Catedral de Viseu

Top choice in Viseu

Viseu’s cathedral is a striking hybrid of architectural styles. Originally built in the 13th century, it now has a 17th-century Mannerist facade and a soaring 16th-century columned interior. Particularly impressive is the vaulted Manueline ceiling with ribs carved to resemble knotted strands of rope. The rounded arches of the lower level, like the double-tier cloister outside, are early examples of Italian-inspired Renaissance architecture. Note also the azulejo (hand-painted tile) panels and amazing Romanesque-Gothic portal, rediscovered during restoration work in 1918.

Stairs in the northern transept lead to the Museu de Arte Sacra. The museum itself is a lacklustre assemblage of vestments and religious paraphernalia, but its lofty setting offers a nice perspective on the church’s architecture.