Close to Bom Jesus – 1.5km by road from the bottom of the staircase or a twenty-minute walk uphill beyond the pinewoods at the top – there’s a second pilgrimage staircase and shrine with an entirely different feel. The massive, white-domed Santuário do Sameiro is impressive in its way, and again affords fantastic views across the city of Braga and beyond. But the nineteenth-century church is swallowed up by masses of surrounding concrete and approached by a grimly monolithic monumental stairway. It’s on a similar scale to Fátima – a powerful reminder of the might and authority of the Roman Catholic Church in Portugal – and the main annual festival, on the first Sunday in June, sees the arrival of scores of thousands of pilgrims. There’s a second huge event on the last Sunday in August too.

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Portugal features

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