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Discovering Guimarães: A Journey through Portugal's Birthplace

Updated: Sep 22, 2023

Guimarães is located in the district of Braga, Portugal. It’s in the North of Porto, around 52 km away. The town has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage since 2001. The town gives a real feel of how it's changed from a Medieval to a modern town, as it's still intact and well-preserved.

Things to do in Guimarães
Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Consolação e Santos Passos in Guimarães

Guimarães was a European Capital of Culture in 2012 and brought a lot of renovation and revival of the city. Your trip to Portugal is incomplete if you don't explore this city as "Portugal was Born Here"

Things to do in Guimarães
Guimarães, Portugal

How to reach Guimarães?

The town is highly accessible with public transport from Porto. There is a direct train from Porto Central Train Station (Sao Bento) that costs only 3.60.

If you are planning to come directly from the Porto Airport (Francisco Sá Carneiro), there is a direct shuttle bus to Guimarães called GET BUS, and it costs 8.

Are you looking for a discounted price to book your trip to Portugal? Click below and use the Code: PORTUGAL2023 and get a 8% discount if you Book by October 1st, 2023 (11:59 pm CET).

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Let's find out: Why should we visit Guimarães?


Guimarães is known as the “Birthplace of Portuguese Nationality” or “The Cradle City” because the first king of Portugal, D. Afonso Henriques, was born here in 1110.

The battle of São Mamede, fought by Afonso against his own mother, is considered a foundation of the Kingdom of Portuguese. There’s a wall panel in the middle of the town where it’s written, “PORTUGAL WAS BORN HERE”.

Birth Place of Portugal
Monument of Portugal - Portugal was born here !!

Old town:

Guimarães has an amazing old town with traditional corner cafes, restaurants, and bars. The old town has narrow streets with traditional houses and their Moorish style small terraces.

Guimarães Old Town
Guimarães Old Town

It brings us back to medieval times. The old town is always full of people from all age groups. Every turn of the narrow streets amazes the visitors with beautiful architecture.

The restaurants serve typical Portuguese food like Francesinha and Codfish. You have to try it !!

Traditional Portuguese Food
Traditional Portuguese Food

Castle of Guimarães:

The castle is located in the North of Guimarães, and it's the birthplace of Afonso Henrique. It's on a small hill which is surrounded by a small park. There’s a large rock on the South of the tower with a bronze medallion of D. Afonso Henriques.

You can also visit the castle from inside. The ticket is only 2 for students. The castle has amazing Medieval Architecture with stairs that take to the towers of the castle. They have renovated the castle stairs with a wooden case in order to make them safer for visitors. But now, the cost of the ticket might be changed.

Castle of Guimaraes, Portugal
Castle of Guimaraes, Portugal

You can enjoy the best view of the city from there. There’s also a museum inside the castle which has tremendous information about the history and culture of Guimarães and Portugal. There's a staircase which is taken into different corridors of the Museum.

Be careful about the timings as It closes at 6:00 PM.

Palace of the Dukes of Braganza:

The Palace of Dukes of Braganza is located next to Guimarães Castle. It's a medieval style of the palace and the former residence of the Dukes of Braganza. It's a Rectangular Palace with 4 towers and surrounded by greenery. There are different walkways that take to the other side.

Things to do in Guimarães, Portugal
Palace of the Dukes of Braganza, Guimarães

You can also visit the castle by buying a ticket. Be careful about the timing as It closes at 6:00 PM.

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Igreja de Sao Miguel do Castelo:

The church is located in proximity to the castle of Guimarães. This was the place where Afonso Henriques was baptized.

Largo da Oliveira and Padrão do Salado:

It got its name from the Old Olive tree on this same site. It's a perfect spot for pictures with a background of houses and traditional terraces. There is a Gothic Shrine on the eastern side as a monument of the Battle of Salado between Portuguese and Castilian against the Moorish army.

Guimarães Old Town
Padrão do Salado, Guimarães, Portugal

The square has many restaurants, cafés, and bars. It's one of the most happening squares in the evening and night.

Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira:

The church is located behind Largo da Oliveira. It's a very simple Gothic church with three naves and three sections. There are different walkways leading into narrow streets, and highly recommended to explore all of these streets as they have plenty of Guimarães history.

Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Consolacão e Santosa Passos:

The church has located in the main square of Guimarães. The church was constructed in 1785 as a Baroque church. The church has an amazing interior and exterior. It has a rectangular wonder garden called Campi da Feira infront of it.

Churches in Guimarães, Portugal
Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Consolação e Santos Passos in Guimarães

It has beautiful and colorful flowers and making it a perfect photogenic spot for the tourists. It also has connecting roads and street that takes to the old town, Castle of Guimarães, Serra da Penha and other areas of the town.

Things to do in Guimarães, Portugal
Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Consolação e Santos Passos in Guimarães

Serra da Penha:

Serra da Penha is just 2 km away in South East of Guimarães. It's a 600 meters high Granite mountain. It's easily accessible by car. If you love hiking, it's perfect for you to hike the mountain.

But we would highly suggest taking the Teleférico (Cable Car) to go up to the hill and highly recommend to do hiking on the mountain when you come back.

That's what we did on my way back, and you will love it as you will pass through a lush green forest, and later on, you can experience the new residential colonies in Guimarães . The ticket Teleférico is 3 for one way and 5 for a round trip. But now, the cost of the ticket might be changed.

Cable car in Guimarães, Portugal
Teleférico in Guimarães, Portugal

The view from the Teleférico, when it was going up, is something beyond words. The top of the mountain is the best spot to view the town of Guimarães. It's just breathtaking and an ideal spot to spend some time with nature. It's one of the most picturesque in Guimarães.

Best View of Guimarães
View of Guimarães from Serra da Penha

The surrounding is full of greenery and lush trees. There are large stones covered with algae that have enhanced the beauty of the spot. There are also leisure facilities like horse riding and mini golf.

Activities to do in Guimarães, Portugal
Serra da Penha Guimarães

Sanctuary of Penha:

It's located on Penha Mountain. It's a symbol of faith in Guimarães. It's a unique example of the religious architecture of Marques da Silva. If you have an interest in history and culture, it's a must-visit the place.

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Things to do in Guimarães, Portugal
Sanctuary of Penha, Guimarães

Alberto Sampaio Museum:

The Museum was located in the heart of the old historical center and It was founded in 1928. The museum came into being to keep the art and objects belonging to the Church of Nossa Senhora da Oliveira and other churches in Guimarães. It has great collections of sculptures and statues made from limestone and wood.


There are many local shopping brands in the old town for shopping as we are shopping freaks. There’s also a mall called Shopping Guimarães, which has all the International shopping chains.

Shopping in Portugal
Shopping in Guimarães


Despite the fact that Guimarães is a small town but it has amazing and Wild Nightlife. It has amazing bars and cafés in the old town with a lot of surprising and traditional Portuguese drinks.

Ending Note:

Citânia de Briteiros is around 15 km away from Guimarães. It has remains of the Iron Age and was constructed between the 1st and 2nd century B.C.

Braga is the third largest urban city in Portugal and is located 25 km away from Guimarães. It has great historical importance. If you have a great interest in history, it's must visit the place.

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