Searching for treasures
Spend three days touring the North of Portugal and discover its baroque treasures.
Devote the first day of your trip to Porto and start by visiting the 12th-century cathedral. The baroque style brought various changes to this church, such as the magnificent altarpiece in the chancel. You can admire the grandiose building of the Episcopal Palace and the churches of Igreja de Santa Clara, Igreja da Ordem Terceira and Igreja de Santo Ildefonso, all decorated with sumptuous gilded woodcarving and tiles from the 18th century. Notice the imposing façade of the Igreja dos Terceiros do Carmo, and let yourself be impressed by the church and tower of the Igreja dos Clérigos, a masterpiece by Nicolau Nasoni, the same architect who designed the Igreja da Misericórdia. As the day draws to a close, let yourself be dazzled by the golden colours of the interior of the Igreja de São Francisco, where the walls are covered with baroque and rococo gilded woodcarvings.
The next day, we suggest you head for Braga. Here you can begin by visiting the Palácio dos Biscainhos and its beautiful gardens. This old manor house is now a museum displaying decorative arts from the 17th and 18th centuries, which presents a faithful picture of how the nobility lived at that time. Next, make your way into Portugal’s oldest cathedral and admire the stalls in the upper choir and the church’s two monumental organs. Close by you will also find the remarkable rocaille façade of the Palácio do Raio. Your next stop should be the Santuário do Bom Jesus do Monte and its monumental staircase, which stands out superbly in the lush green landscape. You should also take some time to admire the exuberant decoration of the Igreja de Santa Maria da Falperra, before you carry on to the Mosteiro de Tibães. Founded in the 11th century, this monastery was subject to a number of alterations in the 17th and 18th centuries, which resulted in its being afforded a most sumptuous decoration.
Your next destination is Guimarães. If you feel like continuing the baroque experience in your hotel accommodation, then we suggest you stay at the Pousada de Santa Marinha da Costa or one of the Rural Tourism houses, such as the Paço de São Cipriano or the Casa de Sezim. First thing in the morning, you can take a stroll through the city’s streets and admire the imposing façade of the Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Consolação e Santos Passos, or take a look at the altarpiece in the Igreja de São Francisco, dating from the reign of Dom João V.
After this, you should carry on to Vila Real, where you should visit the Casa de Mateus, an 18th-century palace set in the midst of magnificent gardens. Continue along the road that takes you through the Alto Douro Wine Region to Lamego, your final destination on this trip. Notice the façades of the many manor houses and stately homes, but save enough energy to climb the 686 steps leading to the Santuário de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios. Your efforts will be most handsomely rewarded by the great beauty of this baroque staircase.