26 January 2012

Travel 101 ... Braga

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Travel 101 ... Braga

How to spend S$101 (you big spender, you) in a day

FOUNDED by Cesar Augustus around 16 BC, the third largest city in Portugal is nicknamed the "Rome of Portugal" for the magnificent splendor of its many baroque churches. But the Catholic capital of the Iberian Peninsula, as it is known, isn't just a hushed, musty old town. It brims with youthful energy and is a good indication why Braga has been named 2012 European Youth Capital - giving you all the more reason to swing by this captivating city. SERENE LIM

Breakfast at A Brasileira: S$8.22

Despite undergoing a facelift in 2009, A Brasileira (Largo Barao de Sao Martinho) has retained its authentic old school flavour. Breakfast starts as early as 9am at this spot conveniently located in the city centre. Pick up a strong brew of espresso and have a power brekkie.

City Tour of Braga: S$16.43

While you can trek on foot to see the 35 churches and many other historical buildings within Braga, an easier - and less strenuous - way is simply to join the Yellow Bus Tour (www.yellowbustours.com). It not only takes you around the city to all the biggest sights such as the Se Cathedral; the €10 ticket includes the price of a trip up the funicular of Bom Jesus do Monte, one of Portugal's most arresting attractions.

Late lunch at Restaurante A Ceia: S$41.08

A popular wine tavern, Restaurant A Ceia (Largo do Rechicho 331, Braga) serves hearty Portuguese fare as well as regional specialties like Alheira de Caça, garlicky sausage stuffed with chicken. Eat up a storm on €25 in this rustic atmospheric setting. Food's pretty affordable for its deliciously generous portions, which explains the crowd. Be sure to arrive early or much later.

Catch a performance at Theatro Circo de Braga: S$19.72

Immerse yourself in some culture inside of Portugal's most beautiful theatres. Theatre Circo de Braga (www.theatrocirco.com) reopened after much restoration in 2006. It's also Braga's most prestigious performing spaces and the acts here pretty much sell themselves. Tickets average about €12.

Party at Insolito: S$15.55

You'll know why Braga's a happening young city the moment you step inside Insolito (Avenida Central, 47). Students from the University of Mino dominate the dance floor as guest DJs spin. However, there's plenty of room to avoid the crushing young bodies, especially if you head to the outdoor terrace. Blow the rest of your dough here.

Total: S$101

Prices and conversion rates accurate as of press time