If you are looking for day trips from Porto then visiting Braga should be on your list. There is a lot to see in Braga and it’s a great place to discover with children of any age. From all the cities we’ve visited in Portugal so far, Braga’s been the firm favourite of our 7-year-old son. There is a lot of things to do and see but when travelling with kids you might want to prioritize, otherwise it might turn into a stressful rather than an enjoyable day trip to Braga.
Braga is one of the oldest cities in the country built more than 2,000 years ago and is regarded as the religious centre of the country. It is a city where religion and tradition come together. Only 55 km northeast from Porto, it is quite easy to organize a family day trip to Braga. But if you don’t like organizing trips yourself, you can book a day trip guided tour that is offered by many agencies.
How to get there
If you are like us, travelling on budget while wanting to experience as much as possible, don’t book the guided tour and save a lot of money. There are frequent trains going from Porto train station to Braga and the journey takes around one hour. Adult return tickets cost around € 7 and children pay half price. Alternatively, you can hire a car but be prepared to pay extra for children car seats.
You can read more about getting around in Portugal in our article Visiting Portugal with children, is it a good idea?
What we liked about our day trip to Braga
I always say that what is a must-see for one doesn’t have to be for the other but here are some of the things we would like to share with you. We like discovering places on our own therefore we always try to get a tourist map of the city and decide what we wanted to see first. Sometimes though it is nice to walk around aimlessly and you are sure to notice those best things without anyone telling you about them.
We loved the historical buildings sitting next to each other. Everywhere you look there is something interesting to see. We walked up and down the streets enjoying the atmosphere of the city. In the city centre, we stopped for a while so children could play and enjoy themselves. We found the Santa Barbara Garden next to the Atigo Paco Episcopal and the beautiful Cathedral as well. While walking on the main street Avenida da Liberdade I noticed a little street leading to Palacio Do Raio. Wow, I thought, what an interesting building. Deep in thoughts, standing in the middle of the road, waiting for people to pass, I almost got run over by a car. But that’s just me, isn’t it?
If you are going to see only one place, it should definitely be Santuario Bom Jesus do Monte. You won’t be able to walk by it, though. It is 6 km east of Braga built on the western slopes of Monte Espinho. Jump on the bus number 2 at Avenida da Liberdade which will take you right to the monumental staircase built of granite and interconnected by a series of chapels representing the Stations of the Cross.
For a small charge, you can hop on a funicular railway which will take you right to the top. Children will love it. The place is amazing and the view is stunning. I am not surprised this is one of the top attractions in Braga. If you don’t want to compete with other visitors, go early in the morning or late afternoon. We managed to have the place to ourselves until a school bus arrived.
Have you been to Portugal yourself or even to Braga? Then let us know how you liked it and what other places you’ve visited. We would love to hear from you.
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