Monte de Santa Luzia

There are two good reasons to visit Viana do Castelo’s 748 foot/228 meter eucalyptus-clad hill. One is the wondrous view down the coast and up the Lima valley. The other is the fabulously over-the-top, 20th-century, neo-Byzantine Templo do Sagrado Coração de Jesus (Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus). You can get a little closer to heaven on its graffiti-covered roof, via a lift, followed by an elbow-scraping stairway – take the museum entrance on the ground floor.

Behind the Pousada do Monte de Santa Luzia is another attraction, the Ruinas da Cidade Velha, ruins of a Celtiberian citânia (fortified village) from around the 4th century BC. You’ll see the stones peeking above the wind-blown savannah. Most of the site is accessible via a boardwalk.

You can get up the mountain by the restored funicular, which departs from near the train station every 15 minutes. You can also drive to the top, or hike 1.25 miles/2 kilometers of steps (only for the fit and/or penitent). The road starts by the hospital, and the steps begin about 660 feet/200 meters up the road.

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