9. Porto: Private Braga and Guimaraes Tour
Your tour will begin with your exploration of the first capital of Portugal, where you will discover the hill where a statue of D. Afonso Henriques (the first king of Portugal) and Guimaraes Castle, followed by the São Miguel Church and Paço dos Duques de Bragança (Bragança's House Palace). Last but not least, you will take a little time to taste a delicious Santa Clara’s Pastry.
Next up, it will be time to visit Braga, a modern city that is full of rich Roman and Medieval history. Commencing in the Cathedral (a monument from the 11th century), one of the main attractions is the cross which was used in the first mass service in Brazil. The Bom Jesus Elevator is the only water powered elevator in use in the world. Its construction is due to an idea by a 19th-century Bracaran businessman, and it was built by two well-known engineers of the time, Nikolaus Riggenbach and Raul Mesnier. Whilst here, you will be taught the mechanics behind this fascinating mechanism.
Next you will visit the Bom Jesus Sanctuar, which is composed of a staircase which represents the Via Sacra do Bom Jesus and that goes up to the church. The architectural complex also includes the Bom Jesus Park (a forest area), and some hotels which are surrounded by a lush forest.
You will then visit the Braga Cathedral. Even today, you will be able to observe the influences of various periods in time in its walls and facades, and in its predominantly Baroque interior. The main entrance and the side entrance enable the locals to use the cathedral to cut their way through their busy routines, and give the Sé an unusual, almost familiar charm that shows the grandeur of this space. The Cathedral continues to be a great symbol of Braga, surprising those who enter with its ceilings and organs of pipes. After your discovery of the cathedral, you will return to Porto.