From the 26th of August to the 11th of September, in the Jardins do Palácio de Cristal , literature will be king in Porto: the Book Fair is back and has a cultural program that includes more than 100 activities. Moon & Sun Porto is the ideal hotel for anyone wanting to visit this Literary Festival.
Imagine and Act: the featured poetry
In the edition whose motto is “Imagining and Acting”, poetry will be highlighted. The sale of books in more than 120 pavilions is combined with a vast cultural program that, this year, has some new features, such as the Brazilian Poetry Cycle, which symbolically marks the celebration of the bicentennial of Brazil's independence.
The cultural program includes 22 Concerts, 11 Conversations, 9 Lessons, 4 Cinema Sessions, 5 Breathed Word Sessions and 46 Children and Youth Activities, activities that spread across the Palácio de Cristal Gardens, Almeida Garrett Municipal Library, Casa do Roseiral and Extensão do Romantismo.
How to get to the Porto Book Fair from Hotel Moon & Sun Porto?
The central location of Hotel Moon & Sun Porto allows you to easily reach all parts of the city on foot, by public transport or, if you prefer, by car.
We suggest that you make your way to the Book Fair on foot to enjoy the city of Porto . The journey takes about 10 minutes.
If you want to get to the Book Fair quickly, another option is to use public transport. The city of Porto has several bus lines available so you can easily move around Invicta. The nearest stop is Carmo - it is a 2-minute walk from Hotel Moon & Sun Porto.
Whatever your option, the Hotel Moon & Sun Porto team is fully available to help you. Don't hesitate – visit the Porto Book Fair, lose yourself in its charms and stay in one of the best hotels in the city!
As the oldest city in Portugal, Braga is full of peculiar expressions and myths that you will certainly enjoy discovering.
1) "You're from Braga, you leave the door open..."
When someone forgets to close the doors, it is usually said that the person is from Braga. Several versions of the legend run through the streets of the city, the best known being the fact that the people of Braga built walls in the region without any doors.
It is said that these walls only began to receive doors under the order of Archbishop Diogo de Sousa in the early 16th century. However, the well-known Porta Nova, which had the objective of creating a commercial area at the end of Rua Nova, never got a door due to the fact that the war was already over and the city extended outside these walls, thus becoming an exception before the other seven gates of the city.
Another myth related to the expression highlights the community spirit of the people of Braga, where everyone knows each other and do not worry about closing doors, which is still the case today in some Minho lands.
Take the opportunity to visit Arco da Porta Nova, just a 7-minute walk from Hotel Moon & Sun Braga.
2) Bom Jesus and its various legends
The Sanctuary of Bom Jesus de Braga, also known as the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte, is one of the greatest national monuments and carries a lot of history, just a 12-minute drive from Hotel Moon & Sun Braga.
One of its legends dates back to the 14th century, related to the appearance of an open-air Cross after the Battle of Salado, near Serra do Carvalho. After this phenomenon, the archbishop and people from Braga went to the place and raised the Cross, where they later built a small Chapel. In this way, a local devotion to the Holy Cross was spontaneously born.
Another myth is related to the appearance of a Chalice in the 17th century, during the time of the restoration of independence. According to popular legend, a chalice appeared on Mount Espinho, causing the people of Braga to unite and flock to the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus, as a sign of gratitude and protection of the monument. Even today, many attribute the success of Portugal's Independence to this divine intervention.
3) S. Longuinhos and the Festivities of São João
The old local legend tells the story of a rich farmer called Longuinhos, a young single man, demure and esteemed by all. He lived close to Bom Jesus and was liked by the girls of the city, who considered him a great catch.
However, the boy was in love with a young woman named Rosinha who, upon learning of her future marriage to Longuinhos, began to pray, appealing to São João in desperation because of her passion for another young man in the city.
It is believed that Saint John addressed the farmer, arguing that he should not destroy the happiness of two young people in love, causing the engagement to end abruptly.
Therefore, during the São João festivities, the popular custom remains around the statue of São Longuinhos, accessible within a 16-minute drive from Hotel Moon & Sun Braga . At that time, many girls go to the monument to say prayers and thus try to hasten their marriages.
