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Braga

Portugal’s third-largest city is an elegant town laced with ancient narrow lanes closed to vehicles, strewn with plazas and a splendid array of baroque churches. The constant chiming of bells is a reminder of Braga’s age-old devotion to the spiritual world. Its religious festivals – particularly the elaborately staged Semana Santa (Holy Week) – are famous throughout Portugal. But don’t come expecting piety alone: Braga’s upscale old centre is packed with lively cafes and trim boutiques, some excellent restaurants and low-key bars catering to students from the Universidade do Minho.

Just east of the city stands the magnificent, much-visited hillside church and sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte, one of Portugal's most iconic tourist attractions.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Braga.