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15 Best Things To Do In Braga

Braga is the oldest city in Portugal and has been a major cultural center since its foundation in 1186. It's known for its significant monuments and tourist attractions, such as Bom Jesus do Monte, the Arco da Porta Nova and the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sameiro.

If you're planning a visit to Braga during your trip to Portugal, there are plenty of enjoyable things to do and places to explore when you visit Braga. From museums and churches to markets and gardens, this beautiful city close to Porto offers something for everyone to see in Braga. So here’s a look at the best things to do in Braga.

1. Bom Jesus do Monte

Bom Jesus do Monte in Braga

Bom Jesus do Monte just outside of Braga in Tenões, Portugal is a Catholic pilgrimage site along the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus de Monte. It is located on top of a hill and consists of a set of Baroque stairs, and artesian fountains. The staircase has 600 granite steps divided into five sections, each leading up to an altar that symbolizes one of the five joys attributed to Mary. There are also two churches at the top, built in 1784 and 1811 respectively.

The hilltop Sanctuary is known for its breathtaking views over the city, especially when visitors reach the top after climbing all 600 steps. While taking in this view from ‘heaven’ it is hard not to feel emotion about crossing this journey - mentally and physically - to be where you stand today.


Address: Estrada do Bom Jesus, 4715-056 Tenões, Portugal

Phone: +351 253 676 636

2. Igreja De São Marcos

Igreja De São Marcos

Igreja de São Marcos is a mesmerizingly and historically significant church in beautiful Braga. It was built in the 12th century and stands proudly overlooking the city of Braga, offering breathtaking views to all who visit. The building boasts an impressive Romanesque design with elements of Gothic architecture throughout the interior. Inside, visitors can admire the intricate decorations and stunning stained glass windows that are unique to this church.

The Igreja de São Marcos has been a symbol of faith and hope for centuries, as it has remained standing despite numerous wars and natural disasters over time. Each year thousands of pilgrims travel to visit this revered site which also houses relics dating back to the 13th century including tombstones from Portuguese kings.


Address: R. de São Bentinho 21, 4700-327 Braga, Portugal

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3. Bom Jesus do Monte Funicular

Bom Jesus do Monte Funicular

The Bom Jesus do Monte Funicular is an incredible achievement of engineering and architecture, and of the fun things to put on your Braga itinerary. This unique 1882 built funicular railway has been transporting visitors up the hillside for centuries, stopping at a stunning Santuario shrine along the way. Although the original wooden cars have been retired, modernized versions are still used today by locals and tourists alike.

The journey itself is just as breathtaking as the destination – taking riders up 290 meters over a distance of 539 meters on a track that follows the natural slope of the hillside. As you make your way up, you can take in panoramic views of terraced gardens that flank either side of the tracks before reaching your destination at top which offers spectacular 360-degree vistas across this part of Northern Portugal.

4. Braga Cathedral

Braga Cathedral

Braga Cathedral is a beautiful and historic structure located in the heart of the northern Portuguese city of Braga in the old town. It was built over an existing chapel in 1070, although much of its current appearance dates back to a renovation that took place during the 1700s. The cathedral is one of the most important examples of baroque architecture in Portugal; its grand facade has two towers standing at nearly eighty meters tall.

When you visit the Cathedral you can explore numerous chapels dedicated to various saints, as well as a crypt containing the tombs belonging to past bishops and other noble figures. Braga Cathedral also houses many artworks from different periods including some fascinating pieces from the Romanesque era. There are two organs - one dating back to 1690 – which are still used for services today.


Address: R. Dom Paio Mendes, 4700-424 Braga, Portugal

Phone: +351 253 263 317

5. Praça da República

Praça da República in Braga

Praça da República is a magnificent public square that dates back to the 19th century. It is one of the most important landmarks in the city and is filled with historical importance. Within Praça da República, you will find some of the most iconic monuments and buildings in all of Braga – including its very own cathedral, Sé de Braga.

The main attraction of Praça da República is its central fountain, which was originally built in 1831 by King John VI as a symbol of progress and modernization within the city. This fountain has become a major part of local culture due to its impressive size and intricate design. Surrounding this beautiful fountain are many other notable structures such as government buildings, cafes and restaurants, banks, shops, galleries and much more to explore.

6. Santa Barbara Garden

Santa Barbara Garden

Santa Barbara Garden is a majestic and breathtaking sight that is well worth a visit during your trip to Braga. Located near the town centre of Braga, the garden of Santa Barbara was built by an anonymous benefactor over 400 years ago and remains a popular attraction among locals and tourists alike. It spans over four hectares of lush green lawns, colorful flora, vibrant trees and meandering paths that lead to hidden corners full of surprises.

The park is home to many exotic species of plants from around the world; its wildflower gardens provide day trippers with a delightful array of natural beauty. The tranquil atmosphere created by its ponds, waterfalls and fountains adds to its charm. Bird watching enthusiasts can often be seen marveling at the abundant bird life in Santa Barbara Garden from various vantage points throughout the park. In addition, there are several benches where visitors can relax or meditate among nature’s wonders for hours on end.


