Explore unique places
Bragança preserves a unique heritage in a compact and well-preserved historic center that is easily walkable. The worn stones bear witness to a troubled history, dating back to the Bronze Age, with the presence of Romans, Swabians and Visigoths, continuing battles that helped to establish the border lines and the strategic importance of the village.
The Torre de Menagem, from the 15th century, stands out in one of the most harmonious and well preserved castles in the country, which houses a monumental ensemble worthy of note for its originality. This is the case of the enigmatic Domus Municipalis, a building dating back to the sec. XIII and it is believed to have accumulated the functions of a cistern with that of a meeting place for the “good men” of the municipality. Next to it, stands the elegant Church of Santa Maria, whose baroque altarpiece-type façade translates the gilded woodwork of the altars into granite. Forming a singular union between very different eras, the medieval pillory is inlaid in a berrão, a zoomorphic statue that originated in castrejo peoples from protohistory.
Beyond the walls, the cobbled streets guide the traveler through a rosary of temples, including the Convent of S. Francisco, the churches of S. Vicente and Misericórdia, and the Cathedral, with a Renaissance cloister and sacristy worthy of attentive visit. The same route is filled with magnificent manor houses, built between the 16th and 17th centuries, which today house public institutions.
But monumental treasures are not limited to the heart of the city. Nearby are jewels such as the Monastery of Castro de Avelãs, whose circular plank covered in brick is a unique example in Portugal of the Romanesque-Mudejar style, or the majestic Basilica of Santo Cristo do Outeiro, the only example in the country located in a village , with a splendid interior in baroque carving and remarkable sacred painting.
Equally important is the cultural heritage preserved in the county’s villages, where ancestral traditions persist, in a peaceful rurality made up of community habits. This is how it is in Rio de Onor, a border village with strong community roots, Montesinho, a pleasant village of stone houses and schist roofs and, as is traditional in Trás-os-Montes, where there is always the open door of a smile for the receive.
Discover A Wonderful Kingdom
Few territories have such rich biodiversity as the Montesinho Natural Park, located on the outskirts of Bragança. With 80% of the mammals in Portugal, only here can you be surprised by a group of deer by the road, spot a roe deer feeding in an oak grove, discover signs of wild boar in a meadow or hear a wolf howling.
In the skies, the golden eagle, the black stork or the red-backed shrike are company with 160 species of birds, many of them equally rare, turning the region into a paradise for ornithologists.
The fabulous mosaic of landscapes, composed of rounded hills, the embedded valleys of the Sabor, Maçãs and Baceiro rivers, cornfields, marshes, extensive chestnut groves, holm oak forests and the largest patch of black oak in Europe, is traversed by numerous marked trails that allow pleasant walks or mountain biking in breathtakingly beautiful scenarios.
Bragança also has excellent conditions for the practice of road cycling/cycle tourism, on mountain roads and passing through unique landscapes and hospitable villages, where hospitality characterizes the inhabitants.
The Meseta Ibérica Biosphere Reserve, which covers the entire territory of Bragança and is the largest in Europe, deserves an attentive visit, enjoying the diversity of the landscape and the countless leisure activities that can be developed.
Joining villages, immersing themselves in dense groves or following the traces of water courses, there are paths traversed for many centuries, such as the Roman itinerary of Antonino and the Camino de Santiago – one of the stretches of the Via de la Plata passes through here, on a route which continues towards Ourense. The Carrazedo Biodiversity Station, in Serra da Nogueira, is a pleasant pedestrian route with an indication of the plants and animals that can be observed there, including some species of butterflies unique to Trás-os-Montes.
In addition to the geographic and climatic variety, which allows for the unusual coexistence of specimens from both the Mediterranean flora and colder environments, there is also the existence of serpentinites, ultrabasic rocks where botanical treasures endemic to Trás-os-Montes soils flourish. From a geological point of view, the rocks present in the Bragança massif also stand out, the oldest in the country, with around a billion years old.
Add to that the abundance of mushrooms, the sea of spring poppies, the morning quiet after a snowfall or the pleasure of a bath in the cool water lines on a hot afternoon.
A Wonderful Kingdom, any season of the year!