Porto to Braga: The Perfect Day Trip Itinerary
Last updated: 23 October 2020 | Guides, Portugal
The day trip from Porto to Braga is one of the most popular trips to take on in Northern Portugal. This is no surprise since Braga is one of the biggest cities in Portugal and also the religious center of the country.
The city of Braga is full with lots of historic and religious buildings located within the city’s narrow streets or high up on its hills. Some of the most notable monuments of Braga are the Bom Jesus do Monte & Sameiro Sanctuary sitting on the top of the hill overlooking the city.
This travel guide will detail a day trip from Porto to Braga, including all of the notable landmarks in the city. Along with that, you can combine it with a visit to the nearby cities Guimarães and Geres.
Porto to Braga Itinerary Map
Travelling from Porto to Braga
Travelling from Porto to Braga is fairly easy, due to the well-established road between the two biggest Portuguese cities. You can choose to travel from Porto to Braga by train or bus, depending on your preferences.
Travelling from Porto to Braga by Train
Travelling from Porto to Braga by train is the cheapest and one of the most convenient travel options in the northern part of Portugal. You can get a direct train from Porto Campanhã train station or Porto São Bento train station. However, if you would like to check out Portugal’s most beautiful train station you should go to Porto São Bento train station. It is exactly in the city center and is covered with thousands of blue hand-painted tiles. So go check it out!
The ticket costs 3.25 EUR and the ride to Braga takes around an hour, which is quite fast. In addition to that, you will be able to enjoy the beautiful countryside of Portugal with its lush green fields.
To check train timetables, prices or even buy tickets you can visit the official website of the Portuguese railways here.
Travelling from Porto to Braga by Bus
If you decide to take on a bus to Braga it might be a bit faster than the train, but this would add up to its price. The cheapest bus options from Porto to Braga are the one provided by Rede Expressos. The ticket price is 6 EUR and you can buy the ticket online using their application. However, if you are 29 years old or under you can ask them for a discount on your ticket.
To catch the bus in Porto you will have to go to the Renex bus station, which is close to the 24 de Agosto Metro station. Then, you have to take off at the main bus station in Braga.
Although, if you want to catch a bus from Porto airport to Braga you can do that by buying a ticket from GetBus’s website, or by their drivers directly. The ticket costs 8 EUR and the ride takes less than an hour, so it is quite convenient. To catch the bus you will have to go outside of the airport terminal and wait at bus stop A.
Travelling around Braga
The public transport in Braga is very well-developed, cheap and convenient. The best means of transportation around the city is either by bus or by car. Whichever option you choose, you will not be disappointed.
How to get from Braga to Bom Jesus do Monte?
Travelling from Braga train station to Bom Jesus do Monte is quite easy and fast. All you have to do is to go outside of the train station where the main bus station is. There you have to wait a bit for bus number 2 or the one that has an inscription “Bom Jesus”. The bus ticket is 1.65 EUR and you can purchase it from the bus driver. Bear in mind, that the bus comes every 30 minutes and the ride takes around the same amount of time. You can check the timetable here and the map of the bus stops here.
Once you arrive at the last stop of bus number 2 you will see the station of the world’s oldest water-powered funicular. If you want to enjoy a ride on the funicular up to Bom Jesus you have to buy a ticket for 1.50 EUR. The ride will take less than 10 minutes, so in no time you will be there.
Although I prefer going to Bom Jesus with the funicular, there is also an option to climb up to there. Exactly on the right side of the road, before the funicular is the main staircase leading you to the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte. However, climbing up to Bom Jesus can be quite tiring and usually takes around an hour to get there.
How to get from Sameiro Sanctuary to Braga city?
Once you have visited the Sameiro Sanctuary you can go back to its entrance and there you will find the bus stop for bus 88. Usually, the bus comes every 30 minutes, the ticket costs 1.55 EUR and you can purchase it from the driver.
If you have missed the bus, which usually happens, you can visit Raul’s restaurant, which is next to the bus stop. There you can enjoy some traditional food, like Belem pastries or refreshing drinks.
Things to do on your Porto - Braga daytrip
I am pretty sure that whenever you search for Braga on the web the most common thing that pops up is the Bom Jesus Sanctuary. Honestly, this is quite expected as it is one of the most fascinating religious sites I have ever visited and it is also not that hard to reach. However, despite Bom Jesus being one of the most famous and visited sights in Braga, there are many other things that you could do and visit. Scroll below to get the insights…
Bom Jesus do Monte
So, I will start off with the story behind Bom Jesus do Monte, which is among the most visually arresting religions sites in Portugal. The first chapel was built around the 14th century and was attracting all the pilgrims from the region. However, the site was finished around the 18th century when the pilgrimage act was flourishing. Interestingly enough is that the pilgrims would climb up on their knees to the top of Bom Jesus to prove their faith and devotion to God. That is quite fascinating, isn’t it?!
The pilgrimage site was build in a mixture of architectural styles, which only added to its uniqueness. Each part of Bom Jesus has its own symbolic meaning, which makes the religious site a must-see. The most notable part of the religious site is its Baroque stairway or the Sacred way, as it is most known around the locals. The famous Baroque stairway of Bom Jesus is a very enchanting zig-zag stairway that leads its curious visitors to the top of the religious site.
The Baroque Stairway
Walking up to the top of Bom Jesus is not an easy job, but it is absolutely worth the try. Along the way to the top, there are a couple of fascinating fountains starting with the one representing the Wounds of Christ. Then, when you continue to the top you will see the fountains of the Five Senses, which you will not miss for sure. Each of the fountains is dedicated to each sense (touch, smell, sight, taste and sound) where the water is pouring through the respecting body part of the statue. Finally, you will reach the last three fountains of the virtues, which are representing faith, hope and charity.