From wicker lamps to the perfume of chestnuts and vanilla, you will get to know the most emblematic and unique stores in the city of Braga.
1. Boneca Boutique : Self-love is the message that this clothing store wants to leave to all its customers. A 7-minute walk from the Hotel Moon & Sun Braga , you will find clothes with a wide range of sizes, so that all women can try on and feel confident with their body.
2. Bracara Wine : There is no better way to get to know Portugal than by tasting its wine and, just 10 minutes from Hotel Moon & Sun Braga , you have at your disposal several categories of grape varieties to choose from. You will also find different bottles of Sparkling Wine, Gin's and Brandies, as well as typical Portuguese olive oil.
3. Urdi Concept Store : Founded 17 years ago, this basketry craft shop, with a modern design line, is located an 8-minute walk from Moon & Sun Braga . It aims to preserve Portuguese tradition and art, through the typical wicker baskets raised to unique lamps, while getting to known other national brands such as Castelbel, specialized in perfumed items.
4. Yntenzo : In the perfumery theme, Yntenzo appears, distinguished by its handcrafted perfumes that allow customers to develop their exclusive aroma, also available in the form of hygiene products and air fresheners. The brand also stands out for its references to Portugal (such as, for example, the typical tiles and Portuguese pavement) and for its cruelty-free and eco-friendly practices. And the best part is that it's just 2 minutes away from Hotel Moon & Sun Braga.
5. Hundredth Page : 5 minutes from Hotel Moon & Sun Braga , you will find the "bookshop to be in" where you can take the opportunity to buy a book from your wish list and enjoy a tasty cake and coffee in the garden provided by the space. The independent bookshop also hosts exhibitions, debates, concerts, and much more.
Braga’s “White Night” is a cultural event that takes place on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of September 2022.
This event is free and has a vast program that includes concerts, entertainment, activities in museums, parties, theater, dance, special decorations in the space, among others. It is traditional for people to wear a white piece of clothing on the White Night, to live up to the name of the event.
The city's museums and cultural spaces are open at night and there are several stages scattered throughout the city centre.
Despite being one of the most celebrated popular saints across Europe, no city celebrates São João like Porto, in a popular demonstration that draws crowds to the streets, infecting each of the city's neighborhoods and parishes, enthusing everyone who participates or discovers this party for the first time.
Due to its unique and special characteristics, but also to the ever-increasing quality and diversity of its programming, the Festas de São João became one of the city's anchor events and an inseparable brand of Porto, reinforcing its presence in the international tourist scene, namely due to this strong association with unique and differentiating events of the Porto destination.
From the youngest to the oldest, everyone celebrates São João and there are many traditions associated with this day: from launching hot air balloons, hitting passers-by with hammers on the heads, smearing leeks on people's faces, jumping over the bonfires, offer basil named "manjericos" with traditional courts or watch the fireworks over the Douro river, where everyone gathers at midnight to enjoy the show with the best view over the city.
As tradition dictates, sardines are grilled in any corner of the city and there is music and dancers everywhere to liven up the night.
The party only ends at dawn and the most resistant end the night walking along the waterfront, from Ribeira to Foz do Douro, where they wait for sunrise.
From body oils to 80s vinyls, this tour features a variety of must-see stores in the undefeated city.
1. Benamôr: Go down to Rua das Flores, just a 9-minute walk from Moon & Sun Porto, and discover the famous cosmetics shop Benamôr, whose relaxing atmosphere is reminiscent of old pharmacy facilities. You will also have the opportunity to try the various ranges of hygiene and beauty products first-hand: all you have to do is freely use the iconic marble washbasins positioned in the central area of the store.
2. Mon Père: Known as Camden Town in a small way, Mon Père stands out for the colorful tones that fill the second-hand clothing store. A 3-minute walk from Hotel Moon & Sun Porto will take you to typical 80's coats, bold sunglasses and jeans of all shapes and sizes.
3. Almada 13: This former hardware store gives life to a modern fashion space, where you can find the next birthday gift for your irreverent friend, from unique prints to personalized tote bags. The shop is just a 5-minute walk from Hotel Moon & Sun Porto.
