10 Best Things to Do in Braga for Baroque Churches and Ancient Traditions

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Braga, often referred to as the Rome of Portugal, is a city that blends the splendor of Baroque churches with the richness of ancient traditions. Walking through Braga, you can feel the deep historical roots in every corner, from the solemnity of its grandiose cathedrals to the lively streets where age-old festivals bring history to life. Whether you’re exploring sacred sites or immersing yourself in local customs, Braga offers a profound journey into a past that vividly lives on in its present.

Visit Braga Cathedral

Braga Cathedral is the oldest cathedral in Portugal, and visiting it is like stepping into a rich historical tapestry. The architecture displays a blend of styles, reflecting the many centuries since its construction. Inside, you can explore exquisite chapels, each telling its own story through ornate decorations and sacred artifacts.

Explore Bom Jesus do Monte

Bom Jesus do Monte is a stunning sanctuary located just outside Braga. Famous for its baroque stairway that pilgrims climb on their knees, the site offers breathtaking views of the city below. The church at the top, coupled with its beautiful gardens, makes it a serene place to visit and reflect.

Wander through the Garden of Santa Barbara

The Garden of Santa Barbara is a charming spot next to the old Archbishop’s Palace. It features manicured hedges, vibrant flower beds, and a striking backdrop of medieval ruins. This garden is a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city, perfect for a leisurely stroll or a quiet moment amidst the beauty of nature.


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Attend the Holy Week Celebrations

Attending the Holy Week Celebrations in Braga offers a deeply moving experience. The city comes alive with processions and ceremonies that blend solemnity and spectacle. This week showcases Braga’s rich religious heritage and community spirit, drawing visitors and locals together in reflection and reverence.

Discover the Raio Palace

The Raio Palace is a remarkable example of Baroque architecture in Braga. Its striking blue façade is adorned with intricate stonework and decorative statues. Today, it houses a medical museum, but visitors can also appreciate the beautifully preserved period rooms and furnishings.

See the Arch of the New Gate

The Arch of the New Gate, an impressive baroque structure, was originally part of the city’s defensive walls. Now standing as a gateway to the city center, it symbolizes Braga’s rich past and welcoming present. The arch is especially beautiful at night when it is lit up, highlighting its detailed sculptures.

Experience the Braga Romana Festival

The Braga Romana Festival transports you back to Braga’s Roman roots. For a few days every year, the city center buzzes with the energy of ancient Rome, complete with costumes, markets, and re-enactments. It’s a fantastic way to experience the city’s history firsthand and enjoy some unique entertainment.

Admire the Tibaes Monastery

The Tibaes Monastery is an exquisite site that served as the motherhouse for the Benedictine order in Portugal. The monastery boasts some of the most impressive baroque architecture and art in the region, including gold-laden altars and azulejo tiles. The restored rooms and gardens offer a glimpse into the monastic life of the past.

Stroll around the Rodrigues de Freitas Park

Rodrigues de Freitas Park is a lovely green space in Braga. It’s perfect for families or anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. With its lush lawns, scenic walking paths, and a small lake, the park offers a tranquil setting for afternoon picnics or peaceful walks.

Enjoy the local cuisine at a traditional Portuguese tavern

Enjoying the local cuisine at a traditional Portuguese tavern is a must when visiting Braga. These taverns, often family-run, serve up hearty, traditional dishes like Bacalhau (salt cod) and Pudim Abade de Priscos. It’s a wonderful way to taste the authentic flavors of the region in a warm, inviting atmosphere.


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