Tue. Jul 16th, 2024

Welcome to Braga! Let’s discover 10 fun facts about Braga.

Situated in the verdant landscapes of northern Portugal, Braga beckons travelers with its enchanting blend of ancient charm and vibrant modernity. As one of the oldest cities in the country, Braga wears its rich history like a crown, boasting architectural wonders, cultural treasures, and a palpable sense of timelessness.

Step into Braga’s historic center, where marvellous streets lead you on a journey through the ages. Admire the intricate facades of Baroque churches and wander amidst Roman ruins that whisper tales of the city’s illustrious past. From the imposing Sé de Braga Cathedral to the grandeur of the Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary, each architectural marvel is a testament to Braga’s enduring legacy.

But Braga is more than just a museum of antiquities; it is a city pulsating with life and energy. Dive into the bustling markets, where the aroma of freshly baked bread mingles with the scent of blooming flowers. Join the locals in lively cafés and taverns, where conversations flow as freely as the wine.

Join us as we delve into 10 fun facts that illuminate the essence of this captivating destination.

Let’s discover 10 Fun facts

  1. Oldest City in Portugal: Braga is often referred to as the “Rome of Portugal” due to its ancient history and status as one of the oldest cities in the country.
  2. Religious Hub: Known as the “City of Archbishops,” Braga is a significant religious center with numerous churches, including the imposing Sé de Braga Cathedral.
  3. Festivals Galore: Braga hosts various festivals throughout the year, including the popular São João festival in June, featuring street parties, music, and traditional dancing.
  4. Historic Architecture: The city boasts a wealth of architectural marvels, from Roman ruins like the Fonte do Ídolo to Baroque masterpieces like the Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary.
  5. Green Spaces: Braga offers ample opportunities for outdoor activities, with parks such as Parque da Ponte and Parque da Rodovia providing serene settings for relaxation and recreation.
  6. Culinary Delights: Foodies will rejoice in Braga’s gastronomic scene, where traditional dishes like “rojões” (pork chunks) and “papas de sarrabulho” (pork stew) tantalize taste buds.
  7. Student City: With several universities and a vibrant student population, Braga has a lively atmosphere, especially in areas like the Bom Jesus and Gualtar neighborhoods.
  8. Roman Heritage: Remnants of Braga’s Roman past can be seen in sites like the Roman Baths of Maximinus and the Archaeological Museum of Braga.
  9. Artistic Flair: Art lovers will appreciate Braga’s museums, such as the Biscainhos Museum showcasing decorative arts, and the Nogueira da Silva Museum featuring contemporary art.
  10. Picturesque Surroundings: Nestled amidst lush green hills and valleys, Braga offers stunning natural scenery, with nearby attractions like the Peneda-Gerês National Park and the Bom Jesus do Monte hill providing breathtaking views.

Festivities in Braga

Braga, Portugal, is a city steeped in rich cultural heritage and vibrant traditions. Throughout the year, the city comes alive with a myriad of festivals and celebrations that showcase its unique identity and spirit. Among the most notable are São João, Holy Week, and Braga Romana, each offering a distinct and unforgettable experience for locals and visitors alike.

Braga Romana: A Journey Back in Time

Braga Romana takes visitors on a journey back in time to explore the city’s ancient Roman roots. Held annually in May, this historical reenactment festival brings Braga’s Roman past to life through a series of immersive experiences and activities. Visitors can witness thrilling gladiatorial battles, marvel at vibrant Roman street performances, and explore reconstructed Roman camps and settlements. From authentic culinary delights to interactive workshops and exhibitions, Braga Romana offers a fascinating glimpse into the daily life and culture of ancient Rome, captivating audiences of all ages with its rich historical heritage.

Here’s some information about the festival and what you can expect:

