7 Things to See in Braga

jana meerman braga portugal (4)

For my first weekend in Porto, I decided I was settled enough and that it was time to head out of the city on a day trip. Fall is in the air, though much more belatedly than in central Europe, so the days are still warm and sunny, but the beautiful colours are starting to appear all around and the leaves are beginning to fall. It's the perfect weather for exploring.

Braga is the northernmost big city in Portugal, about an hour northeast of Porto by train. It's very easy to get to - just one train straight out of Porto either at São Bento or Campanhã - and costs €3,75 each way, which makes this a really affordable day trip.

"In Braga they pray, in Porto they work, in Coimbra they study, in Lisbon they govern and in the Algarve they play." - Old Portuguese saying

This seems to ring quite true for Braga as it is home to a great many religious sites, including perhaps most importantly of all, the beautiful Bom Jesus do Monte sanctuary just outside the city, now a UNESCO world heritage site.

If you're after a wonderful day trip idea out of Porto or find yourself in Braga on your next adventure through western Europe, here are my top picks for things to see in the city:

Arco da Porta Nova

When you enter the city, you're likely to first walk through the Arco da Porta Nova (Arch of the New Gate) which was designed by architect André Soares - who also designed City Hall - in the late 18th century.

Location: R. Dom Diogo de Sousa 127

jana meerman braga portugal (3)
jana meerman braga portugal (3)

Braga City Hall

Construction began on this beautiful city building in 1754 by architect André Soares but took over 100 years to finish and wasn't completed until 1865! Today, it's home to Câmara Municipal, the city local government.

Location: Praça do Município, 4700-435

jana meerman braga portugal (3)

Braga Cathedral

While you do have to pay a fee to go inside, it's impressive to circle around the outside. As I was here on a Sunday, I could hear the faintest most beautiful singing coming from inside... it was wonderful.

Location: R. Dom Paio Mendes, 4700-424

jana meerman braga portugal (4)

Jardim de Santa Barbara

A delightfully colourful garden in the heart of Braga is the perfect spot to sit and rest for a while, surrounded by medieval buildings now housing the local university and library.

Location: R. Dr. Justino Cruz, 4700-317

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Igreja de São Marcos

This beautiful church is one of the largest in the city and nowadays features the big "Braga" letters out front, making this a fun shot to get.

Location: R. de São Bentinho 21, 4700-327

jana meerman braga portugal (7)

Palácio do Raio

Considered one of the most beautiful buildings in Braga and once the home of a wealthy merchant in the 18th century, this architecturally intricate building features the famous exterior tiling so often seen in Portugal.

Location: Braga Norte 920, 4700-327

jana meerman braga portugal (8)

Bom Jesus do Monte

The crowning jewel of Braga is actually not inside the city, but about 6km out, easily and directly reachable by bus. Bom Jesus do Monte is a UNESCO-listed religious sanctuary perched on the hill with one of the world's most stunning staircases (according to Arch Digest!) with 577 steps to climb to the top, providing a most idyllic spot for a sunny afternoon wander. Plus, the church is free to visit!

Check out my detailed guide to Bom Jesus do Monte here!

Location: Estrada do Bom Jesus, 4715-056

jana meerman bom jesus do monte braga portugal (2)
jana meerman bom jesus do monte braga portugal (2)



Pinterest - Braga (1)
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Jana Meerman

Hi! I’m Jana, a British-Dutch-Canadian with a dream of seeing every country in the world. I am a storyteller, photographer and adventurer passionate about documenting and sharing my travels.

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