Braga as one of the oldest cities in Portugal holds a mystical and mysterious energy around the historical parts of the city. With its graceful but dark narrow streets that lead you to plazas and impressive baroque churches, Braga’s beautiful old center is packed with many buzzing cafes, small family-owned shops, incredible restaurants and discrete bars.
Because of Braga’s importance and prestige, the city’s atmosphere is filled with youthful vibrancy which has brought this ancient city an unexpected modernity!
Let’s find out what makes Braga so special and it’s quickly becoming a hot spot for many Portuguese people and expats alike!
Situated in the heart of Minho region, Braga is located in a transitional region between the east and west: between mountains, forests, grand valleys, plains and fields, constructing natural spaces, molded by human intervention.
Braga offers accessibility to a lot of major cities in the North. In a quick 45 minute drive Southwest, you’ll be in Porto, a 20 minute drive Southeast will land you in the beautiful city of Guimarães. Póvoa de Varzim, Esposende and other coastal cities are around 30 minute drive.
Of course, if you want to visit one of the most beautiful National Parks, Peneda-Gerês, in the world, you can easily do so in Braga as it is only around 40km away.
Claiming to be one of the oldest cities in Portugal is in itself a feat, considering the country’s ancient history.
Once named “Bracara Augusta” (founded by Emperor Augustus), Braga was built more than 2000 years ago and was located on one of the main Roman roads in the Iberian Peninsula. It was later set as the capital of the Roman province of the present-day Galicia.
The Braga Diocese is the oldest in Portugal and, in the Middle Ages, the city even competed with Santiago de Compostela in power and importance. One of the Camiños de Santiago passed through here, when this pilgrimage cult grew with the Christian reconquest and the foundation of Portugal. It was in 1089 that the first Cathedral of Portugal was built.
Braga has an incredible and extensive interesting history worth exploring! Testament for that are the numerous churches, buildings, museums, etc you can explore:
Some of them worth noting are the Cathedral Sé de Braga, an ancient gothic cathedral; the Bom Jesus do Monte, a sacred pilgrimage church situated on top of a hill reached by an imposing and beautiful stairway; Praça da República, situated right in the heart of the city; and many many more fascinating sights.
Braga is the fastest growing city and the biggest tech hub in the country, so naturally it is becoming an employment hotspot for international businesses and professionals. It’s also in Braga where the biggest nanotechnology lab in Europe is situated, with over hundred million invested here.
So, as expected, most job opportunities are centered around the Technology and Engineering sector, with some of the most well-renowned companies worldwide settling in Braga.
For this reason, you will find a great community of expats and digital nomads living here and it keeps expanding quite fast.
Braga comes alive not just because of the exciting work opportunities here but also because of the University of Minho, in which its main campus is located in the city. The campus of Portugal’s oldest private university (Universidade Católica Portuguesa) can also be found here.
In terms of the city itself, it’s truly one of the most beautiful ones in Portugal. Lots of historical buildings in the center, lots of green spaces and nice parks where you can relax, while at the same time you are able to find many modern buildings in the surroundings, if you like that cosmopolitan vibe as well.
If you are looking for a more quiet city, perhaps it’s best to consider Guimarães instead of Braga, since Braga is quickly becoming the third largest city in Portugal (following Lisbon and Porto).
REAL ESTATE MARKET IN BRAGA
Both the rental market and the selling market in Braga are very saturated and real estate isn’t being able to keep up. Although there is a lot of new construction being done in the city, there is still a lot more demand than offer, which becomes difficult for those who wish to find a rental or purchase property here.
Not to say that it is impossible to find good options, but it’s getting increasingly harder to find them at affordable prices, as listings are getting inflated very quickly.
It’s no secret that Braga is attracting exciting new people and businesses alike very fast. The real estate market was not truly prepared for this, so housing prices are a bit all over the place (much like in Guimarães). You can easily find modern construction for 1 million while at the same time finding a two/three bedroom apartment for 200k.
Unfortunately, there are still not many offers despite Braga’s popularity. Nonetheless, expect to find the prices of the current offer to increase as demand also increases exponentially along with inflation.
Ana Caramujo has traveled to Braga and we have a wonderful video all about this beautiful historical city 🏰 Check it out below 👀😸
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