If you’re looking for a charming European city to explore, then you must add Braga to your list! This historic city is filled with religious sites, beautiful architecture, quaint shops, and lively cafes. So here is a one day in Braga itinerary to get you all excited!
This guide also provides tips on making a Braga day trip from Porto with ease.
One Day in Braga Itinerary: Braga Day Trip from Porto
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From the 12th-century Torre de Menagem to the Bom Jesus do Monte sanctuary, there are plenty of sights to see in Braga.
And with its convenient location just a short drive from Portugal‘s stunning coastline, you can easily make a day trip while you’re in town.
So whether you’re looking to soak up some history or enjoy beautiful sites, Braga has something for everyone.
Things to do in Braga in one day: Braga Itinerary
- Visit Bom Jesus do Monte
- Walk through Arco da Porta
- Admire Jardim de Santa Barbara
- Visit Igreja Misericordia
- Admire the Braga Cathedral
- Eat a traditional lunch
- Shop for souvenirs
- Check out the Raio Palace
- Stop by Braga Library and City Hall
- Grab a cuppa of coffee at A Brasileira
- Climb the Torre de Menagem
- Hang out at the Praca da Republica
Visiting Braga from Porto Portugal
If you’re staying in Porto, Braga makes for an easy day trip. The two cities are located just over an hour apart by car, and there are also regular buses and trains that run between them.
At a glance,
You can reach Braga by car in about 50 minutes. The road distance is 54.3 km or 33.86 miles via A3.
The train takes about an hour to get to the Braga Train Station. You can catch a train from either São Bento or Campanhã stations in Porto.
You can also hop on a bus from Porto to Braga.
The arrival bus stop is the Centro Coordenador de Transportes de Braga, and it takes about 50 minutes to an hour to get there.
- There are multiple stations including Campo 24 de Agosto or OPO Aeropuerto in Porto from where you can depart
- Rede expressos bus is a popular one to choose from. The ticket cost is about 8 euros
- You can book them online on BusBud (we recommend advance booking to get the earliest and the last train if you are on a tight schedule or day trip). More ideas for day trips from Porto
Guided full day tour: When visiting Portugal’s second-largest city, Porto, you may be interested in taking a day tour to the nearby cities of Braga and Guimaraes – both known for history and culture.
These two cities can be explored on an easy and hassle-free day tour, which includes transportation, guided sightseeing, and pick up & drop off with lunch (if selected).
There are options available for a private tour as well. Or if you are interested in exploring Guimaraes on your own on another day then you must read our guide on Guimares day trip from Porto
Some of the top things to do in Braga on a day trip include:
Visit Bom Jesus do Monte
Bom Jesus do Monte is one of the most stunning structures that I have ever seen in Portugal. Being a history and culture lover, the Bom Jesus do Monte just left me spellbound!
Bom Jesus means Good Jesus of the Mount. It is a Portuguese Catholic shrine, and an important Christian pilgrimage site with a monumental, Baroque stairway that climbs 116 meters.
The stairway is made up of 686 steps and is decorated with Biblical statues, carvings, and fountains.
At the top of the stairs, you’ll find the church of Bom Jesus do Monte, which was built in 1784. This beautiful church is worth a visit as it houses an impressive collection of religious art.
To get to the top, you can either hike or take a cable car ride. Bom Jesus do Monte funicular is one of the oldest in the world and was designed by the Swiss engineer Niklaus Riggenbach.
At the sanctuary, you will find a church, gardens, 2 hotels, cafes, viewing platforms, and info centres.
The view of the city of Braga from above is absolutely stunning.
All in all this sprawling complex will take at least 2 hours of your time to explore.
Getting to Bom Jesus do Monte site:
There are a few ways to get to Bom Jesus do Monte. The first thing to keep in mind is that it is located just outside the city of Braga. So if you are using public transport (like a train or bus), we recommend using a taxi to arrive at the site (from the bus or train station).
Arrive where the church is located (upper level), explore the complex, and then take the steps down to the city.
If you do not wish to take the steps, you can depart from the upper level the same way (by car or getting a taxi).
Even if you don’t make the climb to the top, the views from the bottom are still breathtaking, so don’t miss the church of Bom Jesus do Monte.
- Address: Estrada do Bom Jesus, 4715-056 Tenões, Portugal
- Hours: (Church) Summer hours are from 8:00 am to 12:30 pm and then 2:00 pm to 07:00 pm. Winter season, they close early at 6:00 pm.
- Fees: Visiting the church and the complex is free. The funicular ride is 1.50 euros one way
Walk through Arco da Porta Nova
Arco da Porta Nova is one of the most iconic landmarks in Braga. This archway was built in the late 18th century and is a major example of Baroque architecture.
Arco da Porta Nova is one of the main entrances into the historic city center, and it’s also a popular spot for tourists to take photos.
If you’re visiting Braga, be sure to walk through the archway and admire the intricate architecture.
And if you’re looking for a souvenir, there are plenty of shops selling postcards and other trinkets near Arco da Porta Nova.
