Cultural visits

EsproMinho is located in Minho region.

Braga and Viana do Castelo are the main cities and capitals of the Minho region.

Braga has always been an important centre for culture, commerce and religion. The Romans dedicated it to their Emperor and called it Bracara Augusta, making it their Galician head-quarters in 216 BC.

In the 12th century, it became the seat of Portugal’s archbishops, and the country’s religious capital.
Braga is a large city with much to see:  the magnificent Sé cathedral which was begun in the 12th century, making it one of the oldest in southern Europe.

The star attraction of Braga is the religious sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte, located high on a forested slope 6 km east of the city. At the top of a great pilgrims’ stairway stands an impressive church from where visitors can enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.  An old funicular provides an alternative method and in many ways more appealing of reaching the top.

Viana do Castelo, located in the sea-side, boasts an extended history with vestiges of human habitation dating back as far as the Stone Age.

It became one of the busiest ports in Portugal, becoming closely linked with the Age of Portuguse Discoveries.

Viana was later granted city status in 1847 by Queen Maria II as a reward for the loyalty of the Commander of the Castle.
In the centre of town, Praça da República  is one of the most handsome squares in the whole of Portugal.

Reached by road or more interestingly by funicular railway, the Monte de Santa Luzia vantage point 3 km from the centre of town offers exceptional views of Viana do Castelo as well as long stretches of the Minho coastline. At the top is a basilica completed in 1926, a pousada hotel and traces of a Celtiberian settlement nearby.

Close Braga or Viana do Castelo you have the amazing city of Porto. the gracious capital of the north of Portugal’s second-largest city and a thriving industrial hub, successfully blending commercial efficiency with an atmosphere of unpretentious charm.

Without doubt one of Europe’s most astonishing cityscapes, Porto’s old quarter, with its thick flagstones and delicately-moulded façades, is attracting a fast-growing number of culture-hungry tourists.

Today, this gracious capital of the north is Portugal’s second-largest city and a thriving industrial hub, successfully blending commercial efficiency with an atmosphere of unpretentious charm.

UNESCO was so impressed with its patrimonial importance that it classified this part of downtown Porto as a World Heritage Site since  in 1996, stating that the city’s ‘historic centre, built along the hillsides overlooking the mouth of the River Douro, forms an exceptional urban landscape with a thousand-year history’.
Nearby, the magnificent stock exchange building known as the Palácio da Bolsa is also worth seeing for its grand neo-classical façade and exquisite Arab Hall, a fine imitation of the great hall of the Alhambra in neighbouring Spain.

Raise a glass to them when visiting the Porto win lodges on the south side of the River Douro, many of which are centuries old and bear some of the most famous names in wine-making, such as Taylor’s, Grahams, Cockburns , Croft and Sandeman.

Meanwhile, we are close the beautiful beach of Esposende (20 kms of Braga or Viana do Castelo) and also very close the spanish and amazing province of Galiza in Spain.