Bom Jesus do Monte is a stunning UNESCO-listed Portuguese Catholic sanctuary perched above the city of Braga, about an hour northeast of Porto. 577 steps lead up to the grounds which make this a popular pilgrimage site, finishing at the church at the top, which is free to enter.
Dating back to 1373, various chapels and churches have existed on the site, with the present sanctuary having started being built in 1722. The famous staircase (listed by Arch Digest as one of the 20 most spectacular staircases in the world!) was added around 1781 by archbishop Gaspar de Bragança following a zigzag pattern dedicated to Faith, Hope and Charity, each with a fountain on a platform.
The church that currently stands atop the hill was built between 1784–1834) by Carlos Amarante and today attracts thousands of tourists who flock in awe at the magnificent architectural structure before them.
While I didn't love the city of Braga itself, I thoroughly enjoyed my sunny afternoon wandering the grounds of Bom Jesus do Monte. Everything's free to explore and, even though I've visited quite a number of religious buildings across Europe, I consider this one of the most spectacular. It was truly delightful.
You can very easily reach Bom Jesus do Monte directly from the city of Braga by taking bus #2 for €1,55 each way, which will drop you off and pick you up at the start of the 577 steps.