A Journey to Northern Portugal: 15 Places Not to Miss in Braga

Braga is an important center in the north of Portugal with its unique architecture and medieval historic fabric. The local people of this beautiful city, where I had the opportunity to live for six months, are very friendly and helpful. The University of Minho, on the other hand, is home to many foreign students. For this reason, there is an international environment where you can meet people from many different nationalities. Braga‘s proximity to other cities such as Porto and Guimarães, as well as the Galicia region of Spain, makes it an important point in terms of its location. I have compiled some of the most important places to see in Braga, Portugal’s largest city after Lisbon, Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia:

 

15. Estádio Municipal de Braga

The Stadium of S. C. Braga, the football club of the city of Braga, which plays in Primeira Liga, is a bit out of the city center, but a place for those interested in football.

14. Mosteiro de São Martinho de Tibães

Mosteiro de São Martinho de Tibães (The Monastery of St Martin of Tibães in English) is a monastery situated in the parish of Mire de Tibães, near Braga. It was the central place of the Benedictine order in Portugal and Brazil, and its decoration was made in the Rococo style.

13. Igreja da Misericórdia de Braga

The Misericórdia Church, built in 1562 during the Renaissance period, is a church located in the parish of Sé in Braga, Portugal. It is one of the few Renaissance monuments in Braga. Despite the changes in the 18th and 19th centuries, the church preserves its importance.

12. Arco da Porta Nova

The Arch of the New Gate (in English), a Baroque and Neoclassical arch, designed by André Soares in the late 18th century, in the parish of Sé. This building, which adorns the western entrance of the medieval walls of the city, was opened in 1512 and became a place where respected and famous personalities of the city passed. Today, after passing through the Arch and Andrade Corvo Street, you can reach at the Braga Train Station (Estação Ferroviária de Braga).

11. Chapel of São Frutuoso de Montélios

The Chapel of São Frutuoso or the Chapel of São Salvador of Montélios, is a pre-Romanesque chapel in the civil parish of Real (royal region), municipality of Braga. It is part of group of religious buildings that include the Royal Church, and originally built by the Visigoths in the 7th century, in the form of a Greek cross. In the 18th century it was incorporated into a Baroque church. Since 1944, it has been classified as a National Monument.

10. Palácio do Raio

The Palace of Raio, opened in 1754, is a Baroque-era residence in the urbanized area of the municipality of Braga, in the civil parish of São José de São Lázaro. It is an example of the late Baroque, early Rococo style of decoration by Portuguese architect André Soares.

9. Museu dos Biscainhos

The Museum of Biscaínhos, which is a good example of the Barroque architecture style, is located in the residential Palace of a form noble family, who built it in the 17th century.

8. Theatro Circo

The Theatre Circo, designed by the architect João de Moura Coutinho, is a 20th-century, Portuguese revivalist theatre, in the civil parish of São João do Souto. It was first inaugurated on 21 April 1915. The building was restored by the municipal council of Braga, and reopened in 2006.

7. Torre de Menagem

The Menagem Tower, is all that remains of the original 14th century castle completed during the reign of King Dinis I (1261-1325). Today it is completely renovated and inside the keep is a small Military Museum.

6. Santuário de Nossa Senhora do Sameiro

Sitting atop a hill of the same name, at 566 metres of altitude, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sameiro is one of the most visited places of Marian worship in Portugal. Also, Sameiro is situated in the south of Bom Jesus do Monte, 30 minutes away on foot.

5. Parque de São João da Ponte

Parque da Ponte, or Parque de São João da Ponte, is an urban park in the city of Braga, Portugal. The park, located at the end of Avenida da Liberdade.

4. Jardim de Santa Bárbara

This beautiful garden (Garden of Santa Barbara) is located very close to Braga’s city center, next to the former episcopal palace (Paço Arquiepiscopal Bracarense). This garden, in which flowers of many colors are arranged in different geometrical shapes, attracts different kinds of birds. The buildings around the garden have carried examples of Gothic architecture to the present day.

3. Catedral de Braga

The Cathedral of Braga (also known as Sé de Braga in Portuguese) was the first Portuguese cathedral, erected several decades before the founding of the country. It began to be builtin the 11th century, and was dedicated to the Virgin Mary by Bishop Pedro in a solemn session on August 28, 1089. D. Henrique and D. Teresa, parents of the first king of Portugal, are buried in the Chapel of Kings.

2. Praça da República

Praça da República, also known as Arcada, is located in the parish of São José de São Lázaro. The square was shaped in the 19th century. There are various shops to visit in the square. You can take a good coffee at Café A Brasileira in the break of your trip in Braga. Don’t forget to walk through the Avenida da Liberdade to see other historic structures and different type of shops!

1. Bom Jesus do Monte

Bom Jesus do Monte (Good Jesus of the Mount) is a Portuguese sanctuary in Tenões, outside the city of Braga. The 116-meters-altitude sanctuary is a perfect example of pilgrimage site. This sanctuary which includes a Baroque style stairs and a Neoclassical church completed in 1834 attracts a good number of tourists per year. The sanctuary was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 7 July 2019. Also, you can take the oldest funicular of the world (Bom Jesus do Monte Funicular) which began to construct in the 19th century to reach at Bom Jesus.

 

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Bonus: Good Vibes in Braga, 2013

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