Braga is one of the most visited cities in the North of Portugal, and among the most populated in the country.
Its history dates back more than two thousand years. It was founded by the first Roman emperor Augustus. Bracara Augusta was its original name, in honor of the emperor. However, there is evidence of human presence in the area since the Bronze Age.
The city was the administrative seat of the Roman Empire and an important junction point of the Roman roads in the Iberian Peninsula.
What to see in Braga
Braga has also played an important role in the religious history of Portugal. The Diocese of Braga is the oldest in Portugal and its Cathedral (Sé de Braga ) was the first built in the country.
There is a huge legacy of the Roman past, churches, squares, buildings and gardens that you can visit while walking around the city.
Not everything in Braga is religion and past. On the contrary, it is one of the cities with the youngest population in Portugal because it has two of the finest universities in the country, the Universidade Católica Portuguesa and the Universidade do Minho. This translates into a lively atmosphere filled with commerce, cafes, bars and interesting events.
The festivities of St. John in Braga (São João in Portuguese) are very popular, and it is recorded that the municipality has been celebrating them since 1515. Several events are held throughout the month of June.
Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte
From the center, it takes a 10 minutes drive to reach the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte, a park where nature is combined with several buildings dedicated to the Catholic church. It is not only a place of religious pilgrimage, but also a beautiful green urban space where local families have picnics by the lake or take the children to its playground.
Peneda-Gerês National Park
From Braga you can escape in a few minutes to the natural charms of one of the most beautiful wilderness areas of Portugal, the Peneda-Gerês National Park.
It is a paradise for the trekking fans. There are several marked trails (trilhos o percursos) wells, viewpoints and many corners to explore.
How to get to Braga from Porto
You can reach Braga by car from Porto taking the A3 highway. It takes only 48 minutes. See the map here.
Another option is to take the train. Departing Porto-Campanhã Station on the railway “Linha de Braga” takes about fifty minutes.
Finally, you can travel to Braga by bus. From Porto Campo 24 de Agosto station, there are several companies departing multiple times a day.
Braga is one of the recommended visits near Porto.
More tours from Porto
Tour to Braga and Guimarães
Excursion to Braga and Guimarães from Porto with English guide and traditional lunch.