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Boasting the title of Portugal’s oldest municipality, the thriving city of Braga merges the contemporary and the classic in a seamless melange; the multi-faceted metropolis is still emulating the prosperity of its Roman golden area with its rich array of architecture and cosmopolitan blend of culture. Baroque palaces neighbour crumbling Roman ruins while medieval palaces rub shoulders with timbered townhouses that have been converted into gourmet restaurants. This city is buzzing with life and a visit will leave you energised and inspired.
Braga’s iconic Cathedral is an architectural feast of Gothic grandeur and stone supremacy; the dramatic domes and captivating arches of the 12th century façade are one of the city’s most photogenic sights. The booming bell tower is decorated with sanctimonious statue of the Virgin Mary, and within the ornate interior lays the impressive tomb of the cathedral’s creator.
A stunning example of Baroque beauty is the Raio Palace, an arresting architectural vision famed for its delicate, filigreed façade manicured windows and gentle blue colourings. Inside, opulent fine-grained granite decorates the interior alongside affluent furnishings.
Echoes of the city’s prosperous golden era can be discovered within the Biscainhos Palace and Museum, a resplendent structure that reigns supreme in the city’s historical heart. Intricate interior designs and class art pieces decorate the walls of this regal residence, which also provides intriguing insight into the life of Portugal’s revered nobility.
Rich culinary traditions combine with the produce of lush green landscapes in Braga’s authentic cuisine; the elegance and culinary excellent of De Bouro Restaurant makes it one of Braga’s most popular. House specialities are irrefutably fish based, so sampling the cod au gratin and caldeirada, a traditional fish stew, are integral feats. (Rua Santo Antonio das Travessas 30-32, 4700-040 Braga)