4. Ó Gallery: Countless illustrations fill the space that, in addition to being an art gallery, sells original works by young local and international artists. Walk 5 minutes from Hotel Moon & Sun Porto and be dazzled by the works of Angela Dalinger and Maria Imaginário in the most artistic street in the city.
5. Louie Louie: As soon as you leave the Hotel Moon & Sun Porto, turn right and follow the music to Louie Louie, the oldest record store in the city. There you will find albums for all age groups, from CDs of hip-hop hits to classic jazz vinyls.
Culture, nature and gluttony: we created a perfect plan by one of our favorite triads so that you can fully enjoy this autumn season and enjoy the best that Braga and Minho have to offer.
Theatre, concert, conversations: In autumn, Theatro Circo has it all!
Whether watching a play or a concert, Theatro Circo has a rich cultural program for the autumn months. The season gets off to a great start with an interpretation of Shakespeare's best-known work – Hamlet –, which takes the stage on September 24th.
- Walking distance from Hotel Moon & Sun Braga: 3 minutes
- Theatro Circo Cultural Program: www.theatrocirco.com
Autumn painted Gerês is a delight for nature lovers
If you are a nature lover, a visit to the Gerês National Park is a must. To see and feel the changes of season in Portugal, there is no place like Mata de Albergaria, in the Peneda-Gerês National Park. With autumn, the colors of the season paint the blanket of trees that are there in brown, red and gold.
- Driving distance Hotel Moon & Sun Braga: 1 hour
For those with a sweet tooth: roasted chestnuts to warm the soul
There's no mistaking it: with the arrival of autumn, sellers of roasted chestnuts appear throughout the city of Braga, spreading the characteristic smell of this delicacy. If you enjoy this delicacy, go to Praça da República and buy a cartux of chestnuts – they really are “Hot and Good”.
- Walking distance from Hotel Moon & Sun Braga: 1 minute
Architecture tours: Monastery of Tibães is a mandatory stop
The Monastery of Tibães is one of the oldest buildings in the city of Braga. Its origin dates back to the end of the distant 10th Century and beginning of the 11th Century. Being an excellent example of Portuguese religious architecture, the Monastery of Tibães plays a fundamental role in the national culture, having functioned as a training center for architects, carvers, gilders, imaginaries and sculptors, many of them active players in the construction of buildings erected in the 17th century.
Visits from Tuesday to Sunday: 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
- Driving distance to Hotel Moon & Sun Braga: 12 minutes
The International Festival of Photography and Visual Arts is back in Braga
'Common Places' — 'Common Places' — is the theme chosen for the 32nd edition of Encontros da Imagem – International Festival of Photography and Visual Arts, which will take place between September 16 and October 30, 2022.
Cinema cycles, exhibitions, conversations, projections and much more will fill the most emblematic spaces in the city of Braga. A cultural tour not to be missed.
Known as the most prestigious cultural space in the city of Braga, Theatro Circo hosts great shows, just a 4-minute walk from Hotel Moon & Sun Braga.
In 1906, a group of people from Braga led by the then mayor (Artur José Soares, together with José António Veloso and Cândido Martins), idealized Theatro Circo thanks to the great theatrical development that was being witnessed. The project was in charge of the architect Moura Coutinho, raising part of the space occupied by the old Convento dos Remédios and organizing the main room in taburnos for an easy adaptation to different types of shows, from theater and opera to cinema and contemporary dance.
The first premiere took place in 1915, with the operetta La Reginetta delle Rose (The Queen of the Roses) by the company “Éden Teatro de Lisboa”, followed by a great period of local and international artistic revelations, such as the emblematic opera by Madame Butterfly and the premieres by the Braga Symphony Orchestra. It was only in 1930 that Theatro Circo dedicated itself to showing renowned films, even hosting propaganda actions during the Estado Novo dictatorship.
After the Carnation Revolution, the new movie theaters and the rise of television caused some decline in the then traditional arts. However, the restored space continues to carry an architectural beauty and an unusual grandeur in each show it receives, thus being a great historical landmark of the city and a target of attention from all its visitors. Don't miss the opportunity to watch a play or a musical show at Theatro Circo during your stay at Moon & Sun Braga.
