Capela de Sao Silvestre from Seixosa

 

The climb to the Capela de Sao Silvestre is one of the toughest in the region. It lies on the very northern border of Portugal, and offers up stunning views of the entire region. The Capela, or chapel , is situated at 720m above sea level, the highest navigable point of the area. Now amongst the windmills that dominate the landscape, it truly is a breathtaking place. How do you get up there?

The climb is best approached via the village of Real from Seixosa. The first couple of kms rise gently, then kick up through Real and Gandra. The slope  stays constant at around 7-8% until km5 passing Taiao. The road is well layed, and very quiet indeed. However, this all serves as a gentle starter to the main course later on. Km5 to km 7.5 are very gentle, pretty flat, and should be used to take deep breaths.

The last 5km of this climb average 8.2%, and frequently touch double digits. The last village is Felguerias, followed by a 1 km ramp ,dead straight at 13%. This will sap the energy, but the gradient does not let up. The final 750m averages 14%, touching 20%, with the last 150m cobbled at 12%. When the Capela de Sao Silvestre comes into sight, it is like a mirage. The view from the top is worth all the hurt. A 360o  panoramic view of the Miño valley and the ocean beyond. And climbs such as the Arga de Cima can be seen in all their glory.