As Catholicism is Portugal’s predominant faith, you’ll discover some of the finest churches in Europe here. Even if you don’t practice any organized religion, these magnificent structures make stunning sightseeing spots.
This ornate church boasts the tombs of queens Urraca and Beatrix and hosts many royal weddings and christenings; however, its dark history includes political meetings and executions.
1. Igreja Paroquial do Santissimo Sacramento
Igreja Paroquial do Santissimo Sacramento stands as one of Portugal’s most breathtaking churches, its exterior not necessarily inviting travelers inside but rewarding those who do with an exceptional sight – its Baroque interior shimmering in golden hues with intricate ornamentation and details on its altar, organ, ceiling and paintings by prominent 18th-century artists gilded beautifully against it’s silver exterior.
Machado de Castro’s exquisite Nativity Scene at this church and as Queen Maria I’s burial site are what make it famous, but its Baroque architecture also make it worth seeing. Reconstructed after 1755 earthquake damage, it remains one of the most significant landmarks in Lisbon today.
Portugal is predominantly Catholic and creating beautiful churches was often a top priority in most towns and cities. Today there are an abundance of stunning churches dotted throughout Portugal; whether seeking spiritual enlightenment or admiring its architecture; one is sure to meet your needs!
Though not as expansive as many other top churches in Portugal, Igreja de Sao Francisco still warrants visiting. It features exquisite interior gilding made of gold and other precious materials while its chapels showcase intricate gilding, marble, and tile artworks. Furthermore, this church is famous for its extensive religious artwork collection and was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Igreja de Santa Catarina in Portugal is another outstanding church. Although its exterior may seem plain, the interior boasts lavish decorations made with gold, marble, and other luxurious materials – including its famous Nativity scene that has earned it recognition as a national monument of Portugal.
This church can be found at the heart of Lisbon and is famed for its Nativity scene and crypt. Reconstructed after 1755’s earthquake, this impressive piece of Baroque architecture stands as one of Lisbon’s finest examples – boasting soaring arches and baroque style architecture – making it a must-see attraction. Additionally, it holds some of Portugal’s most priceless relics such as King John III’s crown within.
2. Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Conceicao Velha
Church of Nossa Senhora da Conceicao Velha (also referred to as Convent of Santa Clara) is one of Portugal’s best-known and oldest churches, having been founded by King Afonso I in 14th century and housing some of his family relics. A UNESCO World Heritage site since 1980.
At its heart lies a church, monastery and an aqueduct all at the same time – often considered one of the best examples of Portuguese Gothic architecture outside of Douro River. A vast complex of buildings sits around its 14th-century church – with modern convent and large cloister to bring fresh water from Tagus River into city center.
This church, known as one of Portugal’s greatest examples of Gothic architecture, once stood as the second-largest temple in Lisbon at its original form. A powerful earthquake in 1755 caused significant damage, but was rebuilt into a stunning Manueline church that boasts the world’s largest tiled facade and features sculptured decorations depicting Virgen de la Misericordia (Mother of Mercy) alongside three Kings representing God and Heaven – something to admire at any time!
Though its exterior may be plain, this church boasts one of Europe’s richest interiors. Gold and gilding are breathtaking while its high altar features the Virgin Mary relic from Christ’s time – believed to have miraculous healing properties and healing powers for the sick.
Church treasures go far beyond its revered relic: Bento Coelho da Silveira’s 17th-century sculpture depicting Saint Bernard’s death by Bento Coelho da Silveira is on view in its transept. On either side of it are tombs belonging to Afonso II and III which complete an impressive array of visual delights.
Church services take place twice every week and visitors may access its cloister and relax within its beautiful environment. People also often offer up coins as a show of respect to St. Anthony, known as the Patron Saint of Lovers.
3. Igreja de Santo Antonio
This church stands out among Portugal’s churches because of its lavishly overlaid interiors, complete with gold-covered walls and high altar. Although lacking the grand exterior found elsewhere, this one makes up for it with magnificent gold-covered walls and high altar. Furthermore, this example of Portuguese rococo stands as one of its finest examples blending overlaying with decorative tile boards. Rebuilt during the first half of 1700s after suffering earthquake damage in 1755, its exquisite gold is enhanced by intricate wood carvings and paintings.
Igreja de So Francisco in Porto stands out with its extravagant overlaid interiors. Dubbed the “Golden Church,” this breathtaking building is known as one of the city’s most spectacular structures due to both its size and gilded grotto inside. Additionally, its walls are decorated with golden tiles painted by Jorge Colaco – an expert of this particular art form.
Portugal’s other main attraction here is a crypt, where Portuguese people honor St. Anthony, an amazing saint born in Lisbon who followed St. Francis of Assisi’s example with humility, powerful sermons and dedication to caring for sick and poor people. Many locals still place great faith in his intercession to find lost objects, get married or find the right partner.
The Rua de So Francisco church crypt is open to the public and located central Lisbon on Rua de So Francisco, only steps away from metro station Aliados and Sao Bento and easily reachable by buses and even the charming number 28 tram that passes it! Open Tuesday-Sunday 9:00am-6.00pm it offers free entry; check its website for more details and times of entry.
4. Igreja da Nossa Senhora do Amparo
Passers-by may be deterred by the unassuming exterior of this church, but those brave enough to venture inside will be treated to an amazing sight. This Baroque church stands out among Portugal’s best with a glittering interior filled with golden hues that shimmer opulence. Plush ornamentation and intricate details adorn its organ, altar and ceiling for an experience unlike any other!
Belem Church in Lisbon’s riverside district combines late Gothic and Renaissance elements inspired by Portuguese voyages of discovery into its design, as well as housing the tombs of Vasco da Gama and poet Luis de Camoes.
After over three centuries of hard labor and dedication to its completion, this church finally stands as one of Portugal’s crown jewels. Set amidst stunning forest surroundings with an intricate stairway leading up to it, its spectacular setting makes this UNESCO World Heritage Site one of Portugal’s most stunning buildings. Additionally, tombs belonging to some of Portugal’s most influential figures can be found there including that of first president of Republic and singer Amalia Rodrigues who helped popularise Fado music are within this UNESCO World Heritage site’s walls.
This church may not be as well-known, but it certainly stands out in Lisbon. With its gorgeous glazed tiles depicting angels and other holy figures reminiscent of Mary, it serves as an amazing work of art that tells her story. Furthermore, its peaceful ambience is ideal for relaxing while gazing upon its beautiful paintings.
Though its interior may not rival that of other major Portuguese landmarks, this church remains an outstanding example of Baroque architecture. Additionally, it features eleven figurative tile panels by Dutch artist Jan Van Oort as well as eight paintings by Bento Coelho Silveira who was an official court painter during the 17th century.
This church offers the perfect respite from city center chaos. Tucked into a beautiful garden, you can spend hours here taking advantage of its peace and serenity.