We have not actually been to Braga. We’ve heard good things about it, but our itinerary through Portugal required cutting some destinations to keep the trip manageable, and Braga did not make the cut.
There is, however, one point of interest on the outskirts of Braga that we considered a must to visit. We were not disappointed.
The sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte ♥♥♥ is an important pilgrimage site, in addition to being a superb specimen of religious architecture. The interior of the colorful church is highlighted by an unusual diorama-like altar. There was a lot of renovation going on during our visit, with half of the interior covered in scaffolding, but we could still appreciate the church’s beauty.
The knockout feature of the complex, though, is the magnificent staircase leading up to the church. From the lower parking area, there are 582 total steps to the church floor. There are statues and fountains on every landing, and meticulous symmetry of design on all stretches.
A funicular runs parallel to the stairway, so those less determined can make the way up without exertion, but be warned: service is limited. With a proper GPS assistance, you can also find a way to the parking close to the church, but then don’t skip walking down the stairs at least a bit.