High up on the hill of Santa Luzia it’s possible to find a very imposing church that attracts the attention of all visitors. The Santuário do Sagrado Coração de Jesus (in English, Sanctuary of the Sacred Heart of Jesus) is one of the most famous and beautiful in the country, with a privileged location and a panoramic view of the city of Viana do Castelo.
Viana do Castelo
The port city of Viana do Castelo, or just Viana for friends, is located in the North of Portugal , more precisely in Minho, and is a coastal city next to the Atlantic Ocean and the Lima river. It’s just 30 minutes away from the Spanish border and is a place of passage for all pilgrims making the journey to Santiago de Compostela. It’s a city with a high richness and diversity of culture and history as it was one of the main cities for the Portuguese Discoveries. Viana is also known for its traditions, with goldsmiths and costumes standing out. The gastronomy is also so good and the most typical dishes are codfish and “rojões” (pork meat ) in the Minho style.
The visit to the sanctuary
Viana has several points of attraction worth visiting. But, in this post I will only talk about the most beautiful and most important (in my opinion) in the city: the Santuário do Sagrado Coração de Jesus which is located on the Santa Luzia hill.
The construction of the sanctuary dedicated to Santa Luzia and the Sacred Heart of Jesus took several years because of the two world wars, having started in 1904 and ended in 1959. Until 1919, the architect responsible was Miguel Ventura Terra and then he was succeeded by Miguel Nogueira, one of his students. For those who have already visited Paris, the similarities with the Sacré Coeur de Montmartre are notorious since it’s said that it was the greatest inspiration for architects. This attraction has a revivalist architecture that marked the turn of the century and its imposing rosettes are considerer the biggest in the Iberian Peninsula and the second biggest in Europe.
How to get there
The access to the sanctuary can be done in several ways: car, funicular or on foot / bicycle.
From my point of view it’s the easiest way to get there. Since I live in Porto, the trip by car lasts about 1 hour and, when we start to approach Viana it’s already possible to see the Santa Luzia hill up there. It’s easy to park as there are several places. There is a park just in front of the sanctuary and another in the back which is usually more empty.
I would say that climbing the Santa Luzia hill by funicular is undoubtedly the most touristic option. The trip takes about 6 minutes and goes up 650 meters, being one of the longest funiculars in the country. The ticket cost is 3€ (roundtrip) or 2€ just one of the routes.
★ Foot / Bicycle
Well, this last option is more for the brave ones … or, in other words, for the less wise. I support 100% that they do it, but I say right away that it shouldn’t be easy: the hill is very high and the stairs are more than many (659 steps). However, I am absolutely sure that the views of the city and the sanctuary are worthwhile.
And now the best of it all…. visiting the interior of this sanctuary is free! Just check the opening hours to avoid leaving empty-handed.
The city view
In addition to the beauty of this sanctuary, visitors can also be enchanted by the incredible panoramic view of the city. It’s possible to see the city center and the fishing port, in addition to the blue of the ocean and the green of nature that give a very beautiful contrast to the photos.
If you are visiting Viana do Castelo or near by, be sure to book a day to be dazzled by the city’s charms and don’t forget to visit the sanctuary and check the views from the Santa Luzia hills.
Have you ever visited the Santuário do Sagrado Coração de Jesus or, at least, were you willing to do so? I really hope so! Tell me everything in the comments of this post or on the blog’s instagram.