Shearwin's in Europe 2018 travel blog

The sanctuary on Monte de Santa Luzia

Hotel overlooking the sanctuary

View from the Hotel

The Forte


In the belief we have had a good overview of this lovely city and had noted and photographed most of the iconic structures we decided to take a one day trip north to the city of Viana do Castelo. This ocean port city is at the mouth of the Limia river 75 km north of Porto.

We departed the apartment just before 1000 hrs and quickly cleared the city for what was an easy run. The trip was punctuated by six toll cameras recording our trip and then to send us a bill for how much we don’t know. We stopped for our first fuel stop just outside the city.

We initially drove through the city and along the jetty before parking in an underground car park near the Forte de Santiago da Barra, built in the 16th century to protect the Port. We walked this relatively small star designed fort which is still in relatively good condition but only maintained to a minimum standard. We walked the walls only noting it’s commanding position over the harbours entry. We could not access what was obviously barrack and office accomodation as it was occupied and controlled by the bureau of tourism and access is limited to working staff; I can’t figure that logic as attractions in the area are limited.

We noted the dominating sanctuary on Monte de Santa Luzia from the Forte and drove the 6 km winding road to this Sacre Coeur inspired church. The views were spectacular and the sanctuary which was built in the early 20th century is in mint condition with four prominent colourful rose windows. Granite sculptures dominate and the Virgin Mary takes pride of place. The surrounding gardens and outlying structures are also in very good condition. This is an A1 tourist attraction and has a funicular providing access from the lower city.

Sitting above the sanctuary and dominating the sanctuary was the four star hotel Pousada de Viana do Costelo The hotel was beautifully decorated and the staff very professional. Initially, we had drinks on the verandah overlooking the port and valley; just spectacular. We decided that lunch would be the main meal of the day and in this great location we had a leisurely lunch; Kaye a vegetable tart with Salad and I had a goat stew, both with a nice white wine. The dining experience was great; definitely our best to date.

After lunch we returned directly to Porto arriving back at 1530 hrs to rest.

Dinner was out of the question after our substantial lunch, however, we walked back into Porto for Kaye to purchase a new pair of shoes. This task proved unsuccessful but after three days of trying to have a pair of slacks she wanted taken from a store model, the task was finally achieved by more cooperative staff members. Kaye is now more than happy with her persistence. We finished with a wine and a beer that neither of us liked. We returned to the apartment early evening in what was very warm conditions; the sun was extremely penetrating.

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