Situated in the old town of Porto and with a 75-metre tall bell tower, the Clerics church is not to be missed. Clerigos Church Porto is frequently considered to be one of the main landmarks of Porto.
History of Clerigos Church Porto
A beautiful baroque-style church, this was designed in the 18th century and built over a seventeen-year period by Italian architect Nicolau Nasoni. It was built for the brotherhood of the clergy (the clérigos) and has been a National Monument since 1910! Nasoni was actually buried in an unmarked tomb in the crypt of the church when he passed away in 1773.
The church was the first church in Portugal to feature an ellipse-shaped plan. There is a gallery that allows you an incredible view of the whole church. The extravagance of the Baroque period can be viewed in several details throughout the church in the ornate carvings, alters and marble that can be seen within the church.
The tower of the church was completed in 1763 and is 75-metre tall with 225 steps over 6 floors! The top of the tower gives incredible 360-degree views over Porto and it is an amazing place from which to view the sunset over the city. It is the tallest bell tower in all of Portugal! While its steep steps may take your breath away, the views at the top, from the viewing platform, are worth the climb. Once at the top, you’ll also be able to see the 49 bells within the tower – they’ll certainly leave your ears ringing if you’re in the bell tower when they go off!
Since 2014, The House of the Brotherhood has been a museum open to the public. You can now go and visit places that were once private such as the dispatch room, the safe room and the registry. There are lots of artefacts here such as art, gold, furniture, that demonstrate the culture of the past.
Also interesting to view is the old infirmary. This was in use until the end of the 19th for sick clerics. It has now been turned into an exhibition place full of interesting objects! There are many strong demonstrations of their faith depicted by the variety of artwork on display here.
Visiting times, tickets, and how to get there
Visiting is open from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm every day except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The last entry is 30 minutes prior to closing. Tours are offered, either free tours using a map etc, or you can pay for a guided tour.
There are several ticket options available, depending on which time you want to visit and whether you want to see the church, museum, tower or all three! A day pass – for a visit between 9 am and 7 pm – costs €6 to visit the tower and the museum, with children under 10 getting in for free and students being entitled to 50% off.
For a guided tour which includes the museum, the tower, and the church, this costs €6.50 or again is free for under 10s and half-price for students. There is also a night pass option for the tower only which is €5. The opportunity to get a 360-degree view over Porto at sunset is one not to be missed! Tickets can be purchased upon arrival at the church, however, it’s always a good idea to book in advance, to ensure you definitely get the time and day you want!
Given its central location, there are plenty of ways to travel to the church. By metro, you want to take line D to Aliados, by tram take line 22 to Carmo, then you have short walks from each to the church. Busses 6, 20, 35, 37, 52, and 78 all travel by the church too, so also make good options for travel.
A fascinating insight into the historical architectural and religious history of Porto and Portugal as a whole, the church and museum are well worth a visit. While there is obviously a significant climb to reach the top of the bell tower if you’re able to do it, I’d highly recommend it! The views from the platform at the top are second to none and definitely make the climb worthwhile!
If you enjoyed this article on the Clerigos Church Porto you might also like to read about Porto in One Day.