Lights, chestnuts and sunsets: Autumn is here and we have prepared a complete guide so that you can discover all the charms (and hiding places) of the undefeated city:
1. Explore the labyrinth of Jardim dos Sentimentos (Jardins do Palácio de Cristal)
Portrayed as one of the places not to be missed in the city of Porto, the gardens of the Palácio de Cristal have one of the best views over the Douro River, precisely in Jardim dos Sentimentos. From its highest point, it is possible to visualize a maze-like design, surrounded by animal life and nature, where the iconic 7 California palm trees stand out.
- Route tip from Moon & Sun Porto: catch a ride on Tram 18 at Carmo station, just a 3-minute walk from the hotel.
- Visits available every day: 8:00 am - 9:00 pm
2. Eat the best roasted chestnuts in Praça Almeida Garrett (next to São Bento Station)
In addition to receiving hundreds of travelers and tourists every day, São Bento Station, as a famous monument in the north of the country, gains a special charm at this time of the year. With the arrival of the cold, the season for roasted chestnuts also arrives, which can (and should) be tasted right outside the door of the building filled with emblematic tile panels.
- Walking distance from Moon & Sun Porto: 8 minutes
3. Attend a candlelight music show at Ateneu Comercial do Porto (near Coliseu do Porto)
Until the 29th of October, Ateneu Comercial do Porto will host several Candlelight concerts, intimate and multisensory musical experiences that combine perfectly with the emblematic and artistic architecture of the space. Enjoy the candlelit evenings that are still available: from the Jazz Divas to the soundtracks of the best classics from the world of animation.
Walking distance from Moon & Sun Porto: 8 minutes
Cultural Program of Ateneu Comercial do Porto: https://ateneucomercialporto.pt/
4. Be dazzled by immersive exhibitions at Alfândega do Porto
The Congress Center in the historic center of Porto is home to multiple virtual and immersive shows, from stories of the city's urban myths to the artistic universe of Michelangelo and Da Vinci. These 3D exhibitions allow you to revisit the most iconic works of art through a sensorial and innovative experience. The exhibition “Porto Legends – The Underground Experience” is permanently at Alfândega do Porto, narrated by Pedro Abrunhosa and Jeremy Irons.
Walking distance from Moon & Sun Porto: 14 minutes
More information and tickets on the official website: https://www.porto.immersivus.com/
5. Take a blanket to watch the sunset at Miradouro das Virtudes
Known as one of the best places to enjoy the city of Porto, or simply to enjoy a glass of wine in its gardens, this viewpoint provides a great experience for all Porto residents and tourists, especially in the late afternoon. Take the opportunity to take a look at the Fonte das Virtudes, see the terraces that go down to São Pedro de Miragaia and have a complete perspective of the Douro river reflecting the golden autumn sunset.
Walking distance from Hotel Moon & Sun Porto: 8 minutes
From ghosts to Porto-style Guts, we are going to tell you some of the iconic legends that represent this city in northern Portugal.
1) The Ghost of S. Bento
8 minutes away from Hotel Moon & Sun Porto, São Bento Station represents a great historical symbol of the city and a daily passage for hundreds of visitors. However, what many are unaware of is the history of this building, which was once known as the Convent of São Bento da Avé Maria.
Legend has it that, around 1834, the extinction of all religious orders was determined. In that decree, it was mentioned that religious orders where only women were housed (as would be the case of this Convent), should be extinguished upon the death of the last resident nun.
Therefore, it was only in 1892 that the construction of a railway station was considered on the site, when the last nun died. Therein resides the myth of the ghost of S. Bento, due to this “stubborn” sister and religious believer. It is said that, during the nights, it is possible to hear their prayers through the corridors of the station.
2) The Mystery of Port Wine
Around 1679, a vessel left the undefeated city for London, with barrels of port wine. Unfortunately, that same vessel was attacked by a French consortium that, in an attempt to save it, changed its route.
They ended up resupplying in São João da Terra Nova and only continued their journey the following spring, to avoid the severe winter they were experiencing. Surprisingly, this stay in the region made the wine acquire a pleasant aroma and flavor, making it recognized worldwide and consequently aged in the region until today.
