This little sanctuary in the mountains is a very well-kept secret. If you blink while driving along this road in the mountain range of Serra da Estrela, you’ll miss this place. Granted, the views are so amazing here (it’s the highest mountain on the Portuguese mainland), that even if you know it’s there you might miss it.
Just before you reach de Torre de Estrella, which is the highest point, you can spot this statue in a cove. The statue was placed in 1946 and made by António Duarte, a local priest. He wanted to honor the local shepherds because they had a hard job guiding their flocks in these mountains, due to the harsh weather conditions. The statue is seven meters (23 feet) tall and was meant to offer protection.
However, the sanctuary does have an associated festival and pilgrimage. Every year on the second Sunday in August people (mainly locals) come here and listen to mass and place flowers at the stone carved cross by Manuel Figueiredo.
Know Before You Go
The sanctuary is about 2 kilometers (1.24 miles) away from the Torre da Estrella. When coming from the side of Covilha, you'll be driving over a small overpass in a corner and then you'll see a small parking sign on your right. Park there and the sanctuary is right across from it. From the other side, you'll be coming out of a corner and there will be a small parking sign as well.