If you’re visiting Portugal this year, why not take the opportunity to explore some lesser known destinations? For travelers who don’t make a point of exploring only the popular destinations in the country – such as Lisboa, Porto or the Algarve – this article will present you to an interesting alternative: Braga.
Located in the North of Portugal (just 30 miles NW of Porto), Braga is an inexpensive destination that’s located at close driving distance to several interesting beaches as well as the mountain range of Geres. As such, it’s a great place to set up your base of operations for further exploring of the surroundings.
There are also some notable points of interest within the actual city of Braga. No matter if you’re a conservative religious person or a rebellious youth, there is something there to keep you entertained. Let’s see some of the notable examples:
As far as monuments go, there’s plenty of eye candy you’ll come across while walking around the city center. From the curious obelisk in homage to the pope’s visit, the curious baroque buildings, including the ancient city walls: Braga has been around for over two millennia, so you shouldn’t be surprised to find all kinds of interesting architectonic features while roaming around.
For better or worse, Braga is a highly religious city (with Christianity as the dominant religion). As such, you’ll come across a church in just about every neighborhood – some of which are interesting to look at even if only for aesthetic reasons. But if you’re serious about your faith, you need to visit the big sanctuaries located in the hills just outside the city: Sameiro and Good Jesus.
There are quite a few interesting cultural attractions in Braga. When visiting, you should check out the much famous “Theatro Circo” and the multiple galleries and museums (especially the classical “Museu dos Biscaínhos” and the avant-garde “Museu do Som e Imagem”). During the Summer time there’s usually open theatre and musical performances throughout the city center, so keep an eye out for that!
There’s also a lively (although not particularly diverse)club scene here, so if you like partying all night long – places to look for include the bars “Deslize”, “Insolito” in the city centre, or the myriad of smaller bars next to the city campus. The biggest local clubs are “Sardinha Biba” and “Sabao Rosa”. If you would like to experience something more alternative and artistic, look for “Projectil”, a graffiti-covered building right next to the train station.
The most popular sports here are Soccer and Handball (of which the local team – ABC Braga – is one of the strongest in the country). If you happen to enjoy Soccer, you should check out the local stadium, which happens to be one of the best-looking and most unusual in the whole of Europe. If you’ve never seen a stadium that was neatly integrated in massive bedrock, this is your chance!