For a sensational view of the town, river and Atlantic coast you need to make your way up to the unmistakable landmark basilica on top of Monte de Santa Luzia, which looms over Viana do Castelo. The funicular railway is a fun way to get there; otherwise it’s a punishing thirty-minute walk up the steps which start just past the hospital – take note of the inscription at the bottom which translates as “My God help me get up”. At the summit there’s a café and restaurant, picnic tables among the trees, plus plenty of stalls selling “artigos religiosos”. Other than its monumental presence, there’s little interest in the Santuário de Santa Luzia itself, though the climb to the top of the dome (marked Zimbório) is emphatically worth it. A narrow winding staircase leads right through the building, past traffic lights laid on in summer to keep tourist hordes in check, and emerges on top of the dome itself. It’s very steep and – at the top – pretty hair-raising when the wind picks up, but the magnificent views reward every effort.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Portugal features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

That ever-growing travel wish list might be putting some pressure on your pocket – but there are plenty of destinations where you'll get more bang for your b…

11 Oct 2017 • Emma Gibbs camera_alt Gallery
Where to eat in Lisbon: an area-by-area guide

Where to eat in Lisbon: an area-by-area guide

Lisbon has rightly garnered a reputation as being one of Europe’s hippest cities – but Portuguese cuisine remains somewhat unknown. Rest assured, though, Li…

24 Aug 2017 • Matthew Hancock insert_drive_file Article
The 10 best beaches in Portugal

The 10 best beaches in Portugal

For many travellers, Portugal is synonymous with images of golden sun-baked beaches. And with a generous 1700 kilometres of coastline, there’s enough sand for…

28 Jul 2017 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook