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.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Viseu attractions

1. Adro da Sé

0.02 MILES

Overlooked by a trio of impressive buildings – the Catedral, Paço de Três Escalões (home of the Museu Grão Vasco) and the Igreja da Misericórdia – the…

2. Museu Grão Vasco

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Adjoining the cathedral, the granite Paço de Três Escalões (Palace of Three Steps) was originally built as the bishop’s palace. It's now a splendid museum…

3. Igreja da Misericórdia

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Facing the cathedral is the 1775 Igreja da Misericórdia, whose white rococo exterior contrasts markedly with its rather dull neoclassical interior. A…

4. Praça de Dom Duarte

0.06 MILES

An attractive sloping square looking up to the Passeio dos Cônegos, this was the city's principal square until the 19th century. Standing in the centre is…

5. Town Wall

0.09 MILES

North of the cathedral along Rua Silva Gaio is the longest remaining stretch of Viseu's medieval town walls.

6. Casa da Rua Dom Duarte

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Traversing the historic centre, Rua Dom Duarte was originally the most direct path to the hilltop citadel. The narrow lane is flanked by many beautiful,…

7. Porta do Soar


The grandest route into the old town is through the Porta do Soar, a 15th-century gate set into a section of Afonso V’s town walls. Look for the shield…

8. Museu Almeida Moreira

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The 19th-century, azulejo-adorned Museu Almeida Moreira is housed in the former home of art critic and collector Francisco António Almeida Moreira,…