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.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby The Douro attractions

1. Igreja de São Domingos

0.03 MILES

Rising beside São Gonçalo are several impressively steep switchbacks topped by this round, 18th-century church. The views from up top are stunning.

2. Museu Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso

0.04 MILES

Hidden in one of the Mosteiro de São Gonçalo’s cloisters is this delightfully eclectic collection of modernist and contemporary art, a pleasant surprise…

3. Ponte de São Gonçalo

0.04 MILES

A symbol of the town’s heroic defence against the French (marked by a plaque at the southeastern end), the granite Ponte de São Gonçalo is Amarante’s…

4. Igreja de São Pedro

0.15 MILES

The nave of this baroque church is decorated with beautiful 17th-century blue-and-yellow azulejos (hand-painted tiles).

5. Solar dos Magalhães

0.26 MILES

This burned-out skeleton of an old manor house situated above Rua Cândido dos Reis, near the train station, has been left in ruins – a stark and…

6. Ermelo

11.69 MILES

The 800-year-old village of Ermelo is famous for its schist cottages capped with fairy-tale slate roofs that seem to have been constructed from broken…

7. Fisgas de Ermelo

13.19 MILES

Just north of the town of Ermelo, on the N304 between Vila Real and Mondim de Basto, is a turn-off to the dramatic Fisgas de Ermelo waterfalls. From this…

8. Penha

14.84 MILES

Some 7km southeast up a twisting, cobbled road – or a short ride on an ageing cable car – is the wooded summit of Penha (617m) overlooking Guimarães, the…