Mosteiro de São Gonçalo

The Douro

Founded in 1543 by João III, the Mosteiro de São Gonçalo and Igreja de São Gonçalo weren’t completed until 1620. Above the church’s photogenic, Italian Renaissance side portal is an arcaded gallery, 30m high, with 17th-century statues of Dom João and the other kings who ruled while the monastery was under construction: Sebastião, Henrique and Felipe I.

The bell tower was added in the 18th century. The best view of the royal statues is from the steep lane just west of the church entrance. Within the lofty interior are an impressive gilded baroque altar, pulpits, an organ casing held up by fishtailed giants, and Gonçalo’s tomb in a tiny chapel (to the left of the altar). Tradition has it that those in search of a partner will have their wish granted within a year if they touch the statue above his tomb. Sure enough, its limestone toes, fingers and face have been all but rubbed away by hopefuls.