The second day of our trip, we decided to visit Braga and Guimarães, which are two little towns/cities that lay close to each other and are a little one hour drive away from Porto. First, we went to Guimarães. Here, you can take a cable car to Monte da Penha, which they say has an amazing view and where you can visit a sanctuary. Unfortunately, that day, the cable car was out of service and the only way to visit the sanctuary and see the view, was by cable car or by car, but than we had to go back and forth so we decided to just go see the town. Still, if you can, take the cable car and go to the top. Anyway, once we went to the center of the town and entered ‘the village’, you had all this houses that looked like they came from the Middle Ages (I havn’t got really good pictures of it, because on every picture there was a stupid truck or tents and flags, probably for the World Cup match). This village/town isn’t really big, but if you walk further, there are many more elements/buildings (from the Middle Ages) that you can discover.
If you walk deeper into the city, you find the Castelo de Guimarães, which only did costs us € 4, for us both. Inside, you can walk alongside the castle walls or on the walls and even go in the big tower, that’s in the middle of the square. Here you can find some more information about the history of the castle. The castle isn’t really big and it’s a short walk, so I thought it wasn’t really that special, but it was nice.
There were also a few other things to do or buildings to see, but we choose not to. So if you want to visit Guimarães, you can still look some things up.
After that, before we went to Braga, we went to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sameiro.
When we got there, we noticed we were the only ones there. I didn’t know if that was because Portugal had to play during the World Cup or that there wern’t many visitors at that hour (we went around noon). Anyway, the whole place was amazing and really big. You had a little garden with nice courners and benches and stuff and you had the building itself, which was located on a huge scare and it was so beautiful. In the distance, you had this view, which was also beautiful. Inside, the Sanctuary was nice as well, but it didn’t had that ‘wow’ effect you got on the outside. I really, really liked this visit!
Then we got back in the car and drove to the lowest point of the Bom de Jesus. To get to the church of Bom Jesus do Monte, you had to climb a baroque staircaise, made of granite. Again, this was so beautiful and amazing! If you don’t want to climb the stairs, there’s also a cable car to bring you to the top, but I have to say, you kinda miss the feeling and experience if you don’t climb the stairs and actually it wasn’t that hard. Every level is decorated with symbolic fountains, each with a different theme.
Once you reach the top, you have a beautiful place with plants and trees. You have the church, which we didn’t visit, and some terraces where you could drink something and again, a nice view!
The city of Braga isn’t really big either, but you can visit the sé. Inside you can find a magnificent organ, fully decorated in gold. This is mainly the old center, but you also can find some more modern streets and shops and again, some more nice buildings and churches. By far, the sanctuary of Our Lady of Sameiro and the Bom Jesus with the stairs were one of my favorite places to visit, because they were so beautiful!