17 Best Things to Do in Braga

The atmospheric streets of Braga are as welcoming as any in Portugal. Café tables spring up each morning on sunny plazas, while select boutiques tempt passing trade with perfectly-formed window displays.

Although located in Portugal's far north close to Porto, Braga still enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate. It was perhaps this which made Braga an important stop of the Portuguese Way, a footpath ultimately ending in Santiago de Compostela in Spain's Galicia region, and the location of so many religious institutions.

Over centuries Braga has become known for its the multitude of finely constructed baroque churches, not least the impressive Bom Jesus de Monte which stands a short bus ride away on a dramatic hilltop. Come during Easter Week, and you'll experience an explosion of ancient traditions that can trace many of their routes right back to ancient Rome.

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  • Bom Jesus do Monte - Braga
    Bom Jesus do Monte - Braga
    Rafael G Fernandes

    The Santuário do Bom Jesus do Monte is located in Tenões, just outside Braga. It is apparently Portugal's most photographed church and there are a host of reasons for this.

    Perhaps the most obvious is the incredible Baroque stairway that leads up to the hilltop church. The hill is 116 metres (381 feet) high and there are in the region of 580 steps which zig-zag to the top. Work began in the early 1720s and to call it a stairway is not really doing it justice. As the stairs ascend the mount there are a number of landings, on each of these are grottoes, fountains, allegorical statues...


  • Braga cathedral / Igreja da Sé de Braga.
    Braga cathedral or Igreja da Sé de Braga.
    P Ansaldi

    Built between 1070 and 1093 on the remains of a Roman temple the Sé has had many facelifts over the years. From it's Romanesque roots it has accumulated a mixture of  architectural styles encompassing Gothic, Baroque, Manueline and Renaissance.

    Inside the cathedral is a museum with a collection of relics.


  • Praça da República - Braga
    Praça da República
    Turismo En Portugal | BY-SA

    As with other squares of the same name, Praça da República (Republic Square) continues the Portuguese tradition of  being one of the most important public spaces in Braga. Located on the western side of the city's historic centre, it comes alive each day from mid-morning to late into the evening. During this time, it is filled with locals who come to enjoy a bite to eat in the cafes and restaurants that line the square, including Café Vianna and Café Astória, which have both been serving customers for around 150 years. Others simply come in the expectation of bumping into friends and...


    Public Places
  • Sameiro Sanctuary - Braga
    Sameiro Sanctuary in Braga

    Late 19th-century domed church on the outskirts of Braga looking out over the Minho


  • Igreja de São Vicente - Braga
    Igreja de São Vicente (Saint Vincent Church)
    Joseolgon | BY-SA

    Built in 1565 and restored in 1691, São Vicente sits on the site of a much earlier Visigoth church. As with many catholic churches the rather functional exterior does not betray the luxurious interior.


  • Capela São Frutuoso - Braga
    Capela São Frutuoso
    Jose Goncalves | BY-SA

    The Chapel of São Frutuoso was, incredibly, first built by the Visigoth kingdom in the sixth century AD. This makes it some 1500 years old, and one of few such structures to exist anywhere in Portugal. Today its squat Greek cross form and plain stone exterior is somewhat overshadowed by the much later Church of São Salvador, which is connected to it on one side.

    Tradition has it that this place of Christian worship was built to replace an ancient Roman temple dedicated to Asclepius, the god of medicine and good health. It managed to survive the period of Arab rule on the Iberian...


  • Convento Dos Congregados
    Convento Dos Congregados church
    Jose Goncalves

    Work began on the Basilica of the Igreja dos Congregados in the early 18th century when baroque styling was all the rage. By the time it was finished in the 1960s rococo and neoclassical had been and gone. The result, all the same is a stunning church both inside and out.

    The church was designed by architect André Soares and features two bell towers. The façade also has two notable statues by sculptor Manuel Nogueira da Silva - these represent saints Filipe de Nery and Martinho de Dume and were the final part of the church to be completed in 1964.

    The interior of the basilica...


  • Archbishop
    Archbishop's Palace and Santa Barbara Garden
    Can Stock Photo Inc

    These small but attractive public gardens are located adjacent to the eastern wing of the 14th century Archbishop's Palace. The garden takes advantage of the historic backdrop and also incorporates the medieval arches that remain of an arcade from the palace. Laid out in the 1950s the garden was designed by Jose Cardoso da Silva in the Romantic style, in keeping with its surroundings.
    There are other features from the palace utilised throughout the geometric layout of the garden such as old statues, cornices and coats of arms. At the centre of the garden is a statue of Saint (Santa)...


  • Archbishop
    Archbishop's Palace - Braga

    Set between the Santa Barbara garden and Praça do Municipio is the Archiepiscopal Court (Paço Arquiepiscopal), one of Braga's most significant historic buildings. The palace is in fact is a set of three interconnected buildings each with its own character reflecting the different styles and periods in which they were built.

    The oldest section of the building is the medieval Gothic style Eastern wing which looks out over the Santa Barbara Garden. This castellated granite section dates to the 14th and 15th centuries. Built during the time of archbishops Gonçalo Pereira and Fernando...


  • Biscainhos Museum - Braga
    Biscainhos Museum

    Located in a 16th century manor house, the museum has a permanent collection of furniture, ceramics, glass and clocks displayed in situ to recreate the decor of an 18th century manor house


  • Igreja da Misericórdia - Braga
    Misericórdia church - Braga
    José Gonçalves | BY-SA

    This 16th century church is Braga's most important legacy of the renaissance period. It contains an impressive baroque carved altar


  • Arco da Porta Nova - Braga
    Arco da Porta Nova
    Jose Goncalves | BY-SA

    Translating from the Portuguese as the Arch of the New Gate, the Arco da Porta Nova is an ornamental gateway leading into the historic centre of Braga from the west. Located on the pedestrianised Rua do D. Diogo de Sousa, it was constructed to a design by architect André Soares in the 1770s, although a gate has stood in its place since the city walls were completed in the late 1300s.

    Rising several stories over the street, the Arco da Porta Nova is stylistically different on both sides. Its western face is dominated by the baroque style that Soares became known for. However, its...


  • Palácio do Raio - Braga
    Palácio do Raio
    Jose Goncalves | BY-SA

    Braga's Raio Palace, or Palácio do Raio, was built in the 1750s as the private home of João Duarte de Faria. Although Faria had made considerable wealth as a merchant, he was also a knight of the Military Order of Christ - better known as the Knights Templar.

    The Raio Palace was constructed in the late Baroque style by André Soares, an architect who had already made a name for himself as a leading champion of the northern baroque school. His other works within the city include the town hall, Church of Congregados, and Arco da Porta...


  • Igreja de São Paulo - Braga
    Igreja de São Paulo
    José Gonçalves

    The Igreja de São Paulo (St Paul) is a small, austere looking 16th-century church built by the Jesuits. By contrast, the interior is an explosion of lavish baroque


  • Medina Museum - Braga
    Medina Museum

    Archeological exhibits including Palaeolithic, Neolithic and Bronze age implements, Pre-historic and Luso-Roman pottery. Museum also features part of a Roman Villa in the original location.




Braga travel guide »

Famous for its historical buildings, monuments, gardens and fountains Braga is a beautiful city in the heart of the green Minho region where religious devotion in the form of many churches and other symbols of faith lies...