GUIMARÃES

Portugal was born here. In 1100, Guimares was the capital of the fledging kingdom of Portucale and today, it's has the status of UNESCO World Heritage. The old centre of Guimarães features honey-colored balconied houses, an imposing castle and a series of medieval churches, convents and buildings.

Plus, it's custard pastry heaven!

BRAGA

One of the country's most ancient towns, Braga is Portugal's most important religious center. The cathedral alone it worth the visit, with its magnificent twin Baroque organs, supported by life-sized figures of satyrs, mermen and monstrous fish. Photos were not allowed and my attempt to find any photos online brought no results.

BOM JESUS DO MONTE

Located 5km east of Braga, the church and stairways ensemble is set in the woods above the city, as a design, it's one of the greatest of all Baroque architectural creations.

The glorious ornamental stairway of granite and white plaster is a monumental homage and it remains the object of devoted pilgrimage. Each of the stairway landings has a fountain representing a religious theme, the five Senses, and the Virtues. Luckily Scott and I did not have to fight with other pilgrims to pose in front of the whimsical fountains.