January 13, 2020
We decided to turn a day trip to Braga into a two day experience. Since rain was forecast for our future, we wanted to allow enough time to explore Bom Jesus do Monte under clear skies.
We caught the train from the beautiful Sao Bento station in Porto for the one hour journey. Once we arrived in Braga, we headed into Old Town and checked into the Hotel Moon and Sun. We chose this hotel because it was in the middle of Old Town and close to shoppes, restaurants and the sights of Braga.
Visiting Bom Jesus do Monte is a highlight of any trip to Braga. It is about a 6km bus ride to the Cathedral at the top of Mount Espinho. Bom Jesus is a pilgrimage site with a beautiful baroque stairway and multiple chapels that house sculptures evoking the Passion of Christ. Bom Jesus do Monte was added as a cultural site to the Unesco World Heritage list in 2019.
There are so many interesting historical sites to see in Braga. Their weather is in the 50’s and plants and trees are beginning their Spring process. Braga is serious about their gardens and workers were out in force pruning and planting.
The Se Cathedral is a sprawling complex that consists of multiple architectural styles. Of course, each successive archbishop wanted his own legacy of style. The cathedral is the oldest in Portugal. The real beauty of this cathedral is the inside. The organ and the ceiling are a piece of art.
We also visited the Palacio do Raio with its beautiful tile work and matching colour scheme. This beauty was built in 1752 and rehabilitated in 2015. While it has served various functions over the years, it is now an interpretive center and open to the public.
Directions to Braga from Porto: We purchased a round trip ticket for €6.50 (€3.25 each way). The trip takes about 1 hour each way. You can check the train timetable from the Comboios de Portugal website.
Directions to Bom Jesus from Braga: We chose one bus to take us to the top as we wanted to walk down the hill and not up. Then, we picked up a return bus at the bottom. If you choose this method, you will have to walk into town and grab the Line 88 bus. It’s about a 15 minute ride to the top of Bom Jesus and it costs €2. Once you have walked down, Bus 2 will deliver you back to town for €1.65.
One Day Directions: If you are going to go to Braga and Bom Jesus in one day, then you can catch the Line 2 bus from the train station. The bus will cost €1.65 each way. You will be dropped off at the bottom and can walk up or take the funicular. This bus is operated by Transportes Urbanos de Braga. You will be departing from Avenida da Liberdade or the train station.
Food: We had lunch at Frigideiras da se. A set lunch was €7 pp and it included wine, bread, soup, main course and coffee. It was filling and quite good. Dinner was at Time To which was also very good. We had the charcuterie board and drinks for under €20. Both can be found on Trip Advisor.