Braga is a wonderful tourist destination that combines history and culture, with numerous outstanding tourist attractions. The city is often regarded as the religious centre of Portugal, and this is confirmed every hour when a cacophony of different church bells ring-out. But Braga is much more that only that, Braga is also a lively city, one of the oldest in the country, and is teeming with young people who study at its universities.
Built more than 2,000 years ago, “Bracara Augusta” was, as the name indicates, founded by Augustus; it was located on one of the main Roman roads in the Iberian Peninsula, since it was the administrative seat of the Empire, and later given the status of capital of the Roman province of Gallaecia, present-day Galicia, by Emperor Caracalla. The Braga Diocese is the oldest in Portugal and, in the Middle Ages, the city even competed with Santiago de Compostela in power and importance. One of the Camiños de Santiago passed through here, when this pilgrimage cult grew with the Christian reconquest and the foundation of Portugal.
Braga is home to the oldest cathedral in Portugal, and a day’s sightseeing can provide a glimpse into the importance and extensive history of the city. Within the maze of narrow streets, Gothic churches back onto modern shopping streets and grand baroque buildings surround peaceful plazas.
Even though Braga is the third largest city of Portugal, it does not have a hectic pace or crowded atmosphere, and is a joy to explore. As an important city, Braga has the services, choices and nightlife of a major city, along with a young and vibrant population, as home to one of Portugal’s largest universities.