Admire Jardim de Santa Bárbara
Jardim de Santa Bárbara is a beautiful garden near a medieval site in the historic centre of Braga. This park is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike, as it offers stunning views of the surrounding city.
Jardim de Santa Bárbara is home to a number of sculptures and monuments, as well as beautifully manicured floral layouts.
Alongside the gardens is the eastern wing of the historical Archbishop’s Palace of Braga.
In and around the park are plenty of cafes, making it the perfect spot to relax with a cup of coffee after exploring all that Braga has to offer.
Visit Igreja Misericórdia
This is a baroque church located in the centre of Braga.
The church was built in the 16th century during the Renaissance period at the time of Archbishop D. Frei Bartolomeu dos Mártires (1559-1558).
The church underwent numerous additions and renovations over the years.
You will be amazed at the artifacts that are preserved and displayed within its walls. These inner courtyards have exhibits, gravestones, and historic carvings.
Before entering the altar, you will find a glass-covered central flower garden which is very pretty.
The church boasts beautiful interiors and a stunning altar, which are worth visiting. This area is very ornate, and gorgeous!
When you exit the church, you will be at Liberdade Square, next to the Cathedral of Braga.
- Address: R. Dom Diogo de Sousa 124, 4700-424 Braga, Portugal
- Fees: Free
Admire the Cathedral of Braga
The Cathedral of Braga is one of the most important historical landmarks in the city. This Gothic cathedral was built in the 12th century.
It is the seat of the Archbishop of Braga and the primary church of the Diocese of Braga.
The exterior of the cathedral is decorated with intricate carvings and sculptures, while the interior is home to a beautiful collection of religious art.
Do visit the cathedral interiors to admire the stunning cloisters, treasury, and crypt – they display immense works of art and the grandeur that Braga was.
The Capela de Nossa Senhora da Piedade (chapel) inside the cathedral is particularly beautiful!
The Cathedral of Braga is a must-see for anyone visiting the city. Its beautiful architecture and rich history make it one of the most impressive landmarks in Portugal.
- Address: R. Dom Paio Mendes, 4700-424 Braga, Portugal
- Hours: Open daily. Summer hours are from 09:30 am to 12:30 pm and then 2:30 pm to 6:30 pm. Winter season, they close early at 5:30 pm.
- Admission Fee: Free. There is a fee to see the Treasury and Capela dos Reis
Eat a traditional lunch
One of the best things about visiting a new city is trying the local food, and Braga is no exception.
There are plenty of delicious Portuguese dishes to choose from, but here are a few traditional meals that you shouldn’t miss while you’re in town.
- Bacalhau: This dish is made with salt cod, a staple of Portuguese cuisine. It can be served in many different ways, but a common way to eat it is simply boiled with potatoes and onions.
- Grilled bass: Grilled bass is quite popular as well. It is served with boiled potatoes.
- Caldo verde: This soup is made with kale, potatoes, and sausage, and is a popular choice for a hearty winter meal. It is yummy!
- Cozido à Portuguesa: This stew is made with a variety of meats, vegetables, and beans, and is a filling dish that will warm you up on a cold day.
- Portuguese Chicken with Beans Recipe: Love this chicken dish with some rice and salad on the side!
Even if you’re not a fan of seafood, you’ll find plenty of other options to choose from on a traditional Portuguese menu. So don’t be afraid to try something new while you are here.
Stroll around the historic centre
After a hearty meal, take the time to stroll around the city centre.
The historic town centre of Braga is home to many of the city’s most important landmarks, including the Cathedral of Braga, the Palácio dos Biscainhos, and the City Hall.
If you’re interested in learning more about the history of Braga, there are several museums in the historic town centre, including the Museu da Imagem (Image Museum).
When you are enjoying a stroll pay attention to the colorful decorations and heritage buildings around you – and take the time to admire them!
Shop for souvenirs
There are also plenty of shops in the historic town centre, so you can spend some time souvenir shopping.
I found that many of the handicrafts were reasonably priced as compared to Porto and Lisbon. So it is definitely a steal!
Highly recommend shopping locally made items here! I bought back a few tea towels for use, and for decorative purposes (for 1.50 euro per piece, and they were all Made in Portugal!)
Check out the Raio Palace
Raio Palace is a beautiful Baroque-style palace located in the heart of Braga. This 18th-century palace was once the home of the Dukes of Braganza, and it now houses a museum.
The exterior of the palace is just as stunning as the interior, with azulejos tiles.
- Address: Casa do Raio. Braga Norte 920, 4700-327 Braga, Portugal
- Hours: Closed on Sundays and Mondays. The rest of the days are open from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and 2:30 pm to 6:30 pm
- Admission Fee: Free.
Stop by Braga Library and City Hall
Located in the historic town centre is the gorgeous Braga Library building. It is one of the most important cultural institutions in the city. This library – Biblioteca Pública de Braga – was founded in 1847.
