When I arrived at Porto on April 10, 2018—Braga wasn’t on my cities’ visit list. Luckily, I had an Airbnb place with an amazing local Portuguese host lady. She was amazing (more than amazing actually. She brought me to friends’ gathering and she was the one who introduced Braga to me. In this post, I’ll share with you my trip to Braga, including Bom Jesus do Monte, a must-visit place not far from Braga.
Arriving at Braga
We arrive at Braga around 11:30 in the morning. I remember when we first got out, I said: “No way, this place looks amazing, even better than Porto!”. Oh, well, I shouldn’t have said that the lady, of course, she then replied: “No, Porto is the best city!”.
But between us, this city is a dream city in my opinion. It’s so picturesque, so peaceful, not tall buildings, lots of space, and has village charming to it. Braga is also close to the mountains, so you get a beautiful view of the mountains when walking in Avenue Da Liberdade.
Now I am in Japan, and I can tell you right here right now, I miss that non-sophisticated living vibe of the cities of Portugal. By that I mean, the pace of the city life completely different, it’s so relaxing. Of course, those are two completely different places, I just miss it a lot, just saying.
Boutique Shops Alongside Brand Shops
The center has really cute boutique shops and as I walked in Av. da Liberdade, I also saw a lot of brand shops as well. Braga is a very touristic place. Although, I myself, didn’t know about it until I came to Portugal.
You can feel the charm from the photos I believe. I mean, I try to get the right angles so the vibe of the place can be transmitted to the viewer. When I see them, I feel like I am there right now—it feels great.
Braga’s Gorgeous Cathedrals & Churches
The lady pointed me to a nearby big church. Then, we entered it. She shares some information about the design and items there. Along the way, we visited several beautiful cathedrals and little churches. The cathedrals looked nice from the outside but absolutely awe-inspiring from the inside. The atmosphere there is of course very calm, relaxing and spiritual. Aside from that, it was also hot outside, but cool inside the church.
Here are some photos that I took of inside the churches. This includes photos of Holy Cross Church and Braga Cathedral.
After we finished seeing a few churches, we set down to eat in a little restaurant. The lady recommended a Portuguese dish and I also ordered a glass of local beer. (it wasn’t Bacalhau, but I can’t remember the name right now).
I took another look at the beautiful street view of the center of Braga, as we added to Bom Jesus do Monte.
Bom Jesus do Monte
After hanging around Braga, we took a bus to Bom Jesus do Monte. A very popular tourist attraction. It’s a Portuguese sanctuary in Tenões, outside the city of Braga. If I am not wrong, it took us like 40 minutes to get there. Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It’s a gorgeous place on top of the mountain. You can reach the Sanctuary by climbing the Baroque stairway, but we preferred taking the water balance Bom Jesus funicular to get to the top. What a fun ride that was.
I actually recorded a video of the ride to the top, it’s on Sightseeing Express YouTube channel. But for your convenience, of course, I’ll embed it here.
The ride was short and we eventually arrived at the top.
The Sanctuary & Panoramic View
The view from the top is absolutely breathtaking. North of Portugal has many mountain areas. The great thing is that there are many attractions in those mountains. I’ll share more of those in later posts.
When I got there I remember exhaling deeply. This was because of the beauty of the place. The church of Bom Jesus isn’t huge, but looks beautiful from the outside and inside.
Here are some photos I took, both inside the church and outside. There was a wedding taking place there. You can also see the stairway and view of the church of Bom Jesus do Monte from the bottom (last photo).
Heading Down the Stairs
Of course, you can’t miss out on the opportunity to see the church and the zigzag stairways from below. Therefore, we start making our way down the stairs. As we do so, we enjoyed the beautiful bell sounds of the church and the beautiful views below.
Luckily, I didn’t forget to capture a video of it, so I can share it with you. It’s a short video, but you can clearly see what I am talking about.
The atmosphere was amazing. I can’t wait to come back to Braga again and visit the same place all over again.
Braga is a must-visit city in Portugal. You can afford missing it. It’s a short bus ride from Porto to the north. I also visited Guimaraes, but on a later trip with a few friends. It’s also an amazing place with a gorgeous mountain to explore.
I hope those pictures (took with my old iPhone by the way) and the videos can shed more light on the atmosphere of the place. The most important thing for me as an enthusiast photographer is being able to transfer the feeling of the place, either in photos or videos.
If you enjoy what you see, you know which place you should visit next when coming to Portugal. It’s a charming city, one that I personally wouldn’t mind living for a long time. I just love the place so much. It’s close to nature, it feels open and airy, and it’s much calmer compared to the large cities like Porto or Lisbon.
Put Braga at the top of your must-visit cities’ list when visiting Portugal.
Thanks for reading.