"Bragança: The Star of the Northeast" Top 5 Page for this destination Bragança by global84

Bragança Travel Guide: 40 reviews and 96 photos

Bragança: An Introduction

Located in the northeastern corner of Portugal, Bragança is considered the "end of the world" even by many native Portuguese people. Having said that, the isolated position of the city has made the city more characters than the others, with a fantastic range of mountains and highlands surrounding this expanding city near the Spanish border. With the population of about 35,000, the city is undergoing an extensive urban expansion plan, mainly noted by the expanded IP4 that links the city to Vila Real, Amarante, Porto, and Spain, on one highway.

It is the main city in the Alto Trás-os-Montes region, best characterized by an endless array of wheatfields as well as characterful mountains along the Montesinho Mountains. Those who are familiar with the Portuguese history may be familiar with the House of Bragança. In fact, the city is its namesake, because it was 1640 when Duke of Bragança at that time became João II after Portugal regained its independence from Spain's Filipe II's 60-year colonized rule.

These days, the city attracts the visitors for various reasons. The first is its Citadel, the medieval castle with a village inside thath as been protected with a fine condition since the Middle Ages. Next, the oldest civil architecture in Portugal, Domus Municipalis, is also preserved in a perfect condition, which can be founded inside the Citadel. This used to be the town hall during the Roman period. Besides these two main points, the city has a great military museum (Museu Militar), and a regional museum which is currently under renovation, and has a great view of Rio Fervença, with a well-designed riverside park. In addition, the downtown offers a nice row of buildings and squares, perfect for taking a stroll.

Going to Bragança

It is not very easy to go to Bragança, as it is far away from every major city or town in Portugal. Going from Lisbon, the bus will be the best (and only) way unless you have your own car. Two different routes go there from Lisbon's Sete Rios terminal, one via Porto and the other via Viseu. Both routes take about 7 hours each way, but notice that there are many other stops on the way, so the ride will not be as boring since you will be able to enjoy changing views outside.

The service via Porto follows a "classic" A1 route until its terminal near Batalha Square, then take A4 to Amarante, then IP4 to Vila Real, Mirandela, Macedo do Cavaleiros, and Bragança. Winging roads along IP4 offers a great view of mountains and valleys, as well as well-organized farming areas on the higher elevation.

The route via Viseu offers a better view in my personal opinion. It is the route to Bragança after Viseu where you can see a pristine range of Serra da Estrela, a mountain-top town of Trancoso where the Jewish quarter used to be located, and the Pocinho Dam on Rio Douro which is the easternmost stop for the river cruise coming from Porto. From Pocinho, the road to Macedo to Cavaleiros can be nerveracking since the entire course is full of curves and narrow roads on mountains. But don't worry; the bus ride will not be so harsh as you will be rewarded by a fantastic view of a deep, deep valley of the region, dotted with farms and small villages. I recommend this route more than the first one, but note that the bus makes a stop at Viseu for about 30~45 minutes.

By car, the fastest way to go to Bragança from Lisbon on the finest roads is:

Lisbon - A1 -> Coimbra - IP3 -> Viseu - A24 -> Vila Real - IP4 -> Bragança

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Great history, well-preserved Citadel, beautiful riverside park
  • Cons:Isolated location
  • In a nutshell:Feel the royal legacy of Portugal here!
  • Last visit to Bragança: Jul 2006
  • Intro Updated Aug 8, 2006
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Reviews (5)

Comments (2)

  • Aug 9, 2006 at 1:33 AM

    Hey J! Great guide on Braganca, really makes me wish I was there haha..take care

  • ncfg's Profile Photo
    Aug 8, 2006 at 11:10 AM

    Nice tips and photos! I like Bragança too. Great job you are doing! Almost forgot ... Welcome to VT!

global84

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