20 Things To Do In Braga

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Braga in Northern Portugal has been home to human settlement since before the Roman Empire. It is less than an hour north of today’s Porto yet as an inland city, its importance is as much about being a hub for inland parts of Northern Portugal as anything else.

Its population is approaching 200,000 meaning it is one of the country’s largest cities after Lisbon and Porto. Braga is also an excellent base for exploring the north of the country which is known for its ports and wines, lovely natural scenery and open spaces.

There are a number of tours that will reveal the best that Braga and the surrounding region have to offer. Some will appeal to the active while others allow you to relax and just enjoy the experience.

Read on and you will get some ideas of what is on offer.

Braga, Portugal

Top Tours

20 Things To Do In Braga

1- Take A Tuk Tuk Around The City

Braga: Tuk Tuk City Tour
Visiting the Cathedral Of Braga is one of the things to do in Braga Portugal.

There are several important historical and architectural landmarks in the heart of Braga.

It will be easy to understand more about the origins and history of the city if you get on a tuk-tuk for a guided tour with an experienced guide/driver.

As you travel along the narrow streets, you will see Gothic churches and impressive Gothic buildings alongside modern shopping malls.

The highlights include the Bom Jesus do Monte sanctuary, the Sanctuary of Sameiro, the Holy Cross Church and the Pius XII Museum.

Rome features strongly with the Roman Thermae of Maximinus and the ruins of Carvalheiras.

There is more, and how much you see will depend on how long you book the tuk-tuk for.

Recommended tour: Braga: Tuk Tuk City Tour

2- Play The History Game

An alternative way to explore Braga and all it has to offer is by using your smartphone and an app.

The challenge is to solve the questions to find a location and then the next on the route.

The starting point is at Balneário Pré-Romano de Bracara and you will finish the game in up to 1.5 hours if you get the right answers as you proceed.

Unless you are playing the game in competition with friends or other members of the family, you can stop wherever you wish and take as long as you want.

Largo Paulo Orósio is the finishing line you can reach in record time if you are good or hours later if you want to take it easy.

Recommended: Braga: Roman Heritage City Exploration Game

3- Walk On A Guided Tour

Small Group Braga Tour Including Transfer to Bom Jesus
Visiting Bom Jesus is one of the top things to do in Braga Portugal.

You can walk around the main elements of Braga in half a day if you have the help of an experienced guide.

Its history predates Christ and religion has always been an important part of that.

During the walk, you will enjoy galleries, museums and theatres with the chance to return to spend more time at whichever you want.

The Cathedral of Santa Maria de Braga and the Archiepiscopal Palace of Braga are included while you will also visit the old Teatro São Geraldo, now the Banco de Portugal, the Municipal Bracarense Market and the Bom Jesus Church.

Recommended tour: Small-Group Braga Tour, Including Transfer to Bom Jesus

4- Enjoy The Border Region

Santiago de Compostela: Full Day Tour
A day trip to Santiago De Compostela is one of the things to do from Braga.

The border region between Portugal and Spain is beautiful, the former Minho Province, which continues into Spain and Galicia.

Santiago de Compostela is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has become very important to pilgrims.

The cathedral dates back to the 11th century and you can attend mass there if the timings are right.

There is time to explore before leaving to head through Valença do Minho with its fortress.

Recommended tour: Santiago de Compostela: Full-Day Tour

5- Sample Some Lovely Wines

Premium Tasting | Quinta de Santa Cristina Vinho Verde
Aerial view of a green vineyard in Portugal at sunset.

With the option of morning or afternoon tours, this group, never with too many people, is an ideal way to learn about the local wines.

The winery, Quinta de Santa Cristina, is in the Basto region of Vinho Verde, the famous “green” wine associated with Northern Portugal.

After a lesson in the process of making wine and seeing the bottling and labelling procedure, you will be offered five different wines with snacks to eat as you sample the wine.

There is a vegan alternative, and if you take the tour as a family, the children will be offered different refreshing juices and biscuits.

Recommended tour: Premium Tasting | Quinta de Santa Cristina Vinho Verde

6- Talk Wine And More

Traditional Vinho Verde Tour in Bowl with Private Transfer (Porto and Braga)
Tasting port red is one of the popular things to do in Braga.

The history of local wine production is the morning activity on this full-day tour.

You will walk in the grape plantation and learn about the techniques local farmers use, everything from planting to harvest.

You will see ancient wine cellars and taste the wines produced by the family.

Traditional lunch comes in the price with the chance to try “cod with potatoes to the punch”, one of those traditional dishes.

After lunch, there are two places you will visit, the 16th-century Santa Senhorinha de Basto Catholic Shrine and the Railway Museum with its old carriages that you are welcome to enter.

