Going on a Braga trip will have you visiting what some call the Rome of Portugal, but not because of its size or its importance to the country, after all Braga is not Portugal’s capital and Rome is Italy’s; it is the Rome of Portugal in the sense that it also features a compact historic centre featuring Baroque churches and a major central cathedral, the oldest in fact, in all of Portugal having been built in the 12th century.
Braga is indeed a very religious settlement, with the area’s biggest attraction being the hillside sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte, just east of the town itself, but let’s not get carried away, it’s not exclusively about piety. The city centre is also abuzz with cafes and more worldly concerns, with the student population contributing heavily to those concerns.
The Braga Cathedral, as we mentioned earlier, is the oldest in Portugal having started constructed in 1070 and then completed sometime during the following hundred years. The cathedral is actually an extraordinary complex, made up of a number of different styles, and art enthusiasts will love picking out the Romanesque from the Manueline and the Baroque. The original Romanesque style is the one that survives in the overall shape of the building, and one must not miss the wonderful southern entrance nor the west portal, which is carved with scenes from the legend of Reynard the Fox.
One other side of Braga can be seen in the Praca da Republica, a great place for simply sitting on a bench and enjoying a coffee in the sun. at night the atmosphere doesn’t get rowdy, instead it becomes more mellow with people of all ages gather to enjoy the night air.
The Jardim de Santa Barbara is a 17th century square that features narrow paths winding through a sea of flowers and topiary. Great place for a relaxing walk and of course the adjacent pedestrianized streets are heavily populated with cafes and terraces.
These are just a few of the many things that you can see and do while in Braga, make sure you employ our Braga car hire services in order to experience as much of it as possible.