It is one of the oldest cities in Portugal and considered as one of the first Christian cities in the World. The city of Braga has played a crucial role throughout the history of Portugal and for that reason, there are many monuments and points of interest to visit in the capital of Minho. To visit Braga is to return to the past and immerse yourself in the history of what was the first region of what would one day become Portugal. In the heart of Minho, know a land full of history and surprises to discover. Discover the 12 best places to visit in Braga.
1. Santa Barbara Garden
The Jardim de Santa Bárbara is one of the most beautiful gardens in Braga. It balances the rules of geometry with the randomness of colors from flowers, vegetation, and birds. The fact of being in the center of the city and interrupting the sequence of cement and brick constructions makes it a special place. It is a kind of haven or city oasis that invites us to take a break, read a good book or share a meal with friends.
2. Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte
Also known as the Sanctuary of the Bom Jesus de Braga, it is the ex-libris of the city, where art and nature combine to make it a sacred space of rest. The present church is a copy of the Portuguese neoclassical. It was begun to build in 1784 to replace the old temple that was demolished since it threatened to ruin.
3. Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora of Sameiro
Better known as Sameiro Shrine, it is a monumental neoclassical shrine that began to be built in 1863 and was only completed in the twentieth century. It was elevated to the Basilica by Pope Paul VI in 1964. The famous image of Our Lady of Sameiro is on the main altar of the basilica.
4. Theatro Circo
The building began in 1911 and ended in 1914, with Theatro Circus having a capacity for 1500 people and asserting itself immediately as one of the largest and most beautiful Portuguese theaters.
5. Braga Cathedral
“Older than the Cathedral of Braga” is a popular expression that is used when one intends to define the antiquity of something, which corroborates how old the Cathedral is. According to tradition, the diocese of Braga was created in the third century; but history only confirms it from the year 400.
6. Tibães Monastery
Old Mother House of the Congregação Beneditina Portuguesa is located in Mire de -Tibães parish, 6 km northwest of Braga. Founded in the late tenth century, early XI, it was rebuilt in the last third of the eleventh century, becoming one of the richest and most powerful monasteries in northern Portugal. With the extinction of religious orders in Portugal in 1833-1834, it was closed and its assets, furniture, and real estate started to sell by public auction, a process that only ended in 1864 with the purchase of the convent itself.
7. Arcada da Lapa
Arcada da Lapa or simply The Arcade is located in the heart of the city. It was built in 1715 to form a small covered building where the merchants, who were going to the city, negotiated their products.
8. Biscaínhos Museum
The Biscainhos Museum is housed in the Palace of the Biscainhos – habitation of the counts of Bertiandos – founded in the seventeenth century and transformed in the first half of the eighteenth century. In 1978 it was converted into a Museum. The palace, baroque gardens, and its collections reveal the daily life of the eighteenth-century nobility and other inhabitants of space: chaplains, servants and slaves.
9. Raio Palace
Built in 1754-55, commissioned by João Duarte de Faria, a powerful merchant of Braga, and designed by the architect André Soares, it is one of the most remarkable buildings of civil architecture in the city of Braga, in a Baroque style. The palace was sold in 1853, by José Maria Duarte Peixoto, to Miguel José Raio, Viscount of São Lázaro, becoming known as Ray’s Palace.
10. Paço Episcopal Bracarense
The former Episcopal Palace of the city of Braga is located in front of the Cathedral of Braga. The Palace began to be built during the fourteenth century and was expanded during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It currently houses university departments and a municipal library, with a computer room covered by a gilt roof and numerous paintings.
11. Treasure of the Cathedral of Braga
The collections of the Treasury-Museum of the Cathedral of Braga bear witness, moreover, more than XV centuries of the history of Art and the life of the Church in Braga. Since its founding in 1930, the Treasury-Museum of the Cathedral of Braga has been home to a valuable collection of ceramic, sculpture, medal, furniture, numismatics, jewelry, painting and textiles. The foundation of the Treasure-Museum of the Cathedral of Braga dates from 1930 and has since been installed in the old Casa do Cabido.
12. Roman Baths of Upper Cividade
The Roman Baths of Alto da Cividade are close to the archaeological museum D. Diogo Sousa, in the beautiful town of Braga. They are a large complex of baths composed of valuable ruins, which have an attached theater dating to the second century AD. These spas were discovered during excavations in Cividade (a small parish in the county of Braga) during 1977.