Serra do Pilar Monastery and Viewpoint, Porto

Serra do Pilar Monastery and Viewpoint, Porto

Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996, the Monastery is in Vila Nova de Gaia, on the opposite side of the Douro River from Porto. The Monastery perches on a high outcrop above the Luis I Bridge and the center of the city. It can be reached by public transport using the Porto Metro's D line to the Garden do Morro Station.

The monks of Grijo of the Dominican Order needed more room. The Monastery in Grijo was becoming dilapidated. A new monastery with cloisters was finished in 1583. But wouldn't you know it, it was too small. More room for monks was needed. The new, present day Serra do Pilar Monastery was completed at last by 1700.

The Monastery was an important military outpost for General Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington in the Peninsular War. It was a Liberal strong point during the civil war in 1833. The monastery was fortified in the 19th century and continued to be used by the military. In 1910 the site became a National Monument of Portugal.

The church and cloister are both circular, separated by a rectangular choir and chapel. On the north side is the bell tower and dormitories. The south side holds the sacristy and refectory.

There is a small fee to enter the church. A guided tour goes up to the dome of the tower, offering a stunning, extraordinary view of the Douro and the city of Porto.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Porto. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Serra do Pilar Monastery and Viewpoint on Map

Sight Name: Serra do Pilar Monastery and Viewpoint
Sight Location: Porto, Portugal (See walking tours in Porto)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Porto, Portugal

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