  1. Celebration of Roman Heritage: Braga Romana is a vibrant celebration that transports visitors back in time to ancient Roman civilization. It showcases Braga’s rich Roman heritage, highlighting its importance as a significant Roman settlement in Portugal.
  2. Dates and Duration: The festival typically takes place in May, spanning several days. Exact dates may vary from year to year, so it’s advisable to check the official event schedule closer to the time. This is the link: https://bragaromana.cm-braga.pt/
  3. Historical Reenactments: One of the highlights of Braga Romana is the historical reenactments that bring the Roman era to life. Visitors can witness colorful parades, theatrical performances, and demonstrations of ancient Roman customs and traditions.
  4. Street Performances and Entertainment: Throughout the festival, the streets of Braga come alive with various performances and entertainment inspired by Roman culture. Expect to encounter street musicians, dancers, and actors portraying characters from ancient times.
  5. Crafts and Workshops: Braga Romana offers opportunities to engage in hands-on activities and workshops where visitors can learn about ancient crafts and skills. From pottery and weaving to Roman culinary techniques, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
  6. Market and Gastronomy: A bustling Roman-themed market is set up during the festival, offering a wide array of goods and products inspired by the ancient world. Visitors can sample traditional Roman cuisine and delicacies at food stalls and taverns scattered throughout the city.
  7. Educational Exhibitions: The festival often features educational exhibitions and displays showcasing artifacts, archaeological finds, and historical information about Braga’s Roman past. These exhibitions provide valuable insights into the city’s history and cultural heritage.
  8. Family-Friendly Activities: Braga Romana is a family-friendly event with activities and attractions suitable for all ages. Children can participate in interactive games, treasure hunts, and educational tours designed especially for young visitors.
  9. Cultural Performances: From classical music concerts to theatrical performances and dance shows, the festival offers a diverse program of cultural events that celebrate Braga’s Roman roots.
  10. Spectacular Night Events: As the sun sets, the festival atmosphere transforms with spectacular nighttime events, including illuminated processions, fireworks displays, and themed parties that evoke the magic of ancient Rome under the stars.

Braga, Portugal, Named Europe's Next Emerging City

Holy Week: A Time of Reflection and Reverence

Holy Week, leading up to Easter Sunday, is a time of solemn reflection and religious observance in Braga. Throughout the week, the city’s churches and cathedrals host a series of religious processions and ceremonies that commemorate the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Visitors are invited to join in these solemn rituals, experiencing the deeply rooted faith and reverence of the local community. From the stirring sounds of liturgical chants to the awe-inspiring beauty of the elaborate processional floats, Holy Week in Braga is a moving and unforgettable spiritual journey.

Here’s all the information about Holy Week in Braga and what you can expect during this time:

  1. Dates: Holy Week typically occurs during the week leading up to Easter Sunday, with the exact dates varying each year based on the lunar calendar. It usually begins with Palm Sunday and culminates with Easter Sunday.
  2. Religious Processions: One of the most prominent features of Holy Week in Braga is the staging of religious processions. These processions, organized by local churches and brotherhoods, involve elaborate displays of religious imagery and symbols, including statues of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, and saints. Participants, often dressed in traditional attire, march through the streets carrying these statues in solemn processionals.
  3. Palm Sunday: Holy Week commences with Palm Sunday, commemorating Jesus Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. In Braga, Palm Sunday is celebrated with special church services and processions where worshippers carry palm branches, symbolizing Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem.
  4. Holy Thursday: Holy Thursday, also known as Maundy Thursday, marks the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with his disciples. In Braga, churches hold solemn Masses and services, including the ritual washing of feet, symbolizing humility and service.
  5. Good Friday: Good Friday is a day of solemn reflection and mourning, commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. In Braga, churches hold somber ceremonies, including the Stations of the Cross and the veneration of the Cross. Many communities also stage reenactments of the Passion of Christ, with dramatic processions depicting key moments from the biblical narrative.
  6. Easter Vigil: Holy Saturday, or Easter Eve, is marked by the Easter Vigil, a liturgical celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. In Braga, churches hold candlelit vigils and midnight Masses, symbolizing the transition from darkness to light and the triumph of life over death.
  7. Easter Sunday: Easter Sunday is the culmination of Holy Week, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In Braga, churches hold joyful Masses and services, with special emphasis on the Easter message of hope and renewal. Families gather for festive meals and exchange Easter greetings, often accompanied by traditional Portuguese dishes and sweets.
  8. Cultural Events: In addition to religious observances, Holy Week in Braga may feature various cultural events and activities, including concerts, exhibitions, and performances showcasing local art and traditions. Visitors can immerse themselves in the rich cultural heritage of the region while experiencing the solemnity and spirituality of Holy Week.