Recommended tour: Traditional Vinho Verde Tour in Bowl with Private Transfer (Porto and Braga)

7- Visit Neighbouring Cities North Of Porto

Braga and Guimaraes both have rich histories and are in the heart of the region known for its Vinho Verde wines.

These wines are made like they have been for centuries, while the architecture is equally impressive.

Both cities have 18th-century Manor Houses, and you will spend time at both during your tour.

You will learn about every stage of wine production, beginning with the harvesting and the subsequent processes to create this fine wine.

You will enjoy a relaxing day, especially when you sample the wine in lovely surroundings.

Recommended tour: Vinho Verde Experience

8- Taste Memorable Local Cuisine

The cuisine in Portugal is one of infinite variety and flavour.

Expect a range of dishes, desserts, main courses and more.

The locals have always enjoyed their food, and they have found drinks that accompany the food beautifully.

Those drinks range from Vinho Verde to liqueurs and craft beers.

There is often a story behind the food you will encounter, whether it is just an appetiser, a dessert or the more substantial main dishes.

These things are part of the history of the cities, and tour guides are sure to provide you with relevant information and will answer all your questions.

Recommended tour: Private Guimaraes Walking Food Tour with Tastings

9- Walk And Taste The History of Braga

Food and history combine well to make Braga a very interesting city.

Starting at Arco Da Porta Nova, your guide will take you to see the public gardens and lovely cathedral before inviting you to enjoy some of Braga’s food and drink highlights.

They include three local cheeses: gizzard, rojões, chorizo, red wine, Vinho Verde, and íbias e Fidalguinhos.

Coffee and tea are also served for those that want them.

This walking tour also includes the landmarks already mentioned, the Cathedral of Braga and Garden da Avenida Central so you will exercise as well as take some calories onboard.

Recommended tour: Small-Group Braga Food Tour With A Local Guide

10- Take A Cooking Class

Cooking Experience with Food Market Visit in Braga
Natas do Ceu is a traditional Portuguese dessert to be eaten with a spoon.

The best cookery classes begin by visiting a local market to buy the produce needed to make the dishes that are to be prepared.

Local markets in Portugal are full of colour anyway, so they are worth a visit even if you are browsing.

On this tour, you start at Braga Municipal Market to meet your teacher and then spend some time wandering around to pick the ingredients you are going to use.

There is a short drive out of the city into rural Portugal before you arrive at the place where you will prepare and cook.

Apart from the knowledge you will gain from the preparation, there is the time you will be able to sit in a lovely garden to eat what has just been cooked.

Recommended tour: Cooking Experience with Food Market Visit in Braga

11- Get Close To Nature In A Kayak

Even if you have not been in a kayak before, you should look at this leisurely activity in Braga.

Your route between Ponte da Barca and Ponte de Lima is a beautiful stretch of water you will surely enjoy.

The valley is pollution-free, with dams that are easy to navigate, even for a novice.

A support vehicle follows you on a road parallel to the river while a guide is on the water.

This is a leisurely tour; no rush.

Recommended tour: Viana do Castelo: Kayak Tour at Lima River

12- Enjoy the Independence Provided By An E-Bike

Anyone wanting a feeling of independence yet needing some guidance can join a group, each of whom has an e-bike which means that it is possible to cover quite a distance without the restriction of a vehicle.

Along the route to Peneda Geres National Park, you will pass through historic villages, catch breathtaking views, and then the forests of the National Park.

The route is around 60 kilometres (38 miles) and drops 1400 metres (4,600 feet) from the start at Vilarinho das Furnas to finish.

There are several highlights, including Albergaria Forest, Portela do Homem near the Spanish border, and the waterfalls and pools on the river.

Lindoso, a beautiful mountain village, has a castle dating back to the 13th century, with the tour finishing at Tobogã Base.

Recommended tour: Peneda Geres National Park: Self-Guided Electric Bike Tour

13- Challenge Yourself On A Scavenger Hunt

Braga: Scavenger Hunt and City Highlights Walking Tour
Campo Das Hortas in Braga Portugal.

One of the beauties of a scavenger hunt while walking around Braga is that it will lead you to the city’s main landmarks.

You can do it in your own time unless you compete with family or friends to see who can be quickest around the route.

The app on your smartphone is your guide as you solve questions and head on.

There are plenty of clues to help you both find a landmark and then answer questions about it.

You can expect to visit Santa Barbara Garden, Porta Nova Arch and Braga Cathedral among other places. 

The starting point is “Praça da República” and if you get your answers right, you will finish at “Santa Cruz Church”.

Recommended tour: Braga: Scavenger Hunt and City Highlights Walking Tour

14- Explore Portugal’s Only National Park

Peneda-Gerês National Park is a wonderful place and where you will find everything from old Roman roads to what nature provides.

That is, high peaks, waterfalls and fast-flowing rivers.

