The city of Vila Real is the seat of the council and capital of the district. It is located at an altitude of 450 meters. It is approximately 85 km, in a straight line, from the Atlantic Ocean, which is to the west, 15 km from the Douro River, which flows to the south and, to the north, about 65 km from the border with Galicia, Spain.
The municipality of Vila Real, without prejudice to the urban aspect of its headquarters, maintains well-defined rural characteristics. Two types of landscape dominate: the most mountainous area of the Serras do Marão and Alvão, separated by the green and fertile land of Vale da Campeã, and to the south, near the Douro, the terraced vineyards. The Corgo River runs through the city creating a gorge of unusual beauty.
It has about 52,000 inhabitants, for an area of about 370 km2.