Discover Braga: 10 Fun Facts That Will Amaze You

São João: A Night of Revelry and Joy

São João, celebrated on the night of June 23rd, is a colorful and exuberant festival that marks the feast day of St. John the Baptist. The streets of Braga come alive with music, dancing, and the irresistible aroma of traditional street food. Locals don traditional costumes, adding to the festive atmosphere as they gather to sing and dance until the early hours of the morning. The highlight of São João is the spectacular fireworks display that lights up the night sky, casting a magical glow over the city and filling the hearts of all who witness it with joy and wonder.

Here’s all the information about São João and what you can expect when you are in Braga during this festive occasion:

  1. Date: São João is celebrated on the night of June 23rd, leading into June 24th, which is the feast day of St. John the Baptist, a significant figure in Christian tradition.
  2. Religious Significance: São João has both religious and pagan roots. While it originated as a Christian feast day honoring St. John the Baptist, it also coincides with the summer solstice, an important pagan celebration of the sun and the onset of summer.
  3. Street Festivities: São João in Braga is marked by lively street festivities that extend throughout the city. The streets come alive with music, dancing, and revelry as locals and visitors join in the celebrations.
  4. Traditional Costumes: During São João, many people don traditional costumes, adding to the festive atmosphere. Expect to see men wearing straw hats and colorful vests, while women may don traditional dresses adorned with floral patterns.
  5. Street Food: One of the highlights of São João is the abundance of street food stalls offering traditional Portuguese delicacies. Indulge in grilled sardines, caldo verde (a hearty soup), bifanas (pork sandwiches), and various sweets like churros and bolos de São João (St. John’s cakes).
  6. Singing and Dancing: Music is an integral part of São João celebrations in Braga. Expect to hear traditional Portuguese folk music, including lively tunes played on traditional instruments like guitars and accordions. Locals often gather in squares and streets to sing and dance the night away.
  7. Fireworks: São João culminates in a spectacular fireworks display illuminating the night sky. The fireworks add to the festive ambiance and are enjoyed by people of all ages.
  8. The Hammer Dance: One of the unique traditions associated with São João is the “dança do martelo” or hammer dance. Participants hold wooden hammers and rhythmically tap them on the ground while dancing in a circle, creating a lively and rhythmic spectacle.
  9. Basilica of São João do Souto: The Basilica of São João do Souto, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, is a focal point for religious observances during São João. Visitors can attend special Masses and religious processions held at the basilica.
  10. Community Spirit: São João is a time of community spirit and camaraderie, with people from all walks of life coming together to celebrate. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, you’ll be welcomed with open arms and invited to join in the festivities.


Whether you’re seeking a night of revelry and joy, a time of solemn reflection and reverence, or a journey back in time to ancient Rome, Braga offers a wealth of cultural experiences that will leave a lasting impression. From the vibrant celebrations of São João to the spiritual solemnity of Holy Week and the immersive historical reenactments of Braga Romana, each festival invites you to embrace the spirit of Braga and immerse yourself in its rich tapestry of traditions and heritage. Come, join us, and experience the magic of Braga firsthand.

Discover Braga: 10 Fun Facts That Will Amaze You

Exploring Braga: Unveiling the Wonders with Explorial

As we conclude our journey through the fascinating city of Braga, we’ve uncovered a treasure trove of fun facts and hidden gems that showcase the city’s rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning landscapes. From its ancient Roman roots to its modern-day charm, Braga captivates visitors with its unique blend of tradition and innovation.

But exploring Braga is more than just discovering its landmarks and attractions—it’s about immersing yourself in its stories, traditions, and local flavors. That’s where Explorial comes in. With its innovative self-guided tour app, Explorial offers an exciting alternative for visitors to experience Braga at their own pace and on their own terms.

Imagine embarking on a journey through Braga’s winding streets, guided by clues and challenges that lead you to hidden treasures and overlooked wonders. With Explorial, every corner becomes an opportunity for discovery, every landmark a chapter in Braga’s storied past.

Whether you’re exploring the ancient ruins of Braga Romana, marveling at the stunning architecture of Bom Jesus do Monte, or indulging in the culinary delights of local markets, Explorial enhances your experience, offering insights and stories that bring the city to life in new and unexpected ways.

So, as you plan your next adventure to Braga, why not take the road less traveled with Explorial? With its interactive features, engaging content, and flexible itinerary options, Explorial promises to make your visit to Braga an unforgettable journey filled with excitement, discovery, and endless possibilities. Download the app, unlock the secrets of Braga, and embark on the adventure of a lifetime. The wonders of Braga await—are you ready to explore?

Source: https://explorial.com/

By Lala