Why would you visit Guimarães, Portugal?
Guimarães is located in district of Braga, Portugal. It’s in North of Porto around 52 km away. The town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage since 2001. The town gives a real feel how it's changed from Medieval to modern town. It's still intact and well-preserved. Guimarães was a European Capital of Culture in 2012 and brought to 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"
Exploring the City, where Portugal was born. Guimarães is a wanderlust and a must visit city.
How to reach to 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 Euro 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 Euro 8. Your's "Things to do in Portugal" is incomplete without adding Guimarães in it.
Why would I come to Guimarães?
PORTUGAL WAS BORN HERE
Guimarães is known as “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 as a foundation of Kingdom of Portuguese. There’s a wall panel in the middle of the town where it’s written “PORTUGAL WAS BORN HERE”.
Portugal was born here !!
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. It brings back to medieval time. The old town is always full of people from all age groups. Every turn of the narrow streets amaze the visitors with beautiful architecture.
The restaurants are serving typical Portuguese food like Francesinha and Codfish. You have to try it !!
Castle of Guimarães:
I's the birth place of Afonso Henrique. The castle is located in the North of Guimarães. It's on a small hill which is surrounded with small park. There’s a large rock on the South of the tower with bronze medallion of D. Afonso Henriques.
You can also visit the castle from inside. The ticket is only for Euro 2 for students. The castle has an amazing Medieval Architecture with the stairs that takes to the towers of the castle. They have renovated the castle stairs with the wooden case in order to make it safer for the visitors.
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 staircase which is taking into different corridors of the Museum.
Be careful about the timings as It closes at 6:00 PM
Palace of the Dukes of Braganza:
Palace of Dukes of Braganza is located next to Guimarães Castle. It's a medieval style of palace and former residence of Dukes of Braganza. It's a Rectangular