Braga: Discover the Charms of this Historic Portuguese City

Alex Person
November 5
Written by Elena Kostas

Discover the top things to do in Braga and immerse yourself in its rich history and culture. Visit impressive monuments and enjoy its charm.

Braga is a charming city located in northern Portugal. Known as the “Portuguese Rome,” the city boasts a rich history and impressive architecture.

One of the top attractions to see in Braga is the Braga Cathedral, an impressive religious building dating back to the 12th century. Additionally, you can stroll through the historic center and visit the Church of Santa Cruz, the Coimbras Chapel, and the Lello Braga Library.

Don't miss the opportunity to try the delicious Braga cuisine. You can taste typical dishes such as bacalhau à brás, duck rice, or the famous pastéis de nata.

In summary, Braga is a destination that combines history, culture, and tradition. Come and discover everything this charming city has to offer.

1. Braga Cathedral

Historical Monuments and Architecture
brown concrete building under a blue sky
Braga Cathedral / Rafael Molica, Unsplash

Braga Cathedral, also known as the Church of Santa Maria de Braga, is one of the main tourist attractions in the city.

Built in the 12th century, the cathedral combines Romanesque and Gothic elements in its architecture.

In addition to its impressive facade and towers, the interior of the cathedral houses a large collection of sacred art, including paintings, sculptures, and liturgical objects.

2. Coimbras Chapel

Historical Monuments and Architecture

The Coimbras Chapel is one of the most important tourist attractions in Braga. Its beautiful architecture and fascinating history make it a must-visit place during your stay in the city. The chapel is located in the historic center of Braga, close to other points of interest.

Built in the 18th century, the Coimbras Chapel stands out for its baroque facade and its interior decorated with typical regional tiles. The main altar is a masterpiece of religious sculpture and is dedicated to San Antonio, the patron saint of the chapel.

In addition to its architectural value, the Coimbras Chapel also has a fascinating history. It is said to have been built by a wealthy family as a thank you for escaping a shipwreck. Since then, the chapel has been a place of religious devotion and has become a symbol of faith in Braga.

3. Santa Cruz Church

Historical Monuments and Architecture

The Santa Cruz Church is a magnificent church located in the historic center of Braga. Built in the 18th century, this church stands out for its impressive baroque architecture and beautiful tiled facade. It is definitely one of the main tourist attractions in the city.

Inside the church, there are numerous religious artworks, including paintings, sculptures, and elaborately decorated altars. Visitors can admire the beauty and grandeur of this sacred place, as well as enjoy the tranquility and serenity of the surroundings.

The Santa Cruz Church also has significant historical importance. For centuries, it has witnessed important events and played a significant role in the religious and cultural life of the city.

4. Lello Library in Braga

Historical Monuments and Architecture

The Lello Library in Braga is one of the most important tourist attractions in the city. With its impressive architecture and valuable book collection, this library is a fascinating place to visit.

The library was founded in 1869 by José Lello and his brother António, and has become a cultural symbol of Braga. Its neogothic façade with ornamental details is simply breathtaking.

Inside the library, visitors can enjoy its beautiful wooden staircase, colorful stained glass windows, and shelves full of ancient and rare books. It also hosts a variety of cultural events and temporary exhibitions.

5. Gastronomy in Braga

Food and Markets

The gastronomy of Braga is an essential part of the culture of this Portuguese city. With traditional dishes and unique flavors, visitors can enjoy a complete culinary experience while exploring all that Braga has to offer.

One of the most famous specialties of Braga cuisine is cod, a versatile fish that can be prepared in many different ways. From the classic grilled cod to the bacalao a broa, you will find a wide variety of cod dishes in local restaurants.

Another traditional dish from Braga that you shouldn't miss is chanfana, a stew made with pork or goat meat seasoned with red wine and spices. This dish is particularly popular during religious festivities and is considered a true delight.

6. Duck Rice

Food and Markets

Duck Rice is one of the most delicious and traditional dishes in Portuguese cuisine. Originating from the region of Braga, this dish combines the unique flavor of duck with rice and other ingredients. The result is a blend of flavors that will make your mouth water.

The history of Duck Rice dates back centuries, when farmers in the region raised ducks in large quantities. To make the most of this food source, they created a recipe in which the duck is slowly cooked with rice and seasoned with spices and herbs. Over time, this dish became very popular and became a specialty of Braga.

Today, you can find Duck Rice in many restaurants in Braga. Some standout places to try this dish are Restaurante O Pátio, Restaurante A Cozinha da Maria, and Restaurante Décima. They all offer their own version of Duck Rice, but be sure to try them all to find your favorite.

7. Pastéis de Nata

Food and Markets
dulces portugueses
Pastéis de Nata / Nick Fewings, Unsplash

Pastéis de Nata are a delicious Portuguese pastry that has become a symbol of the country. They are small pastries filled with custard cream and topped with powdered sugar. Their origin dates back to the 18th century, when the monks of the Jerónimos Monastery created this recipe using leftover egg yolks from the wine clarification process.

In Braga, you can find a wide variety of bakeries that offer this delicious treat. Some of the most well-known ones are Pastelaria Costa and Confeitaria A Brasileira. You must try them during your visit to the city.

Pastéis de Nata are the perfect accompaniment to a coffee or tea, making them ideal for enjoying a moment of relaxation on one of Braga's terraces. They are also an excellent choice for dessert or a snack. Don't miss out on them!

8. Bacalhau à Brás

Food and Markets

Bacalhau à Brás is a typical Portuguese dish and one of the most well-known culinary specialties of Braga. It consists of a mixture of shredded codfish, thinly sliced fried potatoes, onion, eggs, and black olives. Its origin dates back to the 19th century and it is said to have been created by a tavern owner named Braz.

The preparation of Bacalhau à Brás is quite simple. The codfish is shredded and sautéed with chopped onion. Then the fried potatoes are added and everything is mixed with beaten eggs. Finally, black olives are added and it is served hot.

In Braga, there are numerous restaurants that offer Bacalhau à Brás on their menu. Some of the most popular places to try this dish are A Cozinha da Maria, Tasquinha da Linda, and Restaurante Abocanhado. Additionally, many of these restaurants offer a modern version of the dish, with additional ingredients such as mushrooms or peppers.

9. Santa Barbara Garden

Natural Spaces and Parks

Santa Barbara Garden is a popular tourist attraction in Braga. Located in the city center, it offers visitors a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city. Here, you can stroll through beautiful gardens, enjoy impressive architecture, and relax in a tranquil and laid-back atmosphere.

The gardens of Santa Barbara Garden are carefully designed and feature a variety of colorful plants and flowers. Walk along the shaded pathways and admire the beautiful sculptures and fountains.

In addition to its stunning gardens, Santa Barbara Garden also boasts an impressive historical building. The Palace of Santa Barbara, built in the 18th century, is an architectural gem and houses a museum displaying art and historical artifacts.