Serra do Pilar Monastery

Discover the Serra do Pilar Monastery and its imposing circular cloister, in Vila Nova de Gaia, nearby Porto.

Serra do Pilar Monastery , Vila Nova de Gaia
Serra do Pilar Monastery
© José Melim

The Serra do Pilar Monastery is a 17th century bare church standing over the Duero river in Vila Nova de Gaia, located in front of Porto.

This church is registered as World Heritage by UNESCO in 1996. and features a circular floor covered by an impressing semicircular vault. Inside, it’s worth noting the gilded and white-gilded sculptures, as well as the vast cloister (also registered as National Monument), with a circular vault supported by 36 ionic columns.

Mosteiro Serra do Pilar
Mosteiro Serra do Pilar 
© António Amen

The church was taken by the Duke of Wellington during the Peninsular War (1807-1814).

This Mannerist monastery is a unique example throughout Portugal, due to the fact that both the church and the cloister have a circular floor, much more common in civil architecture.

Its location was crucial in 1809, during the invasion of the Napoleonic Troops, and between 1832 and 1833, since it was used as a military base during the liberal wars. It was also given the title of fortress and turned into an artillery headquarter.

From its terrace you can enjoy marvellous views over the Douro river, the oldest part of the city, and the roofs of the renowned wineries of Porto wine.

re o Rio Douro, a zona mais antiga da cidade e os telhados das Caves do Vinho do Porto.

More information:


Mosteiro Serra do Pilar, Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal.

Ticket Price:

Cloister and exhibitions: 1€
Climb and visit the bell tower: 3€
Youth Card and People over 65: 50% discount
Under 12: free admission.

Opening hours:

From Tuesdays to Sundays from November to March from 9:30 to 17:30 /
From April to October from 9:30 to 18:30.

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