Braga

Located in the north-western interior of Portugal, away from the Atlantic Ocean, is the city and municipality of Braga.  The city population of Braga of 181,000 people is the fourth-largest city in Portugal, and is home to the third largest metropolitan area of that nation.

Braga holds the distinction of being Portugal’s first city, and some of the best maintained architectural gems throughout the centuries are likely within walking distance of anywhere in the Old Part of town.  The oldest monument still in existence in Braga is the Fountain of the Idol.  The fountain contains images representing Lusitanian Gods, carved into a granite rock surrounding a spring.  The fountain was discovered in 1594 by early Portuguese explorers.  To protect the monument, the fountain has been enclosed by another structure, which also serves as an education centre.  Other fascinating attractions in Braga include:

Braga Castle:  All that remains of this 13th century castle is the defence tower and parts of the castle wall.  Braga Castle dominated the city landscape until 1906, when most of the castle was destroyed.  To ensure the last of the castle is preserved, the remaining sections of the castle were declared a national monument in 1910.

Raio Palace:  Built in 1754, this palace is features Baroque style influences leading the way for Rococo (post-Baroque) architecture.

Arco da Porta Nova:  this Baroque style arch served as a gate into the “new” part of Braga.  The arch, first built in 1373, was completely reconstructed and completed in 1772, and now serves as a welcoming sign to Braga to all travellers.

Braga enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate, although summers are much hotter thanks to its interior position versus coastal towns.  Summers in Braga exceed 28 degrees Celsius on frequent occasions, with night-time low temperatures of a mild 14 degrees.  January high temperatures reach 13 degrees Celsius, with lows reaching four degrees.

The nearest airport to Braga is 40 kilometres away from the city centre, in the city or Porto, at Francisco de Sa Carniero Airport.  To travel to and around Braga, you will want to consider car hire at Francisco de Sa Caniero Airport.

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