Come and taste the best drink in the region directly at Hotel Moon & Sun Porto.
3) The Origin of the Porto-style Guts and the “Tripeiros”
Legend has it that the nickname “Tripeiros” derives from the sacrifice made by the population of Porto in 1415 in support of Infante D. Henrique, offering food to his ships that left for Ceuta, leaving only his remains, known as “the tripas” (guts).
Another legend related to this delicacy was born during the time of the Suevi, who began their expansion after the fall of the Roman Empire and made Porto their main city. As guts were part of their diet, it became a local gastronomic dish, again demonstrating a sign of resilience of Porto citizens.
We recommend that you try this traditional dish from the city of Porto at Casa Correia, a 7-minute walk from Hotel Moon & Sun Porto.
Did you know that Braga has a set of trails, so you can explore the greener side of the city? We have highlighted the best routes to take on your next trip to Braga.
Trail “Senda dos Galos”
This nature-filled route will take you through the parks of Ponte and Camélias, Fonte dos Galos and the Ecovia do Rio Este, to one of the most breathtaking spots in the city: Parque do Picoto and its wonderful viewpoint. Start exploring the fauna and flora of the city of Braga and venture out, just a 10-minute drive from Moon & Sun Braga .
Trail of the Bosques do Rio Este
As soon as the Este River reaches the end of the urban area of the city, it is possible to observe the extension of its banks in a natural environment. Make the most of a brighter day, take a 9-minute trip and discover all the riverside and bird species that will enchant you along the way to Tanque de Cales.
Trail of the Two Mountains
If you want a quieter route, where you can escape the hustle and bustle of the city, the ideal is to start your walk at the Sports Complex of the Highway, 7 minutes away . From there, you can find traditional places like Nogueiró and Tenões and get to know all the traditional surroundings from the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus to Monte da Senhora da Consolação.
Great Route of Serra dos Picos
For the more adventurous, the most challenging path is between Sameiro and Serra dos Picos, the area with the highest average altitude in Braga. A 20-minute drive along roads surrounded by nature to the Sanctuary of Sameiro, and you will quickly be walking between mountain ranges, valleys and places with significant heritage value. The route promises tranquility and communion until the Moinhos da Ribeira de Provências.
The long awaited Christmas season has begun and with it come the fantastic Christmas markets that fill the undefeated city with light and joy. Don't miss the opportunity to make a shopping list of everything you need for this festivity!
1. Porto Christmas Fair (December 1-24)
Right in the heart of the city, 900 meters from Moon & Sun Porto (specifically in Praça da Batalha), you will find the largest Christmas fair in Porto. With more than 20 exhibitors, you have access to a wide range of books, clothing and toys for all ages. Take the opportunity to also listen to all the musical shows and participate in the workshops available throughout this month.
2. Christmas Design Market (December 1-19)
This Christmas, the gardens of Palácio de Cristal will host the Christmas Design Market, which promises a new approach to the Christmas atmosphere. In a 15-minute walk from Moon & Sun Porto, you will arrive at the cute stalls filled with sweets, drinks and souvenirs from this Christmas season. Admission is free and the market will be open from 11 am to 8 pm from Wednesday to Sunday.
3. Porto Christmas Village (16-18 December)
The first covered Christmas market has already arrived at Alfândega do Porto and, with a 17-minute walk from Moon & Sun Porto, you will be dazzled by this Christmas village. The space has an ice rink, a toy factory and virtual reality games, as well as the characteristic Christmas market with souvenirs for all tastes and even a Wine Bar with paid entrance.
4. Artesanatus Market (December 1-23)
The emblematic bubble-shaped market is already on display at Praça D. João I, an 8-minute walk from Moon & Sun Porto. Inside this bubble, you can explore all the handicraft stalls that display the beautiful pieces typical of the time and from the different regions of Portugal, ideal for acquiring a small souvenir of the undefeated city.
Porto is known as an undefeated city thanks to its invincible people and pioneers in discovering the unknown, leaving a trail of great heritage value in every street. Explore the city's historic landmarks.
