To the north of Portugal we find a historic city and one of the most important in the country.
This is Braga, also known as the City of Archbishops, and its Archdiocese is one of the oldest in the world.
In Braga, considered one of the best cities to live, is the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte, one of the main pilgrimage points in the world and its simple presence is already a reason to visit this city.
What to see in Braga in one day
1. Visit Bom Jesus do Monte
We are going to start our visit to Braga with the famous sanctuary because its majesty and the famous staircase that leads to it is a must-see and makes a trip to Braga worthwhile.
The sanctuary, located 5 km from the city center, which we can visit today dates from the 18th century, although previously there was already a chapel in this same place.
But the most fascinating thing about this place is the stairway in the form of steps, begun to be built in the 18th century, through which you can access the monument.
On the first staircase there are two chapels that represent the stations of the Via Crucis.
In the following points of the staircase we must highlight its allegorical fountains dedicated to the senses, whose spouts are found in the eyes, mouth, nose and ears of different statues.
The last of the stairs also has attached different chapels and fountains that represent charity, hope and faith.
There are more than 250 stairs that take you to the foot of the sanctuary, whose façade is flanked by 2 towers and various statues, which are complemented by another 8 that are distributed along the esplanade and that represent characters from the Passion of Christ.
Another of the main attractions of Bom Jesus do Monte is its funicular, which prevents you from having to climb the steps, although we recommend doing so to be able to admire it, and which was the first to be installed on the Iberian Peninsula.
2. What to visit in the center of Braga
Once you get to know Bom Jesus do Monte you can go to know the center of the city of Braga, which even after visiting this wonder will also surprise you.
A walk through Braga can start at the Republic Square, which gives access to the monumental area from the modern city. There you have a wonderful image of the Iglesia da Lapa, flanked by famous cafes and restaurants and right in front of the Braga Castle.
Strolling through the historic center of Braga, admiring its houses and balconies, we quickly arrive at the Sé, the Cathedral, whose construction began in the 11th century and in which we can admire different architectural styles. Visiting its chapels, its cloister and the Treasure Museum is a must.
Walking through its streets you should not miss the Archbishop’s Palace, the infinity of churches (such as Populo or Santa Cruz) and palaces that you come across, the Theatro Circo, the shops on Rua do Souto and everything you can find ending at Porta Nova, the gateway to the old city.
3. Other places to see in Braga
If you already know Bom Jesus do Monte and the historic center of Bracara Augusta, which was what Braga was called in Roman times, you can decide to visit the fabulous monuments that are located on the outskirts.
One of them is the Tibães Monastery or the Visigothic Chapel of Saint Fructuoso de Montélios. The latter will surprise you because it was built in the 6th century and is one of the main monuments of Hispania Visigoda.
You can also visit the Sanctuary of Sameiros, if you follow the path that leads to Bom Jesus, or even go to the nearby towns of Guimaraes or Barcelos.
In the latter, the Legend of the Rooster of Barcelos emerged, a symbol of Portugal. Legend has it that a pilgrim who was going to Santiago de Compostela after being accused of robbery and sentenced to death told the judge that, as a sign of his innocence, the rooster he was eating would get up and sing, something he did in the same moment in which the pilgrim was being hanged. But there was a bad knot and he saved his life.