One of our included excursions is to Braga, an ancient city at the heart of the Minho region, sometimes called the “Portuguese Rome” for its many churches. It is considered the third-largest city in Portugal. Braga is an elegant town laced with ancient narrow lanes closed to vehicles, strewn with plazas and a splendid array of baroque churches. The constant chiming of bells is a reminder of Braga’s age-old devotion to the spiritual world. Its history and livelihood are tied to Christianity dating to the 3rd century. The city’s 12th-century Sé (Cathedral) is still one of the most popular attractions.
Located in the far north of Portugal, the country’s oldest city, is steeped in history, tradition and ancient culture, all of which merge seemingly effortlessly into the contemporary world of a modern-day university-city and thriving tourist destination.
Braga was once an important metropolis at the heart of the Roman Empire and there are many reminders of this golden era — unexpectedly discovered, beautifully restored and lovingly maintained by the citizens of this unique city.
Here, Roman remains are found juxtaposed among Baroque palaces, medieval churches and 18th-century townhouses, a reminder at every turn of the rich cultural heritage of Braga, a city like no other in the northern region of Portugal.
Included in our excursion to Braga just outside the town of Braga lies the renowned Bom Jesus do Monte pilgrimage sanctuary, with its striking Baroque stairway. The name Bom Jesus do Monte means Good Jesus of the Mount.