Located North of Porto, Bom Jesus Braga (Bom Jesus do Monte) is a sanctuary like no other in Portugal. His monumental baroque staircase is quite famous and photographed a lot because it offers visitors great perpectives. A place not to be missed and a great day trip from Porto. Let me who you around...
Info and Tips to plan your visit at the end of the article
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Braga Bom Jesus in Video
Let's start with a short video of my visit to the Sanctuary. You will see the Funicular ride, listen the the church's bells, discover the gardena and admire the staircase and its statues. I hope you'll enjoy it!
Why visit Bom Jesus Portugal?
In case the video is not enough. Let me tell you why Bom Jesus is a must-visit in Portugal. Here are a few facts about Bom Jesus do Monte :
- Its name means Good Jesus of the Mount.
- It is located on higher ground above Braga in a magnificent park
- The Old funicular is working with a Counterbalancing system using water
- The giant baroque stairway is 116m high
- There was already a chapel in the 14th century, but the current sanctuary dates back to the 18th century.
- The 3 fountains in the zigzag staircase represents the3 theological Virtues: Faith, Hope and Charity
- The Church has been elevated to a Minor Basilica
- From the church you have great views of the region.
- It is a fantastic play ground for photographers with contrasts and geometrical shapes 🙂
Below is the famous zigzag staircase of the Sacred way, what do you think?
And here is the view, not bad!
Access via Bom Jesus Funicular
How to get to Bom Jesus Braga
The Sanctuary of Bom Jesus is only 50min drive from Porto and 10 min drive from Braga. It is located on the outskirt of Braga.
Is is easy to access and there is a large parking at the bottom.
If you are spending a few days in Porto and do not want to rent a car, you can book an excursions from Porto. It takes you to Braga, Bom Jesus and the Unesco site of Guimaraes - a fantastic day! Check out Program and Book
How to get up to Bom Jesus Church
As you will see in the section after, the traditional way of getting up to the church is via the stairs, the sacred way.
However is climbing 575 stairs is bad for your knees, you can take the funicular.
Just to the left of the entrance is a smaller parking lot with the access.
It costs 2€ return or 1.10€ one way.
The ride up the hill runs every 1 0minutes and does not take long.
Construction started in 1880 as designed by Raul Mesnier du Ponsard. And it was such a success that he was asked to design more in Lisbon. It uses 2 tracks and each cabin can transport 30 people.
Each cabin has a water tank that function as counterweight. At the top of the hill, the reservoir is filled with water to make the cabin descend. Both cars arrive at their stops simultaneously.
Leanrn more about its history and engineering here.
Note that if you take the funicular you reach the level of the church. To see the perspective on the staircase you will have to either walk down and back up 250 steps or walk down the complete 575 steps back to the parking lot.
Access with stairs to Bom Jesus do Monte
However the sacred way to reach the church is via the stair case.
I counted a total of 575 steps.
There are 2 sections. Here is the first one that leads to the bottom of the zigzag baroque stairway.
This first part of the climb is very enjoyable as you are walking under the trees alternating flat path and stairs.
On the way you can see chapels dedicated to the Sacred way. If you look inside you will see that they are decorated with terra cotta sculptures depicting the Passion of the Christ.
Interior of Church of Bom Jesus do Monte
And here is the church as the top.
Its style is Baroque. It is not that big and the real attraction is the staircase.
However I recommend waiting a little big at the top to hear the bell rings. It is quite nice.
Inside, the design from the 19th century is quite elegant. As you will see below in the photos the main altar is dedicated to the Crucifixion.
This location, along with many other beautiful places, is included in my eBook: The Road Trip Guide - Portugal.
It is a practical tool to plan your trip with maps, photos, planning tips, GPS coordinates...
Gardens and Statues
Before heading down the stairs, you can enjoy beautiful gardens. You can also go explore some trails in the sense forest; They will take you to artificial lakes and grottoes.
Take the time to admire the many statues around the garden and staircases. They are all looking towards the fantastic view of Braga and its surrounding Hills.
It is facing towards the West, and on a very clear day you can see the ocean.
Famous Staircase of Bom Jesus Braga Portugal
And now I am sharing about the best part of the Sanctuary, the zigzag staircase of the Viae Crucis, the Sacred way.
It is composed of 2 sections.
The Top one has 3 fountains for the 3 Virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. In the picture below you can see the alignement of the 3 fountains.
The bottom part of the zigzag staircase represents the 5 senses and is even more impressive because of the perspective of 5 levels.
And here is a photo from the bottom of the zigzag stairway (still have 325 steps to clim down in order to reach the parking lot.
PLANNING TIPS - Bom Jesus Braga
TIPS FOR TRAVEL PLANNING ADDICTS
How to get to Braga Bom Jesus
- Porto to Bom Jesus Braga - 50min drive
- Braga center to Bom Jesus Parking lot - 10 min drive
- Guimaraes to Bom Jesus - 30 min drive
- Organized excursion option - You can also visit it on a day trip from Porto. It is combined with Braga and the Unesco Town of Guimaraes. Check out Program and Book
Visiting Bom Jesus Braga
- Bom Jesus Braga opening hours - Funicular: 8am to 8pm
- Bom Jesus Braga entrance fee - free access - 2€ for funicular return trip
- If you have bad knees, I recommend taking the funicular one way and the staircase the other way depending
- 250 steps from the church to the bottom of the zigzag staircase
- 575 steps total from the church to the parking lot
- Toilets at the parking lot and near the church (small fee)
Where to stay in Braga & Bom Jesus
- AT BOM JESUS - You can stay at Hotel do Parque Braga (referred to as the Bom Jesus Hotel) in a prime location in the Bom Jesus Park with panoramic views. The hotel has beautiful design and a great restaurant. Check out Photos and Book
- B&B BRAGA CENTER - The Domus 26 B&B is very central to Braga allowing you to walk everywhere in the old city. Large rooms, helpful staff and tasty breakfast. What more do you want? Check out photos and book
- GUESTHOUSE BRAGA CENTER - The Old City Guesthouse is so charming with beautiful furniture and a great atmosphere. They even have a family Suite that sleeps 5! Check out photos and book
- AMAZING FLAT WITH VIEW - Found this great flat located at the top of the old city. A fantastic place to stay and admire sunset every evening 🙂 - Check out the penthouse and book
Want to see more of PORTUGAL?
Impressive Staircase, don't you think?
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