Hi and welcome to each one of you, have you rested enough? Because today we are about to reach a new destination and there is no more time to relax; legs, head and energy is all we need, if you have all this then we immediately start presenting our destination for the day.
Braga is located in the homonymous district, north of Portugal and it is, after Porto, the second most important city in the north being it a fundamental agricultural and industrial economic center. In 2012 Braga was the European Youth Capital and it is not a coincidence, given that the city is an important university city. Of great historical importance for the Roman settlement so much to be considered the “Portuguese Rome”. A particularly heartfelt celebration is the Holy Week (Semana Santa) which takes place the week before Easter. Numerous processions and events are held with many traditional costumes (an example are the farricocos, people that are dressed in black from head to toe). Another heartfelt celebration is the feast of Sao Joao dedicated to St. John, the patron of Braga. These celebrations are opportunities to not be missed if you are interested to know more about the uses and customs of the city.
To know more ( what to eat, where to eat, where to have fun, things to visit…) continue to read.
Ok, now that everything is ready we can start the tour.
PLACES TO VISIT (MUSEUMS/THEATERS…)
Santuário do Bom Jesus do Monte
- Santuário do Bom Jesus do Monte: we anticipate that this place is not as you can imagine, it will surely be much more than you think. Before reaching the sanctuary, you have to take a long stairway and then another one that “disappears” between the high walls along the stairs (everything symbolizes the spiritual path). Between the different landings you will be able to admire the stages of the Via Crucis. Then arrived at the end there will be other stairs (yes, they are so many but don’t worry for those who don’t want, you don’t have to, there is always the funicular “elevador do Bom Jesus” one of the few to use the water as motive power which, however, we suggest you to take only in extreme cases so as not to lose the beauty and history that tells each step taken) and finally here is the long-awaited sanctuary. In front of you there will be a multitude of views, that of the city, fountains, a hotel, shops, panoramic terraces and all immersed in a very vast and beautiful park. Something really crazy.
- Sé Catedral de Braga: it is one of the most important monuments of the city and it is an imposing construction of Portugal (well, we are talking about the cathedral of Braga!) so much that it has influenced the structures of many Portuguese monasteries and churches.Its style is a mix of Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque. Compared to other cathedrals this is not very large (and is also located in a small square) and is also composed of two towers, with bells, on the sides. The interior… well, it’s worth visiting! Another church, the Congregados Basilica is also famous and appreciated. We would like to recommend it, if you have time or if you are looking for churches to visit.
- Castelo de Guimarães: the castle is a symbol of important battles in Portuguese history. The building is located along the Rua Conde Dom Enrique. It is quite large and is composed of eight towers and there is a beautiful garden all around. The interior is not very full but it gives you the opportunity to walk among the rocks and walk inside the castle. Also very close there is the palace of the Dukes of Bragança, amazing to visit.
- Jardim de Santa Bárbara: it is a municipal garden in the civil parish of Sé (located a few steps from the cathedral) right at the corner of the Archbishop’s Palace, the Paço Episcopal Bracarense (the interior houses some archives and a library). The garden is composed of hedges with geometric and well-defined designs and lots of color thanks to the magnificent flowers. In the central part of the garden there is a fountain representing a statute, the patron of the garden. Furthermore there are some arches, the remains of the medieval portico of the building. A thing to not forget is that nearby there is also the Castelo de Braga to visit. And if you are in the mood or just like visiting the castles, don’t miss Castelo de Lanhoso, located in the Braga district, Póvoa de Lanhoso.
- Citânia de Briteiros: this place is an open-air museum, located in the territory of Guimarães (Braga district) and more precisely on a hill. These are the remains of an ancient city and a great example of a Celtic settlement. This place is a must for those who love archeology but also for those who love nature, in fact it is an excursion surrounded by greenery with a wonderful surprise… the view that can be admired from up there, beautiful!
- Biscainhos Museum: a former noble residence, the museum is located in the civil parish of Braga. This exhibits collections of decorative arts and includes furniture, ceramics, porcelain and glass objects, plus some examples of watches. Before reaching the main door you will have to pass a gate and then a small fountain. This is a noble dwelling and this is visible from the beginning; think that the first floor includes seven rooms (one of these is that of the azulejo, really interesting and beautiful to see). In addition, the museum has a small courtyard on the inner side of the building, outside there is the well-finished gardens.
- Palácio do Raio: a beautiful palace, also known as Casa do Mexicano, in Baroque style with a completely blue facade, as it is decorated with azulejos. Inside a small collection of religious art. If you are not interested in what there is inside the building, it is worth going even just for the façade to admire it up close and why not, take some beautiful photos.