Address: Unnamed Road, 4700-317 Braga, Portugal

7. Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sameiro

Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sameiro

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sameiro is an impressive and awe-inspiring place. Located atop a 488-meter hill, the sanctuary is visible from miles away due to its large dome and cross that sit on the roof of the structure. Inside, travelers are greeted to a grand basilica with a large altar as well as numerous paintings honoring its namesake, Our Lady of Sameiro. It’s said that when pilgrims enter this sacred place they can feel the spiritual energy radiating from it.

In addition to being one of Portugal’s most popular pilgrimage sites, The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sameiro has been designated as part of Portuguese historical heritage since 2004. It boasts strong connections to religious history and tradition in Portugal dating all the way back to 1894 when its construction was completed under King Carlos I's orders.


Address: Av. Nossa Sra. do Sameiro 44, 4715-616 Braga, Portugal

Phone: +351 253 303 402

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8. Biscainhos Museum

Biscainhos Museum

The Biscainhos Museum in Braga is a must-see destination for vacationers interested in discovering the history of the city. Located on Rua dos Bombeiros Voluntarios, the museum houses an impressive collection of objects related to Braga's rich and diverse culture. From archaeological artifacts to paintings and sculptures, visitors can explore a variety of exhibits depicting life in this beautiful city during different periods of its history.

The museum also offers interactive experiences that allow you to immerse yourself in the cultural heritage of Braga. The audio-visual displays provide interesting information about traditional customs and folklore while art workshops enable visitors to create their own masterpieces inspired by local traditions. Additionally, there are several guided tours available that allow guests to learn more about the landmarks and sights around town from knowledgeable local guides.


Address: R. dos Biscaínhos s/n, 4700-415 Braga, Portugal

Phone: +351 253 204 650

9. Raio Palace

Raio Palace in Braga

Raio Palace in Braga is a spectacular sight to behold. Originally built in the 18th century, the palace still remains grand and majestic with its Baroque architecture overlooking the city from above. It has become an iconic landmark of Braga and its history as well as a popular tourist destination for those visiting Portugal.

Raio Palace first served as a Jesuit school when it was originally constructed. The interior is full of ornate details such as frescoes depicting religious scenes, painted wood ceiling beams, beautiful tiled floors and more. In addition to its impressive architectural features, the palace also houses numerous art galleries that feature works from both local and international artists. Guests can enjoy strolling through these galleries taking in all of the various pieces or simply soak up the splendor of this magnificent site while enjoying views of the city below.


Address: Braga Norte 920, 4700-327 Braga, Portugal

Phone: +351 253 206 520

10. Chapel of São Frutuoso

Chapel of São Frutuoso de Montélios

The Chapel of São Frutuoso de Montélios is a beautiful religious landmark full of historical significance. This chapel dates back to the 8th century and is located on top of Monte do Castelo, near the Braga city centre. The main structure was destroyed by a fire in 1756 but it has since been rebuilt with its original Gothic architectural style.

The focal point of this chapel is an altar that displays a statue depicting Saint Frutuoso, the first bishop of Braga. The walls are lined with 16th century azulejo tiles which showcases biblical stories and floral patterns; these stunning pieces were handmade by local artisans who still use traditional techniques to make them to this day.

11. Igreja De Santa Cruz

Igreja De Santa Cruz in braga

Igreja De Santa Cruz in Braga is a breathtaking church that is filled with beauty and history. Located in the center of town, this twelve-century old Romanesque structure stands among the narrow cobblestone streets of Braga, making it one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks well worth visiting. Here, you will be immediately mesmerized by its grandiose towers, which hover over the entrance that contains a limestone carving of Christ on top.

Just inside are five naves with intricate wooden sculptures and stained glass windows that adorn both sides of the aisle. The ceilings have been painted to represent paradise, giving guests a sense of awe as they gaze upon all its glories.

In addition to being an architectural wonder, Igreja De Santa Cruz also houses some important relics from Braga’s past.


Address: Praça 8 de Maio, 3001-300 Coimbra, Portugal

Phone: +351 239 822 941

12. Arco da Porta Nova

Arco da Porta Nova

Arco da Porta Nova is a Baroque architectural marvel built in the 18th century. Its structure stands at 11 meters high and is supported by two columns that connect to a central arch. It serves as a monumental gateway to the historic city center of Braga and has been declared an important national monument of Portugal.

The honey-colored facade of Arco da Porta Nova was crafted with intricate stone carvings depicting images of birds, foliage and religious figures such as Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary and Saint Peter. The topmost part of the archway is capped off with Latin inscriptions on both sides which translates to “This Gate Was Raised By João V”. The structure has since become a popular tourist destination due to its beautiful architecture and fascinating historical significance.


Address: R. Dom Diogo de Sousa 127, 4700-424 Braga, Portugal

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13. Monastery of São Martinho de Tibães

Monastery of São Martinho de Tibães

The Monastery of São Martinho de Tibães, located in historic Braga, Portugal, is a beautiful example of Baroque architecture. Built between 1704 and 1730 by the architect João Antunes, the structure is an impressive sight to behold. The monastery's main highlight is its awe-inspiring interior that features intricately decorated tiles depicting stories from the bible.

