The Sanctuary of Bom Jesus, the Cathedral of Braga, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sameiro and the Monastery of Tibães are part of Braga, a Portuguese city located in the north of Portugal. Braga is characterized by its religious roots and its Roman legacy. The city is known as “the Portuguese Rome”, because it originates from the Roman city “Bracara Augusta”.
If you would like to get acquainted with the history of a new city, if you want to know more in depth the Portuguese traditions and architecture, Excelente suggests you lose yourself in Braga. Find out what you can visit, where to eat and where you can spend the nights.
What to visit?
Bom Jesus do Monte
In 2019, the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus was classified as World Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. Bom Jesus do Monte is one of the most famous and iconic spots in Braga. On site, people can enjoy the Portico Staircase, the Staircase of the Five Senses, the Staircase of Virtues, Largo do Pelicano, the Adro do Bom Jesus and the Basilica. Those interested can enjoy the Way of the Cross, which is distributed throughout 17 chapels and the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte. The funicular, known as the elevator of Bom Jesus, can be used to avoid the stairs and reach the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus. Near the Sanctuary, people can still find a lake and large gardens.
Cathedral of Braga
The Cathedral of Braga is a place of worship, but also for tourist visits. In times of worship, the space is not open for visits. Those interested in visiting the Cathedral, can choose to take three routes: the Treasure-Museum of the Cathedral of Braga, the Chapels and High Choir or the Cathedral of Braga. The exhibition “Roots of Eternity: Jesus Christ — A Church” can be visited on the route “Treasure-Museum of the Cathedral of Braga”. On the route “Chapels and High Choir”, those interested can explore the chapels of the Kings, of Saint Geraldo, of Gloria, the High Choir and the Organs of the Cathedral. On the third route, “Cathedral of Braga”, visitors can venture through what was the first cathedral to be constructed in Portugal.
Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sameiro
Located on Mount Sameiro, the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora do Sameiro stands at 566 meters of altitude and offers a view over the city of Braga. The Sanctuary presents itself as a “pole of attraction for thousands of pilgrims, tourists and visitors throughout the year” and is the second Marian shrine in Portugal. People can visit the Basilica of Sameiro and the Archangels in Sameiro.
Monastery of São Martinho de Tibães
The Monastery of São Martinho de Tibães intends to “foster knowledge of the Monastery, the Benedictine Order and its historical, artistic, socio-cultural and socio-economic relations with the region in which it is inserted” and “safeguard the entire monastic ensemble”. Those interested can walk through the 40 hectares of the garden that encompasses the Monastery, can visit the landmark cross and the building. In the Monastery, visitors can contact the church, the sacristy, the high choir, the chambers of the Abbot, the gallery of former abbots, among other spaces.
The square is located in the center of the city of Braga. In the square, there are two centuries-old cafes, Café Vianna and Astória, and Lapa Church. The Square was known as the “Arcade” and was used for merchants' exchanges. Close to the square, you will find Casa Rolão and the Nogueira da Silva Museum.
Palácio do Raio
The Baroque style and blue tiles of the Palácio do Raio stand out in the city of Braga. People can visit the entire Palace and the different exhibitions. At the Palace, visitors can venture through the history of André Soares and Carlos Amarante, two architects who marked the city and the experiences of the monument. People can also immerse themselves in the history of the Brotherhood of Mercy of Braga. One of the points not to be missed in the palace is its staircase.
Arch of Porta Nova
The Arch of Porta Nova is one of the most distinctive and notable points of Braga. The Arch of Porta Nova never gave rise to a path nor has it ever owned a door. This is one of the reasons why Bracarenses are known to people as those who do not close their doors - hence the common question “are you from Braga?”, when someone leaves a door open. Next to the Arch of Porta Nova, there is the Museum of Image, a space for people who enjoy photography.
The Biscainhos Museum and Gardens are located in Braga's historic center, near the Porta Nova Arch. The museum is an ancient palace, consisting of two levels: the ground floor and the noble floor. The Historic Garden is part of the “Route of the Historic Gardens of Baixo Minho”. According to the Museum, “the Gardens of the Biscainhos Palace are a surprising setting and are always renovated throughout the seasons, where it is possible to find a small environmental refuge”.
Theatro Circo is located in Avenida da Liberdade in Braga. The space has a diverse cultural agenda full of concerts, theater plays, exhibitions, cinema and festivals. In addition to the moments of animation, the architecture of Theatro Circo is something that should be appreciated.
Santa Barbara Garden
The municipal garden is located in the center of Braga and is embraced by the façade of the medieval palace of Braga. In the center of the Garden is a fountain with a figure of Saint Barbara, a woman who was killed by her father for sharing the word of the Christian religion.
PIO XII Museum
The PIO XII Museum “is a museological space of the Archdiocese of Braga”. The museum consists of three nuclei: the permanent exhibition nucleus: “A Museum. A History”, the Henrique Medina Gallery and the Medieval Tower. The space also has two rooms for temporary exhibitions and cultural activities and another room for educational services. The museum presents archaeological elements, canvases, drawings, paintings, sculptures, jewelry, among others.
Chapel and House of the Coimbras
The Chapel and House of the Coimbras are side by side, but are autonomous monuments. The Chapel has been a national monument since 1910 and House of the Coimbras is a bar/restaurant.
Where to eat?
Bira dos Namorados
The restaurant united the Vira dance and Valentine's handkerchiefs in a space specialized in hamburgers, steaks and bowls. Bira dos Namorados features a decoration that reflects the traditions of Minho. From Monday to Friday, the restaurant suggests a menu. In addition to meals, Bira dos Namorados also has a small shop that sells ceramic pieces, Minho handkerchiefs, wallets, dolls, among others.
