Bom Jesus Sanctuary, Braga, northern Portugal

Dazzling in the theatricality of both its location and conception, Bom Jesus is a place of pilgrimage like no other – a Jacob’s ladder of religious symbols topped by an imposing church.

Classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2019, it includes a series of chapels that house sculptures evoking the Passion of Christ, as well as fountains, allegorical sculptures and formal gardens.

Located on the slopes of Mount Espinho, overlooking the city of Braga in the north of Portugal, this cultural landscape evokes a sacred mount in Christian Jerusalem.

The site dates back to the 1720s and has since been receiving thousands of pilgrims every year who fervently climb the hundreds of steps, sometimes on their knees, stopping at the numerous small shrines en route.

The celebrated Stairway of the Five Senses, with its walls, steps, fountains, statues and other ornamental elements, is the most emblematic Baroque work in the entire sanctuary.

A water-powered funicular opened in 1882 provides a less arduous means of reaching the top.