The church has a large golden altar which was created by the renowned Portuguese sculptor Manuel da Costa Rêgo in 1756. This masterpiece stands out among all other altars as it contains several carvings and statues representing religious figures such as Mary Magdalene, St. Teresa of Ávila, St. Augustine and many others.


Address: R. do Mosteiro n.º 59, 4700-565 Mire de Tibães, Portugal

Phone: +351 253 622 670

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14. Misericórdia Church

Misericórdia Church

Being one of the top things to see around the city, the Misericórdia Church is a national monument and well-known landmark in Braga city. It is a Baroque style church founded by an order of monks known as the Brothers of Misericordia. The main façade is made up of two bell towers, while the interior consists of three naves with side chapels and an organ from 1785. The church also has many decorative elements, such as two large organs and several precious stones sculptures.

The interior of Misericórdia Church features many interesting features, including golden altars and magnificent statues that were sculpted by Anton Bustorff - one of the most renowned sculptors at the time.


Address: R. Dom Diogo de Sousa 124, 4700-424 Braga, Portugal

15. The Museu Pio XII

Museu Pio XII in Braga

The Museu Pio XII in Braga is a perfect place to explore the city's history and culture. This museum was founded in 1969 and is located in the heart of the old city, close to its famous cathedral. It houses a large collection of artifacts from both ancient and modern times, giving visitors an insight into the development of Braga over centuries.

The exhibition hall showcases everything from pottery to coins and even archaeological items excavated from local Roman ruins. The museum has something for everyone; there are interactive displays that children can enjoy as well as rooms dedicated solely to artworks by local artists.

In addition to its permanent exhibitions, the Museu Pio XII often hosts special events such as lectures, workshops and concerts.


Address: Largo de Santiago 47, 4700-039 Braga, Portugal

Phone: +351 253 200 130

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Q: What is Braga Portugal known for?

A: Braga is known for its rich history, captivating architecture, and vibrant cultural scene. As one of the oldest cities in the country, Braga proudly showcases its historical heritage through its numerous archaeological sites and charming medieval streets. The iconic Sé Cathedral stands tall as a symbol of Braga’s religious significance and architectural prowess. Dating back to the 11th century, this imposing cathedral boasts intricate Baroque details and amazing views from its bell towers.

Braga also holds a prominent place in Portuguese culture due to its lively festivals and events. The city comes alive during Holy Week when millions of visitors flock to witness Semana Santa celebrations. This week-long event includes processions where locals dress up in traditional attire while carrying religious statues through the streets.

Q: Is Braga a beautiful city?

A: Yes, Braga is widely regarded as a beautiful city. Braga is often referred to as the "Rome of Portugal" due to its numerous churches, including the iconic Bom Jesus do Monte, which offers stunning views from its hilltop location. The historic city center features well-preserved medieval and baroque buildings, narrow streets, and lively squares. Braga also has beautiful gardens and parks, such as the Santa Barbara Garden and the Parque da Ponte.

Q: Is Braga a walkable city?

A: The answer lies in its well-designed urban layout and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure. One of the key factors that make Braga highly walkable is its compact size. Most of the major attractions are located within close proximity to each other, allowing visitors to easily navigate the city without requiring any form of transportation. Furthermore, Braga boasts an extensive network of pedestrian-only areas and promenades.

Q: Does Braga have beaches?

A: Despite being situated inland and away from the Atlantic Ocean, Braga is within driving distance of several beautiful seaside destinations. Just a short drive westward will take you to Viana do Castelo, a charming coastal town known for its sandy beaches and vibrant waterfront promenade.

Within the municipality of Viana do Castelo lies the popular beach resort of Praia de Afife. With its vast stretch of golden sand backed by dunes and cliffs, this Blue Flag awarded beach is perfect for sunbathing and long walks along the shore. The crystal-clear waters also attract surfers looking to catch some waves. Further south along the coast is Esposende, another delightful beach destination near Braga.

Q: How safe is Braga?

A: Braga can be considered a relatively safe city for travelers. Firstly, crime rates in Braga are significantly lower compared to other major cities in Europe. Pickpocketing and petty theft may occur in crowded tourist areas or public transportation hubs like anywhere else; however, by taking basic precautions such as keeping an eye on personal belongings and avoiding displaying valuable items openly, visitors can greatly reduce the risk of being targeted.

Secondly, the local authorities in Braga take security seriously. The police presence is noticeable throughout the city and they have implemented measures to maintain order and protect both locals and tourists.

Q: What food is Braga known for?

A: One iconic dish that represents Braga's culinary identity is "Papas de Sarrabulho." This traditional dish features cornmeal mixed with pork blood and an assortment of meats such as ham, sausage, and chicken. Slow-cooked to perfection with aromatic spices like garlic and cumin, Papas de Sarrabulho offers a delightful blend of flavors that will satisfy even the most discerning palate.


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Want More Information on Portugal:

Be sure to visit our Portugal Travel Guide for even more travel tips.

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