Your experienced guide is very familiar with all aspects of the National Park, and his knowledge is invaluable in ensuring you enjoy the day.

You will need hiking boots for this adventure which goes through villages within the park, some old, some new.

Make sure you have a camera with you.

Recommended tour: Peneda-Geres Hiking & Sightseeing: Private Experience

15- Ride In The Countryside

The countryside of Viana do Castelo is a world away from city life.

Why not see it on horseback? You can start from your hotel in Braga with a private guide.

After travelling to the ranch, you will be introduced to your horse and provided with all you need to ensure you are ready to ride.

The route takes you through fields of colourful flowers along mountain trails before you pass Viana do Castelo’s beautiful beaches.

By now, you are sure to be comfortable on your horse and confident enough to capture the lovely settings on your camera.

Recommended tour: Viana do Castelo Horseback Riding Tour with Transport from Porto / Braga

16- See Historic Landmarks

If you want a day when history is the most important element, take this tour of three important places, Barcelos, Braga, and Guimaraes.

With an experienced guide and all arrangements made for you, you can relax and explore historic city centres, historical monuments and thriving markets full of colour.

There is sufficient time in each of the places to appreciate them fully.

If you book this tour as a group, you will have plenty of flexibility to personalise the day, and of course, where you need help and advice, you will get it.

If you have previously toured Braga and Guimaraes, it may be Barcelos that deserves more time.

Its highlights include the ruins of the palace of the Dukes of Bragança, destroyed by an 18th-century earthquake and the 13th Century bridge over the river, a national monument.

Recommended tour: Barcelos, Braga and Guimarães Tour from Esposende

17- Get An Adrenalin Rush

If you haven’t tried water canyoning before, this is your chance to get an adrenalin rush at Penada Geres National Park and the Rio Laboreiro. 

You can jump into lagoons and swim in natural pools, among other things.

Safety is a top priority, so you begin with a safety briefing and are under the watchful eye of an experienced guide throughout.

You can expect to get boots, a wetsuit, a helmet and a life vest.

There is a cave to explore, which has a waterfall within it.

Recommended tour: Water Canyoning

18- Experience A Day In the Douro Valley

Douro Valley: Premium Full Day Tour Experience
Taking a day tour to the Douro Valley is one of the things to do near Braga.

The Douro Valley is home to Portugal’s most famous export, port wine.

There are other wines produced in this lovely valley as well and you will get plenty of opportunity to sample them.

The setting is beautiful, and you will learn how the wines are made as they have been for many generations.

Lunch is also traditional cuisine, with wine.

There is a boat ride in the afternoon, passing lovely landscapes that you are certain to want to capture on your camera.

A local cocktail is a great accompaniment to the cruise incidentally.

Recommended tour: Douro Valley: Premium Full-Day Tour Experience

19- Tour Portugal’s “Green” Region

Ponte de Lima & Viana do Castelo: All Inclusive Private Tour
Going on a day trip to Viana do Castelo is one of the things to do from Braga.

Portugal’s “Green Region” in a minibus is a great day out.

Ponte de Lima, the oldest town in Portugal, is the first stop.

Its narrow streets and alleyways and the old bridge are its highlights.

There is a 17th-century Baroque palace as well and this is where you will sample Vinho Verde with local cheese and smoked sausage.

After lunch, you will head to Viana do Castelo, a city with medieval streets, churches, all with blue tiles, and traditional jewellery shops.

There are beautiful panoramas from the Sanctuary of Santa Luzia before the final destination, Viana do Castelo.

Recommended tour: Ponte de Lima & Viana do Castelo: All-Inclusive Private Tour

20- Experience The Best Of Porto

Porto: Guided Walking Tour and Lello Bookshop
Soaking up the history at Igreja do Populo is one of the top things to do in Braga Portugal.

If you make Braga your base, you can access the region.

The main wine region, the Douro Valley, is an obvious choice, but you should also spend a day going around the famous city on the Douro River before it enters the Atlantic.

That city is Porto and there are many tours that will teach you all you need to know about Portugal’s second city.

A walking tour with a local guide is one of the best.

The highlights will include some elements dating back to the 12th Century.

The Cathedral, Clérigos Church, the São Bento Railway Station and the Bolhão Market are just a few of the things included in the tour.

The tour takes three hours, and there are flexible starting times so you do not need to leave Braga very early in the morning to take it.

Recommended tour: Porto: Guided Walking Tour and Lello Bookshop

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Steve Smith is a widely travelled man who has lived on the South West Coast of Turkey since 2008. He hails from North East England where he lived most of his life but has been to every continent of the world, with a particular love for Southern Africa and its wildlife. He lists Argentina, India, and Vietnam as other favourite places that he enjoyed greatly while sport is also a passion, cricket and golf as a participant, rugby union and soccer as a spectator.