If the last time we talked about Algarve, the extreme South of Portugal, this week we will go to the opposite direction, to Viana do Castelo.
Viana is mainly an industrial city but it still has an enchanting historical centre 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-minutes walk from the station. The path is, however, composed by 660 steps, which makes it advisable to take the funicular (at least to go up).
Anyway, the view from the top and the sanctuary per se are really rewarding.
It is, indeed, possible to explore it deeply. You can both go up till the highest tower thanks to an elevator and visit the chapel inside.
One last tip about Santa Luzia is to stop at the hotel right behind. Its terrace, indeed, offers an incredible view of the sea and the sanctuary together.
Around, there is also a charming park ideal for a pic-nic.
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 relax after the hard walk to the sanctuary.
So, what else to say about Viana. It has probably one of the best views of the whole Portugal. This is thanks to its proximity e to the sea and the unique building of the sanctuary of Santa Luzia. Therefore, even if the city per se is not much different from what you could find in the rest of Portugal, the experience of going up until the monastery obliges to visit this place.