Bragança is a city of 35,000 people (2011) in Trás-os-Montes. It is one of the oldest cities in Portugal. Domus Municipalis and the castle are the most famous monuments in this city. It is sometimes spelled Braganza in English, especially in reference to the royal family.
Bragança (bruh-GUHN-suh, /bɾɐ.ˈgɐ̃.sɐ/) is one of the oldest cities in Portugal. In the 2nd century BC, in the time of the Celts, it was called Brigantia. Later, the Romans called it Juliobriga. The Celtic name became Latinized as "Bragança".
Bragança has a temperate climate, with cold, long winters and hot, short summers.
- 1 Turismo de Bragança, Avenida Cidade de Zamora, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M–F 09:30–13:00 & 14:00–17:30, closed Sa Su. There is also an "interactive tourism store" at Rua Abílio Beça 104.
- 1 Estação Rodoviária de Bragança (Bragança bus station), Av. João da Cruz, ☏ . Located at the disused railway station.
Rede Expressos buses run from Braga, Porto, and other cities. Rodonorte provides bus service from many places in Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro and Douro Litoral . Twice a week there is a bus from Zamora in Spain - no web address so phone either bus station for details.
There has been no train service to Bragança since 1991.
- 2 Aeródromo de Bragança (Bragança Airport, BGC IATA), Baçal, ☏ . Air service to Bragança is provided by Sevenair from Cascais (CAT IATA), Portimão (PRM IATA), Vila Real (VRL IATA), and Viseu (VSE IATA).
Walking will be easy for most but it's possible to get a taxi up to the Cidadela for those who find the short but steep hill daunting.
The town is pleasing and there's a good museum in the main street.
- 1 Castelo de Bragança (Cidadela, Castle of Bragança), Rua Dom João V 62, ☏ . Tu–Su 09:00–12:00 &14:00–17:00, M Closed. Bragança's main claim to fame lies in the Cidadela (Castelo de Bragança), virtually a separate village above the town and one with a distinctly medieval flavour. There are four particular sights here.
- Torre de Menagem - the massive keep of a castle belonging to the Dukes of Bragança, the last Portuguese royal family, but not their principal residence, which was at Guimarães. The quadrangular tower is 34 metres high. The Military Museum is open inside.
- Domus Municipalis - a pentagonal lay building - probably an 11th-century council chamber. it is an interesting example of Romanesque civil architecture. According to Leite de Vasconcelos, it was built in the 12th century. It has already served as a cistern and was later adapted to city halls. It has a hexagonal plan and granite walls. It has a set of low-arch windows, which provide lighting to the building. Along the cornice, which is supported by 64 dogs, a gutter runs, designed to collect rainwater, then led to the cistern.
- A preaching cross rising from the back of a prehistoric pig outside the castle.
- Military Museum — Located in the keep of the castle, it has an important collection of armory, from the Middle Ages to the present day.
- 2 Mosteiro de Castro de Avelãs. This is what remains of the 12th century Benedictine monastery, unmistakable by its head, with an apse in red brick. It is a rare example of "clay architecture", being an exception to northern granite architecture. It has a simple interior, of which stands out the golden carving of the altars and an interesting pulpit, supported by three wooden angels. Next to the churchyard there is a quadrangular granite tower. Access is via the direction of Vinhais.
- 3 Museu Abade de Baçal, Rua Abílio Beça 27, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu–Su 10:00–12:30 & 14:00–18:00, closed M. It owes its name to Francisco Manuel Alves (1865-1947), a Trás-os-Montes researcher, appointed in 1889 as parish priest in the village of Baçal. It houses extensive collections of painting, furniture, religious art, ethnography and goldsmithing.
- 4 Centro de Ciência Viva, Rua do Beato Nicolao Dinis 35, ☏ . Tu–F 10:00–18:00, Sa Su 11:00–19:00, closed M. It aims to promote science among young people of all ages. Adults €2.50, students, youth cards, seniors >65 €1.50, children <=6, disabled €1.00, teachers €2.00, family €5.00.
- 5 Sé Velha de Bragança (Old Cathedral of the Holy Name of Jesus). Built on land belonging to the Benedictine Monastery of Castro de Avelãs and intended for the convent of Claras nuns. The roof of the church, of a single nave, is subdivided into three vaults with cross arches and corbels; the main altar features gilded wood carving in national style; the balustrade choir is from the 18th century. It deserves a close visit to the Sacristy, from the 17th century, for the beauty of the decoration, for the richness of the paintings on the paneled ceiling (narrating the life of Saint Ignatius) and for the paintings that flank the arch. The Cloister also deserves special attention.
- Montezinho National Park
- Riverside promenade - The riverside promenade, with wooden floors, on the edge of the river Fervença, is more than one kilometer long. You can continue walking to the castle, on a well visible and panoramic dirt path.
- Festa dos Rapazes - Around Christmas and New Year's Eve, in the villages that surround Bragança. The main element of the festivities is the Careto ou Chocalheiro, a male person covered with a wooden or tin mask and wearing colorful clothes, personification of primeval forces and to whom everything is temporarily allowed.
Local souvenirs/ceramics, wick baskets.
- 1 Casa Nostra, Rua Dr. Francisco Felgueiras 8–10, ☏ . M–Sa 12:00–14:30 & 19:00–22:30, closed Su. Italian restaurant whose motto is "happiness is pizza". Mid-range.
- 2 Solar Bragançano, Praça da Sé 34, ☏ . Tu–Su 12:00–15:00 & 18:00–22:00, closed M. Regional cooking specializing in game meat. Mid-range.
- 3 Tasca do Zé Tuga, Rua da Igreja 66, ☏ . Simple regional cooking by a chef who appeared on the Portuguese version of MasterChef. Awarded Michelin's Bib Gourmand for "good quality, good value cooking". €20-30.
- 4 G Pousada, Estrada do Turismo, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily 19:30–23:00. Michelin-starred contemporary Trás-os-Montes cuisine focused on local and regional ingredients. Both the restaurant's interior and its terrace offer great views of Bragança castle. €61-170.
- Local mineral waters
- Port (Douro) wine
- 1 Ibis Bragança Hotel, Avenida das Forças Armadas, Rotunda Lavrador Transmontano, ☏ , ✉ H3338@accor.com. Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 12:00. Three-star, 70-room hotel with restaurant, bar, and free Wi-Fi. €32-46.
- 2 Pousada Bragança (f/k/a Pousada São Bartolomeu), Estrada do Turismo, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Three-star, 28-room pousada with swimming pool, restaurant, bar, free Wi-Fi, and free parking. €83-145.