When we went to apply for Siddharth’s passport at USPS, the clerk at Post Office commented that she wants to save money to visit Portugal. And went on to tell us about the religious significance of the country. Until that time, visiting Bom Jesus do Monte in Braga was not in the agenda for us.
I must admit, I am not a religious person at all, but was I impressed with this sanctuary ? So much so that I highly recommend visiting either you are religious or not. Read on to learn why.
Bom Jesus do Monte in Braga
Braga, Portugal is home to the oldest cathedral in Portugal. A day trip will take you through the maze of narrow streets and Gothic churches, a quick turn will take you back onto modern shopping streets and grand baroque buildings.
Whether you are strolling through the streets of the town or just visiting Bom Jesus Braga, you will be greeted with the cacophony of different church bells ring-out, every hour. That’s how special this town is.
We happened to visit Bom Jesus in Braga during Easter weekend. What more can you ask for ? Entire town was dressed up for the festive weekend. Well groomed men and women were such a treat to the eyes, as we were just heading to Braga from Peneda Geres National Park, where we barely saw any human beings.
Almost everyone in the town had one agenda that day. visit Bom Jesus do Monte in Braga. The Sanctuary parking lot was nearly overflowing. We somehow managed to get a parking spot.
I must admit, driving up to Bom Jesus do Monte, was one of the scariest things I have done in Portugal. Well, we will San Francisco Bay area and we are not new to driving at narrow and steep uphills. But, these streets are a class of their own.
I was so freaked out that I decided not to drive and let my husband take care getting us up to the top.
Why visit Bom Jesus do Monte in Braga ?
History of this church dates back to 14th century. The current church was obviously built between 18th and 19th centuries. However, the early indication of his mountain temple goes back to 1300s.
Bom Jesus do Monte means Good Jesus of the Mount. This gorgeous Sanctuary is one of the several UNESCO sites in Portugal that are absolutely worth visiting.
Significance of the church is it’s Baroque emphasized by the zigzag stairways that are still climbed by foot or by knees by devotees.
If that’s not enough for you, I can guarantee that the view of the valley from the mountain is stunning enough to spend a few hours visiting the church.
How to get to Bom Jesus do Monte, Braga ?
Generally speaking, most people do a day trip from Porto to Braga. These two towns are connected by train.
We drove because we were on a road trip across Portugal and preferred the convenience, especially given that we were traveling with our 5-month old baby.
There are also religious tours and sight seeing tours operated from most major cities to visit Braga and Bom Jesus do Monte.
Once you reach the footsteps of the Sanctuary, you can either drive up, take the public bus or actually walk up the ~600 steps to reach the Church.
You will see both knee and foot walkers on the stairs. One thing to keep in mind is to be mindful of people and their religious significance as a tourist out there taking pictures.
Depending on the season, it can get really hot during the day to walk up the stairs. If it’s going to be a hot day, I recommend walking up early in the morning to avoid heat.
Bom Jesus do Monte funicular
To save your legs for the rest of the day, you can take a funicular ride down on the way back.
Or if you are not into walking up, another option is to take the funicular ride up. You can either make a round trip out of it or walk down. There are options.
For a round trip cost of about 2 Euros, this oldest elevator in the world is powered by water balance system. And is still fully function, serving 1000s of visitors everyday.
Once you reach the top, there are enough places to replenish your energy. In March 2018, there was an ice-cream shop, a cafe and a panoramic restaurant, bustling with business.
Where to stay near Bom Jesus do Monte, Braga ?
Right at the top of the mountain, next to the Sanctuary, there is a gorgeous 4-star hotel that caters to the needs of the pilgrims and visitors alike.
The hotel blends in with the architecture of the sanctuary so much that you will not feel like you are in a hotel after all. The holiness of the place is prevalent here. Check out Hotel Do Parque. As you stay at the hotel, you will get a splendid view of the beautiful park and the church, with traditional food served hot.
If the 4-star hotel is not in your budget, I understand. There are other options in the town of Braga I would highly recommend. After all, there are more than just Bom Jesus do Monte, to see in Braga. Check out other accommodation options here.
In summary, Bom Jesus do Monte in Braga is a great family destination for any age group. Whether it is for a religious reason or just to get a panoramic view of Braga from the mountain top with fresh crisp air scented with sacred holiness and historical significance. Visit Braga and Bom Jesus do Monte. You will not be disappointed.
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