On the morning of your tour, your private guide and driver will pick you up from your hotel in Porto to start the hour-long journey to Braga, one of the most important religious cities in Portugal. You begin your time by visiting Bom Jesus, a cathedral sitting high above the city. Visible from everywhere in Braga, this imposing pilgrimage site is reached by a series of steep, ornamental Baroque staircases, which pilgrims were encouraged to climb on their knees.
Rather than climbing all the way to the top, you’ll take the water-operated funicular to the church at the summit of the hill. Once you’ve had some time to look around, you’ll walk down the ornamental steps, which are lined with statues and fountains representing the Stations of the Cross and the five senses.
After your time at Bom Jesus, you’ll continue into the heart of Braga, a labyrinth of narrow lanes and small plazas. You’ll stop to visit the cathedral, Portugal’s oldest, and explore the Garden of Santa Barbara, as your guide tells stories of the medieval bishop of Braga and his unquestionable power and influence. You also have some free time to wander about and find a quiet spot for lunch before continuing on to your next stop.
From Braga, you’ll drive half an hour to Guimarães, the birthplace of Portugal’s first king, Afonso Henriques. A city that’s beautiful in its simplicity, Guimarães is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a network of cobbled streets and plazas weaving around grand cathedrals.
Your guide will take you to the highest hill, where you’ll see the city’s ruined castles as well as a palace used by the Dukes of Bragança in the first half of the 15th century. Then you’ll have time to meander through the city’s well-preserved lanes, which are flanked by 14th-century buildings, churches, shops and cafes.
Afterwards, you return to your hotel in Porto with your driver and guide.