If our last post was about Algarve, the extreme South of Portugal, this week we will go in the opposite direction, to Viana do Castelo.
Viana do Castelo is mainly an industrial city but it still has an enchanting historical center and incredible views. The most breath-taking sights are definitely the ones with its most important monument: Santa Luzia sanctuary.
Santa Luzia Sanctuary
Santa Luzia is, indeed, the first stop of our trip.
Built between 1904 and 1959, the sanctuary is a mix of neo-romanticism, byzantine and neo-gothic in a temple shaped like a Greek cross.
This stunning building is just a 15/20-minute walk from the station. The path is composed of 660 steps, so you should probably take the funicular (at least to go up).
It is, indeed, possible to explore it deeply. You can also go up till the highest tower thanks to an elevator and also visit the chapel inside.
One last tip about Santa Luzia is to stop at the hotel right behind. Its terrace offers an incredible view of the ocean and the sanctuary together. Around, there is also a charming park ideal for a picnic.
The historical center of Viana is featured by a web of narrow streets from the Cathedral towards the river. Here small shops and restaurants allow tourists to experience Portuguese culture.
It is the ideal place to relax after the hard walk to the sanctuary.
So, what else to say about Viana do Castelo. It has probably one of the best views of the whole of Portugal. This is thanks to its proximity e to the sea and the unique building of the sanctuary of Santa Luzia. The view from the top of the monastery makes this trip a must.