Clérigos Church and Tower
It is unthinkable to visit Porto without visiting one of the most emblematic buildings in the North of Portugal. With more than 70 meters and 240 steps, the Clérigos Tower offers one of the best views of the city. Moon & Sun Porto, a 5-minute walk from the Tower, has a rooftop with a privileged view of the National Monument.
Stock Exchange Palace
At a distance of 12 minutes from the hotel, you will find the Palácio da Bolsa, a building characterized by its wealth and elegance. Rebuilt under what was left of the fire at the Convent of San Francisco, the monument is full of interesting rooms and details, such as the Arab Room, whose aesthetics refer to the Alhambra Palace.
Despite having begun to be built in 1336, in the reign of D. Afonso IV, the monument was only completed in the time of D. Fernando, thus adopting his name. To this day, only two sections of the wall remain, known as the Guindais Section and the Caminho Novo Section. Visit this 14th-century landmark with a 14-minute ride away.
Chapel of Souls
In downtown Porto there is one of the most photographed buildings in the city, which attracts locals and tourists thanks to its blue tiles that cover it. The Capela de Santa Catarina, also known as Capela das Almas thanks to the Irmandade das Almas e Chagas, is just 13 minutes away from Moon & Sun Porto, where you can see the art of Eduardo Leite.
With the arrival of the most colorful season of the year, the city of Braga is filled with different flowers and people gather in the various streets. Here are some activities you can (and should) do this spring.
1) Stroll through the Garden of Santa Bárbara
Known as one of the most photogenic places in the city, just a 2-minute walk from the Moon & Sun Braga, the Jardim de Santa Bárbara is a public area next to the medieval wing of the Paço Episcopal Bracarense which, especially during the spring, is filled with flowers of different colors and shapes. Right in its center, there is the statue of Santa Bárbara, a mythical figure who was painfully punished by her own father and who currently observes attentively the declarations of love, typically uttered in this natural space.
2) Discover the exhibitions available at GNRation
At a distance of 3 minutes from the hotel, there is the GNRation, an eclectic space that promotes artistic activities, from exhibitions to shows focused on the dissemination of digital arts and contemporary music. The architecture of the building itself proves to be one of the strengths that attracts any visitor to the modern and innovative space.
3) Relax at the Centésima Página Bookstore
Located inside a historic building of civil architecture from the 18th century, also known as Casa Rolão, is Livraria Centésima Página, an independent bookstore open to the public since 1999. In addition to selling books, the space features a cafeteria, a shop with national products and even a small garden where you can relax, thanks to the arrival of mild weather, and watch exhibitions, debates, concerts, workshops, children's entertainment, and much more. All these activities are available within a 5-minute drive.
4) Have a picnic in the Bom Jesus Sanctuary Gardens
With the arrival of this season's good weather, it is also time for picnics in the city's green spaces. One of the best places for this type of get-together is the Gardens of the Bom Jesus Sanctuary, which has one of the most breathtaking landscapes in the city of Braga. The gardens have several flowerbeds, fountains and benches where you can spend a good afternoon with family or friends. Moon & Sun Braga is a 14-minute drive from Bom Jesus, which turns out to be a pleasant route that will also take you to the caves with a dazzling abundance of flowers and vegetation and also to the viewpoint with an enchanting panoramic view of the whole city.
5) Watch the sunset from the Picoto Viewpoint
Immediately at the end of Avenida da Liberdade, an 8-minute drive away, Monte do Picoto stands out as one of the best sunset observation points in the city. The viewpoint was recently renovated and its 360º view is accessible both by car and on foot, where you can have the opportunity to spend a nice late afternoon admiring the landscape or simply having a pleasant conversation with friends.
Just a 3-minute walk from Hotel Moon & Sun Porto, you will find Livraria Lello, an internationally recognized space for its extraordinary architecture and which carries over a century of enchanting stories.
The opening of the bookshop dates back to 1869, when Ernesto Chardron headed to the city of Porto. After winning the lottery, the French publisher inaugurated the International Bookshop of his name, dedicated to the first publications of the great works of the important authors of Portuguese literature. However, it was only in 1881 that José Pinto de Sousa Lello dedicated this establishment exclusively to the trade and publishing of books, together with an art gallery and gathering space, thus causing a great impact on the cultural environment of the undefeated city.
