Situated in northwestern Portugal, Braga is an ancient city and also the third largest city in Portugal that is popular for having plenty of churches. As one of Portugal’s oldest cities, Braga has its own charm that is hard to resist. If you are planning to visit Braga on your next vacation, here are top 10 things that you can do in Braga, Portugal:
1. Have a religious retreat at Bom Jesus do Monte
If you are a Christian, you should have a religious retreat at Bom Jesus do Monte. Perched on a hillside, the Bom Jesus do Monte is a pilgrimage destination with its stations of the cross. Take the sculptured stairs to get to the very top, where you will find the Bom Jesus Church, a baroque style sanctuary. What if you are not a Christian? Not a problem. You still can visit the religious site and admire the magnificent church and the sweeping view of the city from above.
Bom Jesus do Monte
Address: Estrada do Bom Jesus, 4715-261 Tenões, Portugal
Website: Bom Jesus do Monte
2. Visit Guimaraes Castle
Since you are in Braga, spare time to visit the Guimaraes Castle, which is located in Guimaraes. It takes approximately 18 minutes to get to Guimaraes from Braga by taxi. The imposing Guimaraes Castle was built in the 10th-century to protect its population from attacks of the outsiders. Back in the 10th-century, the size of the medieval castle was not as massive as today. The size of the castle was extended in the 12th-century and the size remains until today. Inside the castle, you can see an awesome collection of furniture, porcelain, portraits and others from the 17th and 18th centuries.
Address: R. Conde Dom Henrique, Guimaraes, Portugal
Website: Guimaraes Castle
3. Have a relaxing stroll around Santa Barbara Garden
Gardens will never fail to make us feel relaxed and refreshed, especially if the garden is as beautiful as the Santa Barbara Garden. Have a relaxed stroll amongst the greenery anytime you want as it is open 24 hours all year round. The Santa Barbara Garden was designed in the Romantic style by Jose Cardoso da Silva.
Santa Barbara Garden
Address: R. Dr. Justino Cruz 127, 4700-310 Braga, Portugal
Website: Santa Barbara Garden
4. Marvel at the iconic cathedral in Braga, Braga Cathedral
Historic attractions are always interesting to visit. One of the most popular historic attraction in Braga is the iconic cathedral called the Braga Cathedral. Built in the 12th-century, the cathedral has survived hundreds of years. Get ready to be captivated by the mixed architectural styles of the cathedral. Observe the large statue of Mary the Virgin and Her Child and the statue of Our Lady of the Milk in Manueline style, the two matching bell towers on the top of the façade and the Gothic arches of the north façade. Entering the cathedral, you will see enormous gilded organs from the 18th-century, really impressive.
Address: R. Dom Paio Mendes, 4700-424 Braga, Portugal
Website: Braga Cathedral
5. Enjoy nature at Peneda-Geres National Park
There are two main reasons you should visit the Peneda-Geres National Park. First, it is the only national park in Portugal. Secondly, for the unbelievable beauty offered by the park. The national park is a very peaceful area and you can experience tranquility in the park by walking, climbing, cycling, horse riding or driving. You can expect to see various plant and animal species as well as waterfalls, dams, villages and churches.
Peneda-Geres National Park
Address: northwest of Portugal
Website: Peneda-Geres National Park
6. Stop by Casa da Roda
Another attractive historic site of Braga is the Casa da Roda. So, make sure that you stop by the Casa da Roda. The building is an excellent example of the Florentine style from the renaissance period. The Casa da Roda is home to the Parish Council of Sao Joao do Souto.
Casa da Roda
Address: Rua de São João, 4820-142 Braga, Portugal
7. Wonder at Raio Palace
Everyone who visits Braga should come to wonder at the Raio Palace, which is located in the center of the city. The 18th-century building is considered as one of the most important works of Baroque architecture not only in Braga, but also in Portugal. Designed by Andre Soares da Silva, the Raio Palace is renowned for its ornamental façade and granite interior.
Address: Braga Norte 920, 4700 Braga, Portugal
8. Relax at Praca da Republica
You cannot miss the Praca da Republica while in Braga. The Praca da Republica is a massive square situated at the heart of the city. The square is the local peoples’ favorite place to hang out. You can relax in a restaurant or a cafe there. Alternatively, if shopping makes you relaxed, you can go shopping as there are many shops to satisfy your needs.
Praca da Republica
Website: Praca da Republica
9. Visit Monastery of São Martinho de Tibães
Approximately 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) from Braga, you will find a grand monastery named the Monastery of São Martinho de Tibães. Founded by Saint Martin of Dume in the 6th-century, the monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in Portugal. Explore the monastery and don’t miss the points of interest, which include the gold-leafed carving and the Baroque organ and the tiling examples.
Monastery of São Martinho de Tibães
Address: Rua do Mosteiro, 4700-565 Mire de Tibães, Braga, Portugal
10. Absorb the beauty of Arco da Porta Nova
The Arco da Porta Nova is an arch, a beautiful one. So, make sure you take the time to absorb the beauty of the Arco da Porta Nova, the main entrance gate into Braga that was built a long time ago in 1512.
Arco da Porta Nova
Address: Rua Dom Diogo de Sousa, Braga Norte 4700, Portugal
Fall in love with Braga
Everything about Braga will make you fall in love with the city. The nature, the architectural gems, the people, the food and the culture, among other things, are going to leave you speechless. Braga should definitely be on your list.
Get Trip101 in your inbox