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Exploring Braga - "Rome of Portugal"

If you are traveling to Europe, visit Braga to enjoy an enchanting city filled with romance, breathtaking parks, baroque churches and splendid 18th century mansions. This city offers a dreamy atmosphere, perfectly suited for traveling couples in love.

BragaOften, people might refer to Braga as the “Rome of Portugal” due to the plenty of imposing religious monuments found here. Braga is home to the Se Cathedral, which the oldest in the country and is located in the historic center of the city. When you visit the Cathedral, you can explore and discover a vast collection of valuable religious art treasures on display. The cathedral’s carved altarpiece is a sight to behold.

After your visit to the Cathedral, you can walk across to the Bishop’s Palace, also known as the Antigo Paco Episcopal. This landmark is a visual treat for architecture enthusiast because its three wings feature different architectural styles. The 14th century Gothic east wing is known to being the oldest.

For another perspective and photo opportunity, be sure to visit the lovely Jardim de Santa Barbara, located right in front of the Bishop’s Palace. This 17th century garden is truly magnificent and considered as one of the most beautiful in the country.  The brightly colored flowers can be a perfect as a backdrop for your photos. So, expect to spend plenty of time simply taking in the captivating scenery that surrounds you here.

Next, you can visit Santuario do Bom Jesus do Monte, which is a popular religious pilgrimage site, and is strategically placed to offer magnificent views of beautiful Braga. This spiritual sanctuary is one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in Portugal. It is not only famous for its religious importance but also for its glorious gardens.  You can climb the grand baroque staircase all the way to the church and enjoy the charming fountains and interesting sculptures on your way up or you can simply take the funicular for an effortless and scenic climb. This is one of the more popular sites, and worth visiting.

If you are interested in history, then the following places might definitely interest you: The Roman ruins of Bracara Augusta, Museu Dom Diogo De Sousa, for a closer look of the various archaeological finds in Braga and/or check out the Museu Dos Biscainhos which displays a wide array of exhibits from furniture and ceramics to paintings and historic timepieces.

Please note that the bustling Praca da Republica is Braga’s focal site and makes for a good reference point when visiting the city. Also, it is tourist friendly. You can find directions in the tourist office, making it a strategic place for a walking tour.  After you are done with your day of exploration and if you are looking for an easy afternoon stroll then visit the picturesque Avenida da Liberdade, where nearby you can hunt for some retail or hang out in an open-air café.