Nestled 556 meters / 1,825 ft above sea level, a few steps away from the famous Sanctuary of Bom Jesus, the Sanctuary of Sameiro is one of Portugal’s most emblematic place of pilgrimage. It is the 2nd largest sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary in the country after Fátima.
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👍 The Captain’s tip 👍
Want to know more about Braga’s history? Captain Ulysses warmly recommends this free tour of the city to visit Braga with a passionate guide. You’re free to choose how much you wish to tip the tour guide at the end of the tour!
Want to know more about Braga’s top landmarks & monuments? Be sure to check out the Captain’s Guide to Braga.
Short history of the Sanctuary of Sameiro in Braga
The construction of the Sanctuary of Sameiro (Santuário do Sameiro in Portuguese) began in 1863 at the request of the vicar of Braga, Father Martinho da Silva.
If the sanctuary originally only consisted of a statue of the Virgin Mary, it rapidly was enlarged during the 19th century with the construction of a chapel and then the basilica.
Every year, between the 1st Sunday of June and the last Sunday of August, crowds of pilgrims flock to Sameiro to pay tribute to the Virgin Mary.
In 1982, Pope John Paul II himself visited the Sanctuary of Sameiro. A statue of the pope commemorates this moment.
Visiting the Sanctuary of Sameiro in Braga
The Sanctuary of Sameiro is worth a visit more for the exceptional view it offers over the surroundings Braga than for its architecture.
The silver tabernacle and the statue of the Virgin Mary made in Rome in the 2nd half of the 19th century by the sculptor Eugenio Maccagnani are the only features worth mentioning.
Nestled 556 meters / 1825 ft above sea level, the Sanctuary of Sameiro enjoys a breathtaking view of the Minho Valley. In the basilica, a staircase leads to the top of the dome from where the view is particularly spectacular. But the view has to be earned: you’ll have to climb 265 steps before enjoying it!
📍Getting to the Sanctuary of Sameiro: the sanctuary is located next to Espinho, 4 kilometers / 2.5 miles from the center of Braga and less than 2 kilometers / 1.2 miles from the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus. The easiest way to get to the sanctuary is by car. If you didn’t come to Portugal with your own vehicle, Captain Ulysses strongly recommends that you rent one to freely explore the north of the country and the area around Porto. Find out more here.
⏱ Opening hours: in winter, Monday through Saturday from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm and Sunday from 6:30 am to 5:30 pm / in summer, Monday through Saturday from 7:30 am to 7 pm and Sunday from 6:30 am to 7 pm.
💵 Admission: admission is free but you’ll have to pay €2 to access the top of the dome.
👉 Find the perfect place to stay in Northern Portugal !
Looking for tips and recommendations? Here are all the Captain’s suggestions in Braga!
🛏️ Accommodation: to book your accommodation in Guimarães, Captain Ulysses warmly recommends Booking.com. From youth hostels to luxury boutique hotels: there’s plenty to choose from.
The Captain particularly recommends:
– hostels: inBraga Hostel / Fonte Branca Guest House – Sé
– budget hotels: Páteo de Janes / Old City Guest House
– mid-range hotels: Domus 26 Guesthouse / Hotel Moon & Sun Braga
– more exclusive hotels: Melia Braga Hotel & Spa / Burgus Tribute & Design Hotel
📍 Getting to Braga: To get to Braga, there are several options:
– the car (if you plan to rent a car in Portugal, Captain Ulysses can only recommend Rentalcars, on which you’ll be able to compare the offers of countless rental companies including Avis, Budget, Europcar, Sixt…)
– train or bus (several trips per day from Porto or Guimaraes)
– day tours (Captain Ulysses recommends this excursion to Braga and Guimarães from Porto)
🚌 Local transportation: Braga is a small city that is very easy to explore on foot. That said, if you can’t/won’t walk, you can also opt for the hop-on hop-off tourist bus tour.
✈️ Flights and trains: the closest airport to Braga is Porto. To book your flights, Captain Ulysses highly recommends Skyscanner. You’ll be able to compare countless offers to find the best deal. If your dates are flexible, you can also compare prices over several months to find the cheapest flights possible.