Having visited both of these amazing staircases in Portugal, I have decided to showcase each on in this post.
Both have many, many steps and we walked them both ways. Each is very different in style and “colour” but the theme is still the same – to reach the beautiful church at the top.
To this day, pilgrims are known to climb these steps on their knees.
BOM JESUS DO MONTE – BRAGA
This Portuguese sanctuary is just outside the city of Braga.
The plain neoclassical church built in 1725 stands on top of a hill that is reached by the superb zig-zagging Baroque staircase, done in granite with a white façade.
There are beautiful gardens and the views from the top are superb.
One segment of the stairway is dedicated to the Five Senses (sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste) and is represented by a different fountain. I found these quite confronting but perhaps they were better in earlier times.
The top stairway is dedicated to Three Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity each with its own fountain.
The terracotta sculptures along the sides are all so different and worth zooming in to see their characters. Take different angles of the steps as well.
Of course there are so many steps (around 577). Take the time to look where they are leading, either up or down. Stand back and take in the full picture or get up close to see how old and worn they are.
We started at the top and walked down. Oh and then we had to climb all the way back up. However there is a funicular for those who wish to save their legs.
We only had a quick look inside the church as there was a service on and the steps for us was the main attraction.
SANTUARIO NOSSA SENHORA DOS REMEDIOS – LAMEGO
Lamego is a town in Northern Portugal. Its most important landmark is the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios – Our Lady of Remedies.
This major pilgrimage site is located at the top of the hill of St. Stephen, which overlooks the town centre. Built in 1750, an imposing staircase of 686 steps leads from the town to the church at the top of the hill.
This is adorned by beautiful tiled murals and artworks. Note that each staircase has a different mural. Yes they all look similar but take the time to zoom in on different parts of the tiles.
We decided to walk both ways, lots of exercise and besides I might have missed something on the way. It’s also good to get different perspectives and sometimes we forget to turn around and look back.
The staircases are cut by roads and walkways as you head towards the top. Be careful not to get run over here as many tourist buses frequent these roads.
At last at the top! We had only a brief visit to the church as it had a service going on and besides no photography was allowed. Time to head back down all those steps. A smarter move though than our Braga experience when we did the opposite and had to climb all the way back up those stairs.
A couple of cool photos I took – the first lining up the crosses and spires at the top, and secondly looking up to the sky for a different perspective.
So to compare the two places – just visit both as they are unique in their own styles and both have so much photographic material.
Related posts for more places in Portugal