a Turkish bath, a gym and a fitness studio where yoga and pilates classes take place. 

In addition, there are a few treatment rooms offering a range of services like facials and massages.  You will notice one common product used throughout each treatment - organic algae-based VOYA products.

What makes these products unique is that they cater to individual skin types, and enhance and hydrate your skin, prevent skin ageing and reduce cellulite. I did a full body massage but the beautician was kind enough to give me a 5min facial massage with these products. My skin was glowing after this, so I can highly recommend that you try out any of these facial treatments.

There are two types offered - the VOYA Facial and the Facial Deluxe treatment. They take on average 55 min to 90 min and are deeply detoxifying. They help to increase clarity, remove wrinkles and even skin tone, whilst reducing the build-up of toxins. A combination of gentle exfoliators, serums and masks are used and will leave your skin purified, nourished and perfectly balanced.

The VOYA Facial Deluxe treatment is similar to the VOYA Facial, except that it takes longer and gives you the best of both worlds. Before your facial treatment you are treated to a relaxing back massage as well as a 20minute facial massage, followed by the treatment.

Men, listen up. The Spa is not just for the ladies. You will love it here too, especially for the VOYA facial treatments. They have a specific one that has been created exclusively for men. I am sure that you will just love this, and it will take care of your individual skincare needs.


There are a couple of restaurants scattered around the hotel. The main restaurant caters for breakfast and dinner. The menu is classical and bold and has a range of really creative and delicious meals for you to try out. Be sure to ask about the chiefs special. 

The restaurant is also located in a really nice spot with views of the dunes and the Atlantic Ocean. 

I recommended enquiring about the half or full board packages that are available to have your meals included.

For a more relaxed alternative, try out the hotel’s newly opened beach bar. It is located on Cabedelo Beach and makes for the perfect sunset spot. Why not have sundowners with your significant other, admiring the Atlantic ocean and get basked in pastel shades of pink and orange?

Trust me, it is the perfect spot.

Snacks, light meals and ice cream are available to fill the gap before dinner time.

Head on back to the hotel to try out their signature cocktails in the bar alongside the restaurant. Grab your drink and head to the outside section where you can enjoy yet another awesome sunset, this time staring out onto the sand dunes filled with pine trees. They also serve some snacks like cheese boards, smoothies, salads and toasts and open until 10 pm.

Sports Centre

Get adventurous at FeelViana's sports centre. It’s the perfect haven for the lover of all things nature related. The services available here are not just for the hotel guests but also for those not staying here.

The centre is open every day of the week, between 9 am and 8 pm and is the perfect place for you to build new memories. 

The latest rental equipment is available for surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, standup paddle, e-bike, wake-boarding and bodyboarding.


Cabedelo Beach offers great wind conditions first thing in the morning and is the ideal spot for surfing. Especially for those like me, that have little or no surfing experience. 

The last time I had been on a surfboard was on my first trip to Bali. It's been 7 years since, so I was really looking forward to giving it another go. Unfortunately, it never worked out as it was really misty the day we scheduled to do it, and I was starting to come down with a cold. Nevertheless, I would need to plan another trip back here soon.

Surf lessons are available for everyone aged 6 and up and can be booked at the sports centre. Each session takes on average 90 minutes and includes a surfboard and a wetsuit.

Intermediate surf lessons are also available for those you surf regularly but are looking to improve their skills. 

Windsurf & Kite Surfing

In order to do windsurfing and kitesurfing, you would need to have some extraordinary natural wind and sea conditions. Cabedelo beach offers just that and is one of the best places in Portugal to do this at. In fact, this beach has a worldwide reputation amongst some big International stars.

So much so that in 2018, the World Windsurf Championship, as well as the 2018 Kitesurf Championship, took place here. 

If you would love to have a surf, visit the sports centre. They offer courses for all different levels and have the best state of the art equipment for rental.


Take a ride on the wild side!

If you love biking then you will love doing it through Viana do Castelo. It’s a unique city that has mountains, breathtaking natural surroundings and picturesque historic villages.  

There are different biking routes available, some with more flat surfaces and others that have a higher elevation and are amongst the most demanding paths of the region. The trails range from 40 km to 160 km. Some of these trails are more relaxed and do not require much effort. Whilst others are perfect for the mountain biker.

One such trail is the steep climb up to the Santa Luzia mountain. The views from up here are magnificent. You can overlook both the city and the Lima river, as well as the mountain of Senhora, do Minho. 

There is a relatively big selection of bikes available that you can choose from. Like for example, modern technology electric bicycles. These have what they call battery-powered “pedal-assist” that will reduce the stress and impact on your knees and thighs. They also give you an extra oomph you need to cover more distance with little effort. 

Speaking of electric bikes I have a confession to make. But promise not to laugh at me! I cannot ride a bicycle. Yes! You read right.

I just can't, I fail at it each time I try. Especially when I am forced to ride on a busy road. There is something that happens within me, and I get overcome by extreme anxiety. I am almost to embarrassed to admit this.

I did attempt this tho and believe me when I say I actually do really enjoy it. When I am in nature. I always have, I just have issues with being on a road.

Here is the ironic thing - I owned two bikes as a child. And I have written off two bikes as a child. First I crashed into a trailer being towed by a car at a four-way stop. Second, I convinced my sister to let me borrow her bike, so that I could try again. I ended up writing it off with a tree. The tree was to my detriment.

So here I am years later, attempting this again. And just like before, I just simply cant do it. 15 minutes in after riding on a busy road, I had a panic attack, road back to the hotel, tears streaming down my face. So I came to this conclusion, I am good at quad bikes. In fact, anything with 4 wheels or a board I excel in. So I will stick with what I know and love.


On the ground floor of the hotel, you will find a pump track that will guarantee you a thrill and lots of fun. It can be explored best by bicycle, skateboard or scooter.

For those that don’t know what a pump track is...Well, it is a term that explains the pumping motion that a rider uses with his/her upper/lower body as they ride around a curved sequenced roller track.

The goal is to maximize your momentum around the track without pedalling. You have to stay out of the saddle and keep your elbows and knees soft to absorb bumps and maintain speed. 

This activity is great for balance training, fitness and suitable for people of all ages. 

Wakeboard Park

Feel the adrenaline at the wakeboard park located next to Cabedelo Beach and the Lima River. All sorts of cool things are happening here. Activities like, wakeboard, wake surf and standup paddle are on offer here.

There is even a restaurant on the premises where you can relax and watch the riders in action.

Kids Club

Like I mentioned above, the team at FeelViana is exceptionally happy. And just like them, they love seeing other people happy with no exception to their little guests. They have created an ideal space that is fit for children between the ages of 3 and 12. There is a range of activities on offer here that will get your children active, having fun and feeling entertained.

Ready to start planning your sports getaway?

If you would like to have the same experience make your booking now:

Email: spa@feelviana.com

Tel: (+351) 258 249 842

Website: https://www.feelviana.com/

Also Read:

Exploring Portugal's little Venice

Traditional "Espigueiros" of Northern Portugal & Spain

Hiking trails in Portugal, Switzerland and Luxembourg

All information on this blog page was correct at the time of publishing and may change at any time without prior notice. 51 Countries and Counting will not be held liable for loss or inconvenience resulting from the use of out-dated or incorrectly noted information.

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