It is a public library, and offers a variety of services. You can visit the interiors if you have time, but the exteriors of the building are stunning and worth pausing for a bit.
Located close by is the City Hall of Braga.
The Braga City Hall is one of the most important historical landmarks in the city. This grand building, constructed in the mid-18th century, has been the seat of the city government for centuries.
The exterior of the City Hall is decorated with carvings and sculptures, and was designed by André Soares.
Grab a cuppa coffee at A Brasileira
Need a quick coffee fix?
Head to A Brasileira, which is located along the Largo Barão de São Martinho. It is one of the oldest cafes in the country, dating back to 1907.
Climb the Torre de Menagem Braga
Castle of Braga is a historical fortification and defensive line that existed in the 16th century, and was meant to protect against the Moors. It used to encircle the city of Braga.
The castle consisted of a series of walls, towers, and gates that stretched for over 2 kilometers around the city. However, it was demolished in 1906.
Today, only the tower remains; and it showcases a coat of arms of D. Fernando on the door. You can climb the top of the tower for stunning sunset views.
The tower site has been a National Monument since 1910. Once you go up there, you will be located at the highest point of Braga city and get a good view of the centre.
- Address: Terreiro do Castelo
- Hours: From Tuesday to Saturday from 2;00 pm to 5:30 pm (please confirm hours before you travel)
- Admission Fee: Free
Hang out at the Praça da República
Finish your day relaxing at the Praça da República. This lively square is located in the heart of the city and is surrounded by shops, restaurants, and cafes.
The Praça da República is a great place to people-watch or do some shopping before signing off for the day. It’s also the perfect place to grab a bite to eat, before calling it a day!
Alternate things to do in Braga Portugal
We have round up some more attractions in Braga that you can swap for any of the sites above
- Churches: Braga is known for its churches. We have covered 3 above including the church at the Bom Jesus Sanctuary, but there are more
- You can swap the Braga Cathedral or any attractions for the Igreja de São João do Souto. It is centrally located and features a large square.
- Chapel of São Frutuoso is another option. Located in the Real area, it dates back to the 7th century.
- Igreja de Santa Cruz, is a church worth visiting, that is dedicated to the Holy Cross.
- Igreja de São Marcos, dates back to the 18th century and this is where the iconic ‘Braga’ sign is located.
- Biscainhos Museum: Visit this museum for stunning azulejos and other royal exhibits
- Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sameiro: Okay! So the Bom Jesus is a must-visit. But if you have extra time in Braga, visit the Sameiro Sanctuary located on a hilltop in Espinho. This site is the most visited places of Marian worship in Portugal.
Braga and Guimaraes on a day trip
One of the amazing day trips from Porto is to Braga and Guimarães in northern Portugal. Yes, you can combine two places in one day.
There are a few tour companies that offer the same, along with hotel pick-up and a traditional lunch in Braga. Here is a day tour we recommend.
There are plenty of things to see and do in both cities, and they make for a great day trip from Porto.
- To get to Braga from Porto, you can take a train, bus, or car. The journey takes about an hour by train and slightly longer by bus or car.
Once you arrive in Braga, there are plenty of historical landmarks to see, including the Cathedral of Braga, and the Bom Jesus do Monte.
There are also plenty of shops and restaurants in the historic town centre, so you can spend a day exploring the area and then stop for a bite to eat or some shopping.
- To get to Guimaraes from Braga, you can take a bus or car. The journey takes about an hour by bus or 20 minutes by car.
Guimaraes is known as the birthplace of Portugal, and there are plenty of historical landmarks to see in the city, including the Castle of Guimaraes, the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza, and the Church of Santa Maria do Castelo.
There are also several museums in Guimaraes, and the town centre is immensely beautiful (I liked it more than Braga’s). The historical center of Guimaraes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
After a day of exploring the two cities, you can take a bus or car back to Porto. But of course, it will make for a long day.
There are options to stay in Braga or Guimaraes should you decide.
Where to stay in Braga Portugal
Want to extend your trip? Here are some hotel recommendations for Braga,
Braga day trip itinerary: Sightseeing Map
How to spend one day in Braga Portugal
Once you arrive in Braga, there’s plenty to see and do. Start your day at the Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary, located just outside of the city. This stunning church is a must-see, and the views from the top are breathtaking.
Then, wander through the historic city center, where you’ll find beautiful architecture, quaint shops, and lively cafes.
End your day with a sunset view from the top of the Torre de Menagem, a 12th-century tower located in the heart of Braga.
As you watch the sun dip below the horizon, you’ll be treated to a stunning panorama of the city below.
Is one day in Braga enough?
One day in Braga is surely enough time to explore this religious city. Bom Jesus Sanctuary will take most of your time on your one day itinerary, and once you are in the city you can visit 1-2 churches or religious buildings, museums, and gardens. Being a compact city, you can also relax in between sites at a nice traditional restaurant or cafe!
So whether you’re looking for a historic city filled with culture or a beautiful natural setting to explore, Braga is sure to please.
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