Eventually, after climbing up the 577 stairs of the Baroque stairway you will end up in front a large beautifully arranged garden. On top of the garden, you will witness the Basilica of Bom Jesus do Monte. The Basilica is built in the traditional Portuguese architectural style, which you would see in every city you go to in Portugal. However, what makes the Basilica a true masterpiece is the massive golden altar representing the crucifixion of Jesus. It is definitely a must-see!
While you are wandering around Bom Jesus you would enjoy lots of beautiful views around it and perfectly arranged flower gardens. A bit up next to the Basilica is a nice grotto with a little pond in it and a gazebo on its top from where you can oversee the surrounding area.
Finally, you can embark on your next adventure that starts after you climb up behind Bom Jesus do Monte. There you will find its beautiful park with a huge pond in the middle of it. Usually, it is the place where the lovers come to enjoy the romantic atmosphere it brings. However, I would say it is perfect for meditating!
Following your walk in the romantic gardens above Bom Jesus, you can walk up to the Sameiro Sanctuary. The walk to the sanctuary will take around 20 minutes and is going through a nice little forest, which brings you to a tiny village and the sanctuary itself.
At first, the Sameiro Sanctuary would seem as the less-known brother of Bom Jesus and also the more unfriendly one. This might be due to the darker colour of its Baroque stairways and the forest surrounding them. However, when you reach its top (which is easier compared to that of Bom Jesus) you will witness its beautiful and sunny side.
The Sameiro Sanctuary was built around the same time as the Bom Jesus site and is as equally fascinating. However, it was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and you will notice that by entering the church where you will see her exactly in the middle of the altar. Interestingly enough is that the Santuário de Nossa Senhora do Sameiro or the Sameiro Sanctuary is the largest shrine dedicated to the worship of the Virgin Mary in Portugal!
The sanctuary is one of the most serene places in the region and also has the best views over the city of Braga!
If you are not tired of the blue azulejos of Northern Portugal, then you should definitely stop by Raio Palace. It is one of the most notable Baroque buildings in Braga and is located in the heart of the city. Honestly, you will be in awe once you enter through its stairway covered in blue azulejos. In addition to that, the palace has many Baroque arches and ornaments, which add to the royal vibe it brings to the visitor.
In the beginning, the Raio Palace was a residence for the wealthy Portuguese families and was known as the House of the Mexican. Then, after changing its owners a couple of times it became the cultural center of Braga with a large collection of artefacts dating back to the 16th century. Among them are many sculptures, paintings, sacred books and even medieval clothing.
EarthOSea Travel Tips:
🎟️ Price: FREE
⌚️ Opening Hours:
Tuesday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 6:30 PM
The Cathedral of Braga
There is a saying about Portugal that goes like that “If you have not visited the churches of Portugal you have not visited Portugal”. That is quite the utter truth! The churches of Portugal are something fascinating and out of this world monuments. Honestly, the churches in Portugal are very different compared to those of southern Europe. This is partly due to the azulejos (tiles) covering their walls and the various ornaments on their ceilings that make them so unique.
That is why, you should definitely stop by one of the most famous churches in Braga – Sé Catedral de Braga. The Cathedral of Braga is the oldest religious building built in Portugal and was the founding building of Braga. Nowadays, the Sé Catedral de Braga is located exactly in the center of the city and is one of the most visited sights. That is no surprise as the cathedral itself is quite stunning and would make anybody’s jaw drop!
Once you enter into the cathedral you will be fascinated by the beautiful golden Baroque ornaments. Each one of them is put on the sides of the cathedral and adds up to its greatness. In addition to that, there are many purple flags leading you to the its altar. Finally, you can turn your head up and enjoy the incredible artwork on its ceiling!
If the Cathedral of Braga caught your attention go and check it out! It costs 2.50 EUR to enter and works every day.
EarthOSea Travel Tips:
🎟️ Price: 2.50 EUR
⌚️ Opening Hours:
Everyday 9:30 AM – 6:30 PM
Old city of Braga
You are probably wondering if there is such a thing as an old city of Braga. Well, yes there is! The city of Braga has been inhabited since ancient Roman times and there are still some remains from that period. Thus, if you are interested in ancient history you can embark on a little adventure back in time.
Right in the heart of the city, you will find the Arco da Porta Nova. The gate is dating back to the 13th century and is one of the first gates of the city. Nowadays, the gate is set between the urban buildings of Braga and attracts many at sunset. So, don’t miss it out!
Then, you can head to the Igreja de Santa Cruz, which is a 17th century Gothic church in Braga. Probably you are wondering why I am suggesting it. Well, it has a quite beautiful interior and also a very interesting exterior. In addition to that, I heard a local legend about the church, which determines your future marital status. As per the legend, if you manage to find the two roosters on the facade of the church you will for sure get married that year. So, I urge you to go and find them!
Finally you can go to Jardim de Santa Barbara to rest after a long day of strolling around. However, if you would like to explore further you can always check the Castle of Braga. Actually, only 1 tower of the castle of Braga is left, but it is enough so you can get a clear picture of how it all looked like. In addition to that, you can get to its top and get a very nice view of the city (for free).
Where To Stay in Braga?
If you happen to plan a longer trip to Braga, you will need to check for places to stay in. Braga is not a big city, but it sure does offer some good deals when it comes to staying in.
Below, I have gathered all of the best offers depending on your budget:
Value for Money Accommodation
I hope that you have enjoyed these Porto to Braga day trip. Did you visit any of the suggested landmarks?
Which one was your favourite?