- Museu D. Diogo de Sousa: archological museum that houses collections that include principally objects, models from the excavations of the period from the Paleolithic to the Middle Ages. The exterior has a small green space and the structure is quite modern. If you love this genre, don’t miss it.
- Paços do Concelho de Braga: Braga Town Hall, it is a symbol of the city, headquarters of the Câmara Municipal. It is located in a small square in the center of which there is a small fountain. Furthermore, since 2002 it has been classified as a property of public interest and therefore this suggests that at least a visit, even a quick one, should be made; don’t you believe it?
- O Planetário – Casa da Ciência de Braga: this scientific center promotes and spreads culture, science and technology in an absolutely interactive way (involving the sight thanks to the monitors, the hearing…). A space suitable for all ages but above all for those who love this genre.
- Museu da Imagem: it is a museum entirely dedicated to photography. The collection there is one of the largest and most important in Portugal. There are both ancient images, such as historical and contemporary ones. In addition we also find models of some cameras from the oldest to the most modern. The museum is located right in the historical center near the Arco da Porta Nova (you will immediately notice it as the building is a beautiful red color).
- The Nogueira da Silva Museum: the museum with its very particular and beautiful structure includes important pieces of the Renaissance, Portuguese paintings, statues, furniture belonging to the seventeenth century, ceramics, ivory, silver and religious art creations and so on. In addition to all this there is the French garden, all to be admired.
The main theater in Braga is the Theater Circo.
Jardim de Santa Bárbara
Arco da Porta Nova
Well we’ve just started, so let’s continue without any break. Let’s go with the fun!
- Peneda-Geres National Park: a spectacular park both for the view and for what you can find there. Located on the hills the paths that run through the park are so many and quite easy to traverse. Along the way you will not only encounter some structures in rock and several milestones but also fantastic specimens of deer, horses. The areas however are also populated by wolves and golden eagles (but don’t worry that everything is absolutely monitored and under control). Certainly it is not very near from the center but not so far; also near the park there is the seventeenth-century spa town of Gerês (two beauties in one place, not bad!). Last warning: the park is very, very large that maybe one day will not be enough to visit it (and maybe not even two days) but it will be just one more reason to come back many other times.
- Parque da Praia Fluvial de Adaúfe: this river park, how you can guess, it has a bathing river surrounded by grass. It is also a suitable place for children and for anyone who wants to refresh the day on a hot day or just want to lie in the shade of a tree. It is perfect for activities like canoeing or paddle; ideal for picnics or simply to enjoy some snacks that you can find in the small bar located there. The access is free… So after all this what are you waiting for? Run to get your place and enjoy every single minute in that little oasis.
- Monte do Picoto: this viewpoint is different from those seen so far, it is a path to traverse (with a final surprise of course!) on a long bridge in wood where you will be able to see how high you are while doing it. At the end reached the final part you will have in front of you (besides a statue that represents a cross) a spectacular panorama of the city. We hope you will be there at sunset, maybe the best time to be there.
- Parque da Ponte: it is an urban park located in the Avenida da Liberdade, divided into four parts; the exterior (north) which includes gardens, lakes, some monuments, an auditorium; the inner one is the extension of the external part; the Complexo Desportivo da Ponte (east) is a sport complex and the Parque de Campismo da Ponte (south) the only campground in the city. The park is bordered to the north by the East river.
- Ponte de Prozelo: is a bridge that crosses the Cávado river, located in the municipality of Amares. It is not very long but it is such a peaceful and charming place that it will enchant you and make your eyes happy and plus will fill your camera with really beautiful photos.
- Around the city we find many beautiful places to visit including: the historic center (well it is right start from here!) which is obviously the main attraction of Braga. There are shops, traditional products, museums and churches (those seen in the last section) starting from Rua de Sousa where there is a beautiful pedestrian area. Almost all the main attractions of Braga are located just near the square. Avenida da Liberdade which is the main shopping street of Braga (and in this case there is little to say so have your credit cards in your hand and go!). And for a more traditional shopping there is Rua do Souto.
Praça da República located right in the historic center of the city and therefore one of the main ones, it is a square located between São Francisco and the Barão de São Martinho and the streets Central and Liberdade, in the center of which there is a fountain and historic buildings around it. Santiago square located in the south of the city; is a small square that houses the Santiago Seminario church. Largo Carlos Amarante is a square, right in the historic center of Braga, and consists of a central statue and around it some small gardens with benches where you can take a short break. Here there are important buildings such as the Hospital of São Marcos and the impressive Church of Santa Cruz. Largo da Senhora A Branca this small square is located at the end of the gardens of the Avenida Central; it has a trinagular shape in the center of which there is a stone monument and around it the flowered gardens and arches covered with plants. On one of the sides of the square there is the Palace of Senhora A Branca and the Church of Nostra Senhora A Branca (as well as a couple of sculptures). Conte de Agrolongo this other large square is mainly made of concrete with ornamental fountains, some green areas and plays for kids. It is a square with a bit of elevation gain, due to the land on which it was built but which makes it even more beautiful and evocative (well all the due merits to the architects). Nearby you can find several bars, parking lot, and various buildings (homes, hotel…). Then there is the Avenida Central which is not a square but certainly a beautiful street to have a nice walk. During your journey, right next to the Museu de Imagem, near Campo das Hortas and Rua D. Diogo de Sousa, you will meet the Arco da Porta Nova, a door, an arch, in baroque-neoclassical style. This represented the main entrance to the medieval city. The facade is very beautiful composed of a central statue and four (two on each side) species of small pyramids.
- If you want to visit also the surroundings areas of Braga there are many beautiful and interesting places to go to, one of them is: Guimaraes. The city is known because the first King of Portugal was born there, as well as being an important industrial and commercial center. One of the main attractions of the city is definitely the Paco dos Duques.
- Two activities that we want to suggest you but which are not in the center of Braga (but really only a few km away) are: Trek Portugal – Tours, Experiences & Adventure, full of fun, adventure and discoveries. For all that want to enjoy absolute peace, there is the option Taipas Termal, a thermal complex located at Largo das Termas.
Parque da Ponte
As we have already mentioned, Braga is a university town, so there is opportunities to have fun during the nightlife are a lot. Among the most popular places we can find: Praça da Republica, a popular meeting place for all (families, young people…). If you want to treat yourself to some good cocktails then head to the Cathedral; while for something quieter there is the district of Minho or the shopping center Shopping Braga Parque to spend a movie night.
Now let’s see some bars:
- SARDINHA BIBA: disco
- B-Side Night Club Karaoke Bar: karaoke club
- KeimÒdrumo: nightclub
- Nossa Dancetaria Ferreiros Braga: nightclub
- Lounge Bar
- Bô Zen: disco
- Lagars: disco
Bacalhau à Narcisa
And let’s start now with the gastronomy!
- Bacalhau à Narcisa: it is a dish based on cod, chips and onion. The cod is a very famous dish in Braga (especially in the Minho district) with so many variations that it is also difficult to count them!
- Caldo verde: is a soup made from potatoes and couve-galega (a variety of cabbage). To the broth are added slices of chorizo (sausages) or linguiça (a typical smoked pork sausage). It is then accompanied by corn or rye bread. We want to let you now that according to the original recipe, this dish must always be accompanied by a good Red Green Wine (a portuguese wine originating in the Minho district).
- Serradura: this dessert consists of a stratification and alternation between whipped cream and crumbled biscuits. Like almost every recipe, this one also has variations such as the addition of chocolate or cream strawberries. So good!
- Abade de Priscos: it is a rich caramel pudding made of eggs (always present!) and… as a “secret” ingredient we have a piece of bacon (that’s why the “rich” pudding). Think that it was one of the second placed in the seven wonders of the Portuguese gastronomic competition and therefore there is absolutely no reason to not taste it!
Abade de Priscos
WHERE TO EAT (RESTAURANTS/CAFE’…)
“Yes, but where can we eat?” You could ask yourself. We have the answer.
- Petisqueira Confiança: Mediterranean, European, Portuguese cuisine.
- Tábuas, copos & outras cenas: Mediterranean, European, Portuguese cuisine.
- Tasca do Carregal: Portuguese, Mediterranean, vegetarian cuisine.
- Restaurante O Jaco: Mediterranean, Portuguese cuisine.
- Retrokitchen: Mediterranean, European, Portuguese.
- Restaurante Cozinha da Sé: Mediterranean, European, Portuguese cuisine.
- Taberna Belga: European cuisine, Portuguese.
- Bira dos Namorados: bar with European cuisine.
- Confeitaria Casa Christina: European, Spanish, Portuguese cuisine.
- Twine Wine & Tapas: bar/wine bar with Portuguese cuisine.
- Paulo Padeiro: Mediterranean, European and Portuguese cuisine.
And with this we end our tour in Braga, ready (ok almost ready) for our next destination.
Let us know your opinions about this place. If you liked it or not, if you’ve been there or you’re going to go there? What you liked the most or least? We’re curious to read your opinions.
A big kiss to everyone.
Below we will list the accommodations that you can find in Braga.