Braga is a city in the Cávado Valley of Northern Portugal. It is the fifth largest city in Portugal after Lisbon, Porto, Amadora and Vila Nova de Gaia. It is an ancient and modern city and one of the most important Archdiocese.
Braga has a university is called the Universidade do Minho, and it is around 30 years old. It has a medium size campus area with lots of bars and cheap restaurants around it.
The easiest way to go to Braga by plane is to fly to Oporto international airport(OPO). There are very low cost airlines flying to Oporto, the ones that fly from more places are Ryanair and EasyJet. Also, coming from Paris, Transavia, or, coming from Barcelona Clickair. Certainly, more low cost airlines are flying to Oporto, but the other ones have fewer trips per day.
Once you get to Porto Airport, you can catch the following transports to Braga:
- Train/Metro Catch the Metro to Campanhã Station or São Bento Station and then get a train to Braga. Duration: 2h00 Price (approx.): €5 Metro Train
- Bus transfer Direct transfer to Braga from Porto Airport and vice versa, it works everyday. Duration: 50 min Price: €8 one-way - €14 go & return more information here
- Táxi The táxis are located on the arrivals floor at Porto Airport. Duration: 40 min Price (approx.): €60
It's the cheapest and the best way to arrive in Braga. The Portuguese company CP is the one that provides travel by train. If you come from Lisbon you have some, but few, direct travels to Braga. It's about four hours. From Oporto, you have a train every hour. If you come by train from Europe, on InterRail, for example, you have always to go to Oporto first, and then you catch the train to Braga. This trip can give you the best attractions. One is the cheapest price, and the other is the wonderful views, passing over some small rivers, and small villages, in rural Portugal.
You have a lot of highways going to Braga, from Guimarães, Porto, Felgueiras, Chaves, and others. If you are coming from the south of Portugal there is no difficulty at all. The Portuguese highways are all very well connected, and you only have to go straight to Oporto, and then in Oporto you catch A3 (Highway 3) which goes to Braga. It's quite easy.
Rede Expressos, a national bus company, and is the best way to get to Braga. With this company you can travel from almost every (big) city in Portugal (i.e. Lisbon, Oporto, Coimbra). If you are traveling by cities near to Braga, like Guimarães, for example, or even Oporto, you always have to ask to people (a very common thing in Portugal) where you can get a bus to Guimarães (you can try this in the cities within about 50 km). You may make a lot of stops during the trip, but it's a way to better get to know the North.
Cathedral (Se), Bom Jesus and Sameiro (sanctuaries).
- The Tree of Life Chapel. Capela Árvore da Vida- Seminário Conciliar de Braga. It is made with 20 tons of unadorned wood and not a single nail or metal fitting.
There are lot's of places to visit in Braga. The historic city centre, with the cathedral and other churches, museums and traditional shops. The cathedral is almost 1000 years old, and while in there you can have a guided tour to its treasure. You can also visit the beautiful Braga Municipal Stadium, used for the 2004 European Football Championships held in Portugal. The stadium is on the northern part of the city and it is advised to take a cab. While in Braga, looking east or south-east will probably make you sight two distinct sanctuaries on a mountain just outside the city. The higher one, Sameiro, with a beautiful Church with lots of paintings and gold decorations, and the other one, Bom Jesus do Monte, with a beautiful park around it. While in Bom Jesus, you can ride the Bom Jesus funicular, the oldest funicular in the world moved by water balancing. Although Braga is known in Portugal as "Cidade dos Arcebispos" (Archbishop's Town) and has a clear religious connotation, it isn't related to the faith or devoted Catholicism of its inhabitants. That name comes from the fact that the town has many churches and sanctuaries.
Night life in Braga may be quite monotonous sometimes. Clubs in town are open only on weekends and Wednesdays. If you are looking for fun on weekdays your best chance is on Wednesdays, since it is "academic night" and most students go on having a drink and end the night in one of the local clubs. There are lots of small bars around the historic city centre. Most of them are well hidden on the tight streets, and you will only find them with the help of locals. It is not advised to walk around the city centre at night by yourself. It may look safe and very crowded during the day, but it's quite abandoned and very very dark during the night as most people prefer to go into the bars and coffee shops.
List of Festivities in Braga:
- Semana Santa (Holy week): In the week before Easter, there are lot's of events to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, such as processions. The city is decorated with flowers and violet sheets.
- Sao Joao (Saint John): Festivities in honour of Braga's saint. Although Saint John Holiday is on the 24th of June, the City starts preparing for it almost two weeks in advance, with small traditional events. On the night of 23 June, Braga's people come to the street to celebrate.
- Braga Romana (Roman Braga): To celebrate the influence of the Roman empire in Braga's history, there is a cultural fair around the streets of the city centre, where people dress like ancient Romans and sell art and other souvenirs in tents. It is usually on the last weekend of May.
Local souvenirs/ceramics of Barcelos.
Lenço dos Namorados handkerchief
There are lots of cheap restaurants around the city. Particularly around the University Campus, on the eastern part of town.
The region offers a diverse natural landscape bearing the cultural influences of many centuries. This is reflected in the multiplicity of gastronomic specialities available from the regions kitchens; potato and cabbage broth, bread made from maize, roast pork, cod, octopus and trout, chicken rice "pica no chão" and duck rice, the kid (goat) and the baked heifer and local hams.
- Panoramic Restaurant-Hotel do Elevador, Bom Jesus do Monte, ☎ +351 253 603 400, fax: +351 253 603 409, e-mail: email@example.com. With seating for 120 people and a pleasant panoramic view of the city of Braga. Serves a wide range of traditional regional specialities.
Beware of ordering a full ration of roast chicken, although it tastes wonderful you will get a mountain of chicken and potatoes that may be enough for 3 to 4 persons.
- Restaurante Centurium, Avenida Central 134, 4710-229 Braga.
- Restaurante Trotas, Largo Senhora-a-Branca 122.
- Restaurante Populum.
- A Buraca, Rua Santa Margarida, (Largo Senhora a Branca). Cheap meals.
- Restaurante Brito's, Praça Mouzinho de Albuquerque 49, 4710 Braga.
- Pastelaria Caravela, Largo Sra Branca, ☎ +351 253 27 99 19. cake, coffee
- Frigideiras do Cantinho, Lg. S. João do Souto, 01. - Frigideiras (Pastéis Folhados com Carne)
- Bolo Romano (Marca Registada) - Doce Sortido - Pastelaria Regional
Spring mineral water,coffee,vinho verde/local green wine.
You can find some cheap pensions in Rua dos Chãos (near Avenida Central and not far from the bus station).
- Pousada de Amares - Sta. Maria do Bouro, Santa Maria do Bouro 4720-688 Amares (25.3 km (about 35 min) from Braga), ☎ +351 253 371 970, fax: +351 253 371 976, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Guimaraes, historic city with a castle.
Nearby beaches in:
- Geres - Park nacional da Peneda