The northern Portuguese small city of Viana do Castelo, located on the mouth of the Lima River as it empties into the Atlantic Ocean, is one of the country’s most charming cities. Its old streets, full of azulejos and beautifully-preserved and colorful facades, are a delight to the senses of travelers.
Located just outside of the city center on the top of a small mountain measuring 700 feet above sea level is the Santuario de Santa Luzia, which is Portugal’s most beautiful sanctuary.
Unique in the fact that it is only just over 80 years old, this religious site was built in the 20th century in order to serve as an altar of worship to St. Lucy.
It serves as the most interesting architectural piece in the entire city thanks to its interesting mix of neo-Gothic and Byzantine influences, combining the best of Eastern and Western Europe’s architectural heritage.
Visitors to the sanctuary can either make the steep, but relatively short, walk from the city center or travel in a quaint cable car to the top of the mountain, which provides beautiful views of the Lima River and the ocean as you ascend along its green slopes.
Any trip to the north of Portugal should include Viana do Castelo in its itinerary, and you’d be doing yourself a favor if you dedicate a morning or an afternoon to exploring this stunning sanctuary.