Portugal set a record recently after welcoming over 30 million visitors in 2023, arguably making it the trendiest country in Europe.

From delightful cultural cities and stunning islands to lesser-known gems still making a name for themselves, travelers from all over the world are flocking to Portugal.

But Forget Lisbon and Porto — Portugal’s oldest city offers ancient wonders, a buzzing atmosphere, and incredible affordability.

There is so much to discover in Portugal; it’s hard to unpack it all. Yet, there is one city you should absolutely not skip on your next trip.

Easily reachable in multiple ways, a small city known as the ‘Rome of Portugal’ has been rocking tourists’ socks off.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was Braga.

But this city, although rather small, makes up for its size with phenomenal sites that are well worth a day trip to, at the very least.

Here is why you should visit the Rome of Portugal on your next trip to Europe’s trendiest country:

A New Base For Digital Nomads?

A Young Female Digital Nomad Working From Her Computer In An External Setting In Europe

Obviously, with a name like the ‘Rome of Portugal’, Braga has to be filled with rich history and awe-inspiring sites.

That’s a given, but the city’s high quality of life should draw in more digital nomads in a country that has become a major hub for the remote worker lifestyle.

According to a study coordinated by the European Commission, Braga is a top 10 city in Europe with the best quality of life.

Over 70,000 people were surveyed, and what stood out among the results was the fact that the city is considered to be one of the best for out-of-towners.

braga sign at historic cathedral

In fact, Braga finished third in that category making it an ideal place for digital nomads to make their base.

Plus, Portugal is well known for being very affordable to European standards, so nomads can live their best life in a charming city without stressing over bills.

So Long Batumi, Hello Braga

The last 5 years running, the coastal city of Batumi, Georgia has taken home the prize for the next emerging destination from the World Travel Awards.

blooming garden at Archbishops Court in braga

How a city emerges for 5 straight years is another question entirely, but now it’s Braga’s turn as they turned the page.

It’s easy to see why Braga is the next to ’emerge’, with one key reason being accessibility. Located just an hour from Porto, a day trip is more than a good idea.

Buses and trains are both under $20 and Portugal just so happens to have one of the cheapest unlimited train passes in Europe.

As Portugal’s wonders have become more mainstream, the secret is out on Porto, Faro, Lisbon and the stunning island of Madeira.

scenic view from Bom Jesus do Monte in braga portugal

Now, lesser-known gems in the country are ready to have the spotlight shined on them as millions upon millions of tourists visit each year.

What Makes Braga Rome-y?

When we think of Rome, the topic of historic sites and savory food instantly comes to mind and it’s no different for Braga…but maybe pass on spaghetti.

Perusing local streets will take you back in time with centuries old relics, marvels, and vibrant buildings oozing charm like the beautiful Palácio do Raio.

Palácio do Raio in braga portugal

This city of approximately 200,000 people is easy to navigate and will have you ‘oohing’ and ahhing’ throughout your trip.

How could it not? It’s the oldest city in Portugal and one of the oldest in the world, actually.

In existence for over 2000 years, cultural and religious traditions still hold true today, such as drawing over 100,000 attendees during Holy Week as one of the oldest Catholic cities.

It’s hard not to gasp in awe at some of the city’s ruins, like the Balneario Pre-Romano de Bracara, Torre do Postigo, and Domus Da Escola Velha Da Sé.

The Most Instagramable Site

female tourist in braga portugal

One of the most photographed churches in the world is both literally and figuratively picture-perfect. Just outside Braga is the incredible Santuário do Bom Jesus do Monte.

Not only is it a sight to behold, it’s fun to reach as you zig-zag the 577 steps to reach the top for even better views.

This gorgeous historical site is UNESCO-protected, as it should be. Travelers should be prepared to clear their camera roll when visiting Braga, but this church is by far the most popular for photo-ops.

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