Exploring Porto is amazing but if you have time there are some great options for day trips to the surrounding areas too. Braga and Guimaraes are two places in Portugal which are definitely worth seeing, full of history and have some amazing things to see. Both are only around 1 hour from Porto and are perfect to combine for an interesting day trip from Porto. So here’s everything you need to know before a day trip to Braga and Guimaraes…
A Day Trip To Braga And Guimaraes
Morning | Guimaraes
How To Get From Porto To Guimaraes
The easiest way to get from Porto to Guimaraes is by train. The train leaves from São Bento Train Station in Porto and takes about 1 hour 10 minutes to get to Guimaraes. You can see the train timetable and ticket prices here.
Time: 1 hr 10 minutes
Cost: 3,15 €
Things To Do In Guimaraes
Arriving at Guimaraes Train Station, you will have about a 15 minute walk to get into the historic centre. As you get closer, you will see the city walls and find your way inside. Wander the beautiful cobblestone streets of Guimaraes to Largo da Oliveira Square. Explore the town or stop for a morning coffee or juice at one of the many cafes.
Next is Guimaraes Castle. I must say, the castle is quite small inside and basically just a shell. You can walk the walls and get beautiful views over Guimaraes so if you have the time it’s worthwhile, otherwise just have a look from outside.
Just in front of Guimaraes Castle is the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza, otherwise known as Paco dos Duques de Braganca or Ducal Palace. The Palace was my favourite thing to do in Guimaraes, the interiors were interesting and beautiful, and I love to imagine what it would have been like when people were living in it.
From here, you can walk to Guimaraes bus stop to get the bus to Braga.
Guimaraes Castle entrance fee: 2,00€
Palace of the Dukes of Braganza entrance fee: 5,00€
Combined Entrance fee: 6,00€
Afternoon | Braga
How To Get From Guimaraes To Braga
The Guimaraes to Braga bus is the easiest way to get between the two. Follow the Avenue Conde de Margaride until you reach a shopping centre. The bus stop is underneath the shopping centre and you can also buy your tickets here. The buses go fairly frequently, you can find the timetable here.
Things To Do In Braga
Braga is much bigger than Guimaraes, but I personally thought it was lacking some of the charm of Guimaraes. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy Braga, but that it was a bigger town that probably deserves more time to fully appreciate it.
You can get off the bus at the final stop, which is only a short walk to the centre of town. By this stage, we were definitely ready for lunch and went to Restaurante Cozhina da Se. We had what would seem like pretty simple dishes, but I have to say that we absolutely loved the food here. I had pork with apple puree and roasted chestnuts and Chris had grilled sea bass with vegetables. The way it was cooked and the flavours were delicious.
Braga is known for its many churches and cathedrals, one of the main ones being Se Cathedral or Braga Cathedral. Another one further out of town is Bom Jesus do Monte. I think if you’re going to do a day trip to Braga, going to Bom Jesus do Monte will definitely add something to your day.
One of the most impressive sights at Bom Jesus do Monte is the many many stairs that lead up to it, I believe it’s around 600. You can get a funicular instead, but if you want to see the stairs properly, I would suggest using the stairs at least one way.
Bom Jesus do Monte is free to enter, although there is a charge for the funicular if you decide to use it (€ 1.20 one way or € 2.00 two ways). Find more information here.
How To Get To Bom Jesus do Monte from Braga
From Braga, you need to take bus line 2 from Avenida da Liberdade, just before it intersects with R. 25 de Abril. The buses come frequently, and you can pay for your ticket when you get on. Bom Jesus do Monte is the last stop. You can also get this same bus back to Braga.
How To Get From Braga To Porto
The Braga to Porto train is the easiest way to get back to Porto. The train leaves from Braga train station and takes about 1 hour to get back to São Bento Train Station in Porto. You can see the train timetable and ticket prices here.
Time: 1 hr
Tips For Visiting Braga And Guimaraes
Braga and Guimaraes In One Day?
A Guimaraes and Braga day trip from Porto is entirely doable. You could spend a day in each if you had the time or if you want to go at a slower pace, but for us, doing both in one day was the right choice.
Seeing Braga and Guimaraes in one day was pretty tiring and takes a full day, but we were happier doing one full day, so we then had some more relaxing days back in Porto and could explore Porto fully.
Read More: 20 Incredible Things To Do In Porto Portugal
Braga vs Guimaraes
How to choose if you only want to spend your time visiting either Braga or Guimaraes? Both places are actually quite different so it would completely depend on what you want out of your trip.
Guimaraes has a small-town feel with a beautiful little old town and a few sights to see and explore. If you spent the entire day in Guimaraes you would also have time to visit Penha mountain.
Braga has a larger feel to it, and the sights are a little more spread out, with a bus trip required to see Bom Jesus. I personally preferred the time we spent in Guimaraes, but seeing the Bom Jesus near Braga was also a great experience.
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