To this day, Livraria Lello is one of the most emblematic neo-Gothic buildings in Porto. The space stands out in the urban landscape for its windows representing Art and Science painted by the Belgian artist Joseph Bielmann, for the busts of several national authors sculpted by Romão Júnior, for the large stained glass window in the skylight with the motto “Dignidade no Trabalho” (by the Dutch artist Van Krieken) and the huge staircase in its centre.
On your visit to Moon & Sun Porto, don't miss the opportunity to get to know deeply this international monument.
São João de Braga is the oldest São João festival in Portugal.
Born in 1150, the date on which a church dedicated to São João was founded in the city of Braga, it was throughout the 16th century that the festivities established themselves as one of the festivals of São João that involved the most people, especially in terms of spectators.
With activities where the profane merged with the religious, the Corrida do Porco Preto became one of the most important moments in the São João calendar in Braga, which was joined, in the 18th century, by masquerades and biblical dances.
Consolidated in history as the oldest São João celebration in Portugal, Braga lived, in the mid-19th century, two important and simultaneously coinciding pilgrimages: São João da Ponte and São João do Souto.
Increasingly attractive for the community of Braga, but also for outsiders, it is at the end of the 19th century that the city takes an important step towards the union of the two São João festivities, passing, in 1983, to be designated a festivities commission in charge of perpetuate the festivities of São João de Braga.
The festivals of São João de Braga ended up being confirmed as the biggest festivals in the city of Braga, thanks to the involvement of the City Council and the Commercial Association of the city, seeing the number of events, institutions, people involved and spectators increase year-on-year after year.
Fervent. Vibrant. Irreverent. With soul. With an accent. With color. With people. Porto. This very noble and always loyal city that gave its name to Portugal, saw its Historic Center classified as Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO , in 1996.
The urban fabric that makes up the historic center extends between the oldest parishes of Porto and Gaia and is testimony to the medieval origins of the city, constituting a unique example of an urban landscape endowed with identity, character and aesthetics.
It is here that monuments of undeniable historical value are erected, in an act of stubbornness and resistance. It is here that the pulse of life in Porto happens, in a city that it's history and future, it's tradition and irreverence.
And it is from this Porto of departure that we create a brief route through the Historic Center, so that you can fall in love with the Invicta City as much as we do…
Carlos Alberto square
Just a few steps away from Moon & Sun Hotel Porto, you will find Praça Carlos Alberto – one of the ex-libris of the city.
The square owes its name to the homonymous Italian king, who, dethroned from the throne in 1849, chose Porto to live, precisely in the Palacete de Viscondes de Balsemão, in the middle of Praça Carlos Alberto.
Currently, Carlos Alberto has many cafes, restaurants and shops, making it the ideal place to gain energy for the adventure that follows.
Rectory of the University of Porto
Head towards Praça de Gomes Teixeira and here you will find the fantastic building of the Rectory of the University of Porto, which is also part of the Museum of Natural History.
The neoclassical rectangular building was designed by Carlos Amarante and dates from 1807. Magnificent, right?
This staircase does not fool anyone: classified as a monument of Public Interest – and in the process of becoming a National Monument – Livraria Lello is one of the oldest bookstores in Porto.
The neo-Gothic façade, the emblematic stained glass window and the shelves full of books have attracted thousands of visitors. It's worth the visit!
Don't lose the rhythm and advance towards the Clérigos Tower. If you are full of energy and have enough breath, climb the steps and be amazed by the panoramic view of Porto. The perspective is slightly different from the Moon & Sun Rooftop view, so we think it's worth a try.
If you don't want to or can't go up, know that a multisensory perception station has been installed that simulates the experience of going up, being accessible and available to all visitors.
Avenida dos Aliados
Walk down Rua dos Clérigos towards Avenida dos Aliados and take a moment to appreciate the architectural beauty of Praça da Liberdade.
Considered by many to be the heart of the city, this is where you will find the Porto City Council building, the Banco de Portugal delegation, the Equestrian Statue of D. Pedro IV and the famous sculpture “Ardina”, by Manuel Dias.
The square also has several restaurants and luxury stores. If you want to buy a special gift, you can do it here.
