Braga an Ancient City in Portugal


Beautiful Braga

Braga is a beautiful Portuguese city of 200,000+ inhabitants and a cultural and religious tourist destination with a large pedestrian zone. Furthermore, it is a city you feel at home in. The narrow streets and alleyways are filled with people chatting and enjoying themselves in parks, cafes, bars and restaurants. Food and wine in Braga is very cheaper and everyone eats out. The average menu including delicious Portuguese wines costs as little as 15euros. It is the ideal base to stay for those planning to do day trips to Bom Jesus Cathedral, Ponte Lima, Guimarães and Porto. 

Braga City Signage

Architecture in Braga

Braga is renowned as ‘the capital of baroque. It is famous for its baroque period artworks – using the gilded art technique of carved timber and the application of gold leaf. The city is full of beautiful churches and worshippers. Large crowds gather before and after church services as religion is very much a part of Portuguese life.

Braga an Ancient City in Portugal

Bom Jesus Sanctuary

Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary located 5k and approximately 15 minutes from Braga city centre emerges as the greatest religious icon of this period. The easiest place to catch a taxi to Bom Jesus is from the main railway station (Estacoa de Comboios) and costs around 8€ each way. Firstly, the Bom Jesus site is a gem for photographers and visitors. Flights of stairs lead you upwards to the impressive picturesque cathedral.

Secondly, at the top you are rewarded with stunning views over Braga city and exterior view of Church of Bom Jesus. On the cathedral level are a couple of boutique hotels, restaurants and bars offering 360 degree panoramic views of Braga below. A picnic area and walking trails are above the cathedral and visitors can hire small wooden boats and paddle throughout the gardens on the man-made lake.

Braga Accommodation

I stayed 3 nights in Braga at Hotel Albergaria Se for 35 euro per night including continental breakfast. The hotel is located in a great location next to the main cathedral, with free Wi-Fi, lift and within walking distance from the train and bus terminals. My room was clean, roomy and service was both friendly and helpful.

Pilgrim Check Point

Camino pilgrims travel through Braga on their way to Santiago de Compostela. Se de Cathedral is the first cathedral built in Portugal and a major landmark on the pilgrimage circuit. The cathedral was built in the 12th century by order of the parents of the first king of Portugal, D. Henrique and D. Teresa, who are also buried there. Although, there is a 2€ entry fee into the cathedral, it is well-worth it.

Pilgrims are given the credential and stamps from the Braga tourist office.  There are 6 pilgrim hostels located within 2k of the centre ranging from 12€ including free breakfast and wifi. A number of restaurants serve a pilgrim lunch and dinner menu:

• Cafe Santa Cruz

• Confeitaria Lusitana

• Taberna do Migaites

More About Portugal

Planning a trip to Portugal? Thinking about walking the camino? Well, check out these Portugal blogs.

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