Lamego is a beautiful little town set within the hills of the Douro region and with its close proximity to many other towns within the area, it makes for a great spot for a day trip.
One popular stop on many people’s lists, when they come to this area, is Lamego Cathedral. Its eclectic mix of architectural styles from Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline, Renaissance and Baroque certainly gives you a lot to examine!
Here we’ll explain a little more about the history of the cathedral, where it’s located and it’s opening times etc:
History and Architecture of Lamego Cathedral
This cathedral is actually the oldest in all of Portugal! It was built on the site of a former chapel and officially consecrated in 1175 with it being dedicated to Saint Mary and Saint Sebastian. However, all that remains of the original 12th century architecture today is the bell tower! The tower windows and their intricate details are a fine example of the Romanesque style of that period.
The cathedral’s facade and its triple portico are some of the finest examples of Manueline decor you will see in Portugal.
Inside the cathedral, the style changes again to Baroque. This was designed by Nicolau Nasoni, whose 18th century works can be seen in a variety of architecture throughout Portugal. The ceiling paintings in here are incredible as well as the amazing skylight, allowing sunlight to flood over the amazing designs.
There is also a small two storey cloister within the cathedral, demonstrating Renaissance style. Here you will find a dozen stone arches with a central fountain. The cloisters lead off the small chapels, where in one of them, the St. Nicholas chapel, the tomb of the founding bishop can be found. The contrasts in styles are highly evident here, with the baroque style being presented directly next to a chapel with stunning blue and white scenes depicted in those classic Portuguese azulejos.
How to get to Lamego Cathedral
Lamego is very small and the cathedral is very centrally located within Lamego and is close to many other attractions such as the museum and also the Ribeiro Conceição Theatre. The centre of Lamego is walkable.
Being so centrally located within Lamego, makes it an easy option for people to visit.
If you are looking to visit when it is likely to be more quiet, then the busiest days are Tuesdays and Saturdays and you may want to avoid going then!
People spend approx 30mins within the cathedral but there’s so much to see that you could easily spend longer!
The cathedral is completely free to enter and you can spend as long as you like within it, soaking up the atmosphere and marvelling at the array of architectural designs. It is worth noting though, that during mass and other events, the church will be open for prayer only and won’t be open for visitors.
The cathedral is usually open from 8 am to 1 pm, then 3 pm to 7 pm every day of the week. There’s no need to book in advance, though it may still be a good idea to pre-plan when you will be likely to visit, just so you can ensure there are no services etc taking place. The cathedral’s official website for all relevant information is: https://paroquiaselamego.wixsite.com/geral
There you will be able to check if the cathedral is going to be closed to visitors on any day for any reason. The website also gives much more interesting information about the religious and architectural history and significance of the cathedral as well as any special events that may be taking place throughout the year, that you may be interested in witnessing if able!
The website will initially appear in Portuguese, however, at the top of the page is a little tab you can click on, which will allow you to choose to see the website in either Portuguese, English or French. Some web browsers such as google chrome, also offer a translation feature for many sites.
Being the oldest cathedral in the whole of Portugal – that alone would make some people want to visit! For me, it’s the variety of different styles and architecture that can be viewed within the one building that’s its highlight. For others, it may be its religious significance.
Regardless of your reasoning, Lamego and its cathedral are definitely worth a visit!