DeGema Hamburgueria Artesanal
The motto of the hamburger restaurant is “handmade by those who know what they are doing”. Created in 2013, DeGema Hamburgueria Artesanal promises to “fulfill the artisanal aspect to the letter” and make all the ingredients of the hamburgers inside the restaurant. According to the hamburger restaurant, “the difficult thing is really to choose” what to eat. The restaurant offers a variety of beef, chicken and vegetarian burgers.
The restaurant favors a variety of matured and unripened meats, opening a small space for shrimp and octopus. According to Kartilho, consumers can find “unique meat”, a “wine cellar with more than 300 references” and the “essence of a place of harmonious contrasts”.
Taberna do Lebre
The Tavern gives priority to Minho snacks and dishes. The restaurant is a family space with two rooms and a terrace. According to Taberna do Lebre, the dishes “are made with the knowledge of generations, filled with a lot of delivery and dedication and are surrounded by the warm goodMinho welcoming”.
The restaurant gives priority to barbecues and grills. The Churrasqueira Nacional features chicken, steaks, octopus, hamburgers, ribs and kebabs, among other delicacies. In addition to food, consumers point out the “good” and “fast” service.
Vegetarian Restaurant Gosto Superior
The restaurant's mission is to “provide everyone with a tasty and homemade vegetarian alternative, in an intimate atmosphere, with good music and friendly service”. The Vegetarian Restaurant Gosto Superior has dishes such as Thai tofu stroganoff, vegetable pie, seitan kebab and vegetables, tofu quiche, leek and courgette, lentil burger and spinach, among many others.
Bellucci Pizza Restaurant
Pizza and pasta are the dishes privileged by the restaurant. In addition to food, the space also claims Italian traditions. Bellucci Pizzeria gives priority to the cooking of the meals in the wood oven.
Pizza D'Artista - Braga
Pizza d'Artista in Braga offers a variety of pizzas. Lasagna, pasta and salads are less varied dishes. Beer is one of the most acclaimed drinks in the restaurant.
Azeite & Alho
The restaurant is marked by the cuisine of chef Ivo Loureiro. In addition to preserving traditional Minho dishes, the restaurant also offers options for vegetarians, vegans and gluten-free possibilities. Fish paella, pork secrets with smokehouse rice, shank, grilled squid, chicken rice and alheira are some of the delicacies that can be tasted at the restaurant.
PPlace® - Restaurant & Cocktail Bar
The restaurant, located near the Cathedral, focuses on pasta, lasagna, roasted chicken and chicken wings. PPlace also features a set of cocktails labeled as “super imaginative, full of color and exotic flavors”.
Where to sleep?
Hotel do Templo
The hotel is located next to the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus. The space has rooms overlooking the sanctuary and offers a landscaped garden. The rooms feature French windows, a TV and a private bathroom. The Hotel do Templo is six kilometers from the historic center of the city and four kilometers from the Sanctuary of Sameiro.
Hotel do Parque
The hotel is located in the Natural Park of Bom Jesus, five kilometers from the center of Braga. The space offers a games room, air-conditioned rooms, free parking and a bar. If you prefer, guests can access breakfast in the rooms and immerse themselves in traditional Portuguese food at the Panoramic Restaurant.
The Arch - Charming Apartments in the Historic Center
Braga Cathedral is 90 meters from The Arch - Charming Apartments in the Historic Center. Guests staying at the apartments can access a kitchenette, a dining area and a private bathroom. The units feature a stovetop, fridge, toaster, coffee machine and kettle.
Burgus Tribute & Design Hotel
Burgus Tribute & Design Hotel is situated near Braga Cathedral. The hotel features a restaurant, bar, shared lounge and shared parking. Close to the hotel, guests can access the Biscainhos Museum, the Image Museum or Braga’s Exhibitions Park.
Hotel Moon & Sun Braga
The hotel is two minutes from the historic center of Braga and the Cathedral of Braga, and one kilometer from the Medina Museum. Rooms at the hotel feature a work space, a TV and a private bathroom. Guests can have breakfast in the breakfast room.
Hotel Bracara Augusta
Hotel Bracara Augusta is a renovated 14th-century building. Set in the center of Braga and 200 meters from Nogueira da Silva Museum, the hotel offers rooms with wooden floors and stone walls. The rooms mix modern furnishings with older decorative touches. The hotel also features the Centurium restaurant and a bar.
Hotel Villa Garden Braga
The rooms at Hotel Villa Garden Braga are located in the historic wing and new wing of the 19th-century building and have decorations depending on the wing they are in. Guests can make use of the breakfast buffet, but they can also have the first meal of the day in their rooms. The hotel offers a range of facilities including car rental, free parking, babysitting, laundry and dry cleaning services.
Suites - Se Inn
The units at Suites - Sé Inn have a private bathroom and kitchenette with stove top and fridge. Some units have a terrace and/or balcony with garden views. Suites - Sé Inn is located in the center of Braga, close to the Biscainhos Museum and Braga Cathedral.
The accommodation has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a dining area and a kitchen. Located about two kilometers from Braga Cathedral and the Municipal Stadium, Surribes provides a private swimming pool, private parking and a garden.
The accommodation unit is one kilometer from the University of Minho and two kilometers from the Cathedral of Braga. The apartment is in an area in which guests can go hiking and cycling. The Diamante house has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen and a balcony.
With all these suggestions you can now go on the adventure and discover Braga. Walk through the streets of the city, indulge in the dishes and cultural spaces of Minho. Don't forget! Before visiting Braga, explore the cultural agenda and choose to start your trip at a time when the city is marked by good shows.