Braga Mini Guide
Where is Braga?
Braga is a city in the Cavado Valley, in the north west of Portugal. It is the oldest city in Portugal and the fifth largest. There you can see the old through the many ancient churches and the new, as it is also a university city.
There are regular fast trains from Porto
, should you have arrived there. Porto Airport
is the nearest at 53km away. From other cities in Portugal, Express and Renex buses connect the major cities with Braga. There are also weekly coach services to destinations in Europe.
What is There to See in the City?
You can start at the main square Praca da Republica where the old mixes with the new, you will see old fountains next to arcades. There you can see the 12th century Braga Cathedral, the most important monument in the city and a mix of architectural and artistic styles. Inside you will find the Cathedral Treasure Museum which has religious items with gold and precious stones. There is also an ornate baroque organ decorated with gold cherubs and sea creatures.
Two other churches worth visiting are the 16th century Populo Church and the renaissance style Misericordia Church. You can also visit the Archbishop’s Palace and its beautiful Santa Barbara Gardens and inside you’ll find the Biscainhos Museum, a collection of decorative arts. Finally, stop at Idols Fountain, an ancient Roman fountain with reliefs and inscriptions and the Tower of Braga, the only tower left of the old Gothic castle.
There are so Many Churches, can I do Something Else?
Go shopping at the local market and have a coffee at the oldest coffee shop in Braga, A Brasileira. For a bit of culture, go to see an opera at the Theatro Circo.
Out and About
A must visit is the stunning Bom Jesus Sanctuary, just outside the city. It is a place of pilgrimage and also a local attraction. The church’s two neoclassical towers sit on top of a huge baroque staircase that is lined with chapels, each one bringing a pilgrim through stages to his higher self. There is a funicular to the church for the weary but you will miss the ornate statues and water fountains on the way. For a quiet day out and to discover the natural beauty of the area, visit the National Park of Peneda-Gerez.
What Local Dishes Should I try?
The region is known for its gastronomy and is promoting gastronomic holidays in the region. take a look at www.visitportugal.com for more details. Whilst there, try the ‘caldo verde’, a soup with potatoes and kale and some corn bread and for a main course try the duck and rice with ham and sausage ‘pato com arroz de Braga’. If you need something sweet next, head for a Pastelaria and have a coffee and a ‘pastel de nata’, a custard tart.