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Reviewed 21 December 2020

Right after crossing "Rio Douro" and the awesome "Ponte Dom Luís I", you will reach Vila Nova de Gaia and its ancient "Mosteiro de Nossa Senhora do Pilar". The monastery had its construction started in 1537, commissioned by the Portuguese King Dom João III, and belonged to the friars of the Order of Saint Augustine. With Renaissance and Mannerist elements, it has "unique" characteristics in Portugal - its church and cloisters are both circular, with identical diameters! The "Mosteiro de Nossa Senhora do Pilar" was conceived with four wings. The church (West Wing) is connected to the cloister (East Wing) by a rectangular structure housing the choir and a chapel. The bell tower stands at the North Wing, while the sacristy and refectory occupy the South Wing. The monastery has been enlarged and restored several times along the years and, due to its extremely strategic position, it was converted, in 1947, into military barracks and still remains under the tutelage of the "Regimento de Artilharia da Serra do Pilar". Finally, it is important to stress that the monastery was recognized, in 1910, as a Portuguese National Monument, and is also part of the monuments - in Porto and in Vila Nova de Gaia - appointed by Unesco, in 1996, as a "World Heritage Site". We had a Portuguese guide and our visit to Vila Nova de Gaia and its attractions was safe and pleasant. Enjoy!

Date of experience: January 2020
1  Thank LuizDutraNeto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 September 2020

Car was broken into round the corner whilst we visited the Mosteiro. Visitors - DO NOT DRIVE HERE - gangs of old men are watching you from both sides of the river. Police won't help you. Please take this advice and don't let these thieves prosper any more from visitors to this area.

Date of experience: September 2020
Thank FlyawayStar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 April 2020 via mobile

Was a monastery but now some part are used for military purposes. Entrance fee is 2€ but there's nothing much to see. Just think of the 2€ as a donation for them to manage / maintain the place.

The positive side is: the view from the monastery, overlooking Luis Bridge, it's beautiful!

Date of experience: March 2020
Thank jjjsn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 April 2020

The view from the area at the front is fantastic on a sunny day. A large part of the structure is not accessible as it is now a military base so you can't see much more than the cloisters. If you pay for the tour you can see the church and tower. The latter was closed when we visited.
We had the tour, the guide was one of the most knowledgeable I have had. Probably a bit wasted on me. She was able to answer and explain what the paintings in the church represented as well as the history of the whole establishment. If you are going to go, get the tour or just take in the view.

Date of experience: March 2020
Thank dehenders0n
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 October 2019 via mobile

Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar is a monastery located in the upper part of Vila Nova de Gaia, a town on the other riverbank than Porto. Here you can arrive by cable car or walking, we used the first type of transport, from where you can see very beautiful views of Porto, Luis I bridge and Douro River. Also from the monastery. Pitifully, when we arrived there (according schedule should be open) but it was closed), so we only could see the main facade and the views: very beautiful. Next time we will try again!

Date of experience: September 2019
Thank AlbertSalichs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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