São Bento Station
Point of departure and point of arrival, São Bento Station has established itself as one of the main monuments in Porto, being especially acclaimed for its tile panels. Of French influence, the railway station was designed by the Porto architect José Marques da Silva and was officially inaugurated on October 5th, 1916. A visit to its interior is a must!
The goal is to reach Ribeira do Porto to cross the D. Luís Bridge, so the ideal thing is to take one of the most beautiful pedestrian streets in the historic center: Rua das Flores. Parallel to the equally beautiful Rua Mouzinho Silveira, the renovated Rua das Flores has a wide range of shops, from bars, restaurants and traditional shops. Along this street you will find several street artists – musicians, painters or even photographers - so we advise you to enjoy the best that this area has to offer.
Stock Exchange Palace
Mandatory stop: even before reaching Ribeira, you will find the Palácio da Bolsa – National Monument, designed in 1842 so that the city's businessmen would have a place to meet. The famous Arab Room and Pátio das Nações are true works of art and deserve a visit. Absolutely magnificent!
If you still have enough energy, take advantage of the proximity and visit the Church of S. Francisco and the Ferreira Borges Market – they are historical monuments and are worth the visit.
D. Luís I Bridge
We are almost at the end of our route, but we still need to cross the D. Luís bridge. Shall we continue?
This magnificent metallic bridge that connects the cities of Porto and Gaia was built between 1881 and 1886, and aimed to replace the old suspension bridge that existed in the same place. It was designed by the Belgian engineer Théophile Sevring, who had previously collaborated with Gustave Eiffel, in the construction of the Bridge of D. Maria Pia.
Both decks that constitute it allow pedestrian crossing, so the path to follow to Jardim do Morro is your option... what we guarantee is that both views are wonderful.
Jardim do Morro
Now yes, we have reached the end of our script. Rest, sit on the lawn of Jardim do Morro and enjoy this breathtaking view to confirm what we said at the beginning of this journey: the historic center of Porto has an unparalleled urban landscape full of character and identity.
Jardim do Morro is located at the foot of Serra do Pilar, next to the upper deck of the D. Luís Bridge. It has a lake, a gazebo and a wide variety of plant species. An oasis with an unobstructed view of the magnificent city of Porto.
From late afternoons with breathtaking views, to guided tours in the open air, this spring there will be no shortage of activities to experience the city of Porto, just a short distance from Moon & Sun Porto!
1) Enjoy the view over the Douro River
Porto has privileged viewpoints where you can admire the sunset over the city, or enjoy a drink with friends. Jardim do Morro (a short 12-minute drive from the hotel ) and Jardim do Passeio das Virtudes (9 minutes away) are some of the most popular options, thanks to their relaxed atmosphere and access to stunning views over the Douro River.
2) Explore the Botanical Garden
The Porto Botanical Garden has been open to the public since 1951 and is one of the most beautiful natural spaces in the city. From Moon & Sun Porto, and a 9-minute drive away , you can enjoy the various exotic plants and even get to know Casa Anderson, named after the renowned poet Sophia de Mello Breyner Anderson. Currently, the space gives way to the Biodiversity Gallery of the Museum of Natural History and Science of the University of Porto.
3) Walk along the TreeTop Walk (Parque de Serralves)
Serralves Park, a 14-minute drive away , is recognized as one of the most popular cultural centers in the undefeated city. In addition to Casa Serralves and the Museum of Contemporary Art, the TreeTop Walk allows an impressive walk to immerse yourself in nature, on a walkway raised at the level of the treetops.
4) Visit Casa São Roque
As an art center and known as one of the most architectural and eclectic spaces in the city, Casa São Roque has become a recovered space where you can contemplate art and beauty, both in each room with furniture and preserved objects reminiscent of the 19th century , like the century-old camellias that color its gardens during the spring season. Find out more about this period home with a short 10-minute drive from the hotel.
5) Stroll through the Crystal Palace Gardens
Right in the center of the unbeaten city, a 14-minute walk away , are the eight hectares of magnificent gardens that characterize the surrounding area of the Palácio de Cristal. The panoramic view of the Douro River and the various fountains and statues allow for long and fascinating walks that are conducive to this colorful season of the year.