Porto and northern Portugal is rich in baroque art so, when traveling through the region, you are sure to come across countless baroque buildings, hidden treasures and symbols of wealth from past eras. You will also discover many unique features, such as the gold engraving on blue tiles which gave rise in Portugal to an elegant expression of the Baroque movement.
During the era of Portugal’s discoveries of the ‘New World’, various gold mines, precious stones and different types of wood were found in Brazil, all of which you will find used to decorate the interiors of various monuments.
From Porto to the Douro, here are a few places where you will be able to find baroque architecture and to delight in the incredible beauty and structural complexity of these buildings, which have been preserved with great care to maintain their original features.
If you are starting in Porto, the city that gave its name to one of Portugal’s most famous wines, you will find lots of buildings with baroque features. One example is the Sé Cathedral, which was built in the 12th century and is situated opposite the Episcopal Palace of Porto, a spectacular 18th century building designed by the Italian artist, Nicolau Nasoni.
Other symbols of the Baroque also include the churches of Santa Clara, Ordem Terceira and Santo Ildefonso, all of which are richly adorned with gold engravings and the famous azulejo tiles.
In the heart of Porto, the Carmo Church, which has an exterior covered in blue and white tiles, displays its imposing façade. You will also no doubt be amazed by the Clérigos Tower, which is considered to be Nicolau Nasoni’s masterpiece and is over 250 years old.
Nasoni also designed Porto’s Misericórdia Church. Located on the Rua das Flores in the heart of the old town, this part of the city has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. While in the area, make sure to also visit the nearby Igreja de São Francisco.
Braga and Guimarães
Braga and Guimarães are two cities where you will also find lots of baroque architecture. In Braga, do not pass up on the opportunity to visit the Biscainhos Palace and its magnificent gardens. The building, constructed during the 17th and 18th centuries, will give you an accurate insight into how the nobility of the time lived.
Also, be sure to visit the Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary. With its immense staircase, this superb monument stands out against the verdant landscape and gives you a spectacular view of the entire city.
When strolling the city streets of Guimarães, you will come across both the façade of the Santos Passos Church and the altarpiece of the São Francisco Church. You are sure to be impressed by the detail of all of the architecture waiting to be discovered in this city.
Wine production in Alto Douro
And inevitably, a journey through the Alto Douro wine region is a must. This wonderful landscape is full of grapevines that hide unparalleled architectural wonders.
When in Vila Real, do not miss the chance to visit the Casa de Mateus. This 18th century palace is surrounded by magnificent gardens and known around the world thanks to its appearance on the label of Mateus Rosé wine.
In Lamego, you will find numerous manors and stately homes, all with breathtaking façades. The paintings that decorate the domes of the city’s cathedral are also by Nasoni.
Get the blood pumping by climbing the 686 steps to the top of the Nossa Senhora dos Remédios Sanctuary, a monument that Nasoni also helped to construct. You will quickly forget your tiredness after the long climb as soon as you see the incredible view from the top.