19 Jan
19Jan

In the heart of Peneda Gerês National Park, surrounded by a magnificent natural environment, there is a monumental sanctuary that is well worth your visit! Today, I am going to highlight the Santuário da Nossa Senhora da Peneda, or Santuário da Peneda.

 

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A piece of History

Santuário da Peneda is located in Arcos de Valdevez. The sanctuary was built between the 18th and 19th centuries. Nevertheless, its origins go back to the 13th century when, according to the local belief, a shepherd witnessed the apparition of the Holy Virgin. Firstly, locals had built a little chapel. However, due to the increasing devotion of the Portuguese and Spanish people, it was necessary to build a bigger temple. 

Every year, during the first week of September, there is an important pilgrimage - the Pilgrimage of Our Lady of Peneda. Hundreds of pilgrims come from all over the region, even from Spain, to pray to Our Lady of Peneda.


Why should you visit Santuário da Peneda?

Whether you are interested in religious places or not, Santuário da Peneda is definitely a must-go. Why? The location! 

Peneda Gerês National Park is a treasure: the natural beauty, the oldest villages, the shepherds and the cattle, embraced by the breezes that blow from the mountains. Everything looks frozen in time, the clocks seem to tick slower, and there is a feeling of peace in the air. 

Right in the heart of Peneda Gerês, hidden in the bottom of a huge rocky mountain, we notice the Sanctuary of Peneda. There is a stairway and some chapels in the area.  

Some days, often on weekends, people are selling local products: such as handicraft, cheese, bread, sausages…

Can you already imagine the picnic?

There are trees, and you can sit under the branches eating these delicacies. In my opinion, it is a very pleasant experience. And, of course, the unique natural environment provides extraordinary scenery.


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Places to visit in Peneda Gerês National Park

There are some places that you cannot miss! I am talking about Soajo, Lindoso, Castro Laboreiro, and Pitões das Júnias.


#01 Soajo, Arcos de Valdevez

Soajo is a little village well-known for its unique “Espigueiros”. Espigueiros are small houses, built of granite. These places were used to dry maize and keep it away from mice. In other words, Espigueirs are granaries.


#02 Lindoso, Ponte da Barca

For many centuries, Lindoso had played an important role in the defence of the Portuguese frontier. Nowadays, the imposing castle and more than fifty granaries compose the landscape.


#03 Castro Laboreiro, Melgaço

Castro Laboreiro is an ancient village, surrounded by monumental mountains, that had an important role in Portuguese history. Now, it is possible to discover some historical remains, such as the castle or the Roman bridges.


#04 Pitões das Júnias, Montalegre

Pitões das Júnias is one of the highest villages in Portugal at an altitude of 1200 meters. The traditional architecture was perfectly preserved. Next to the village, the never-ending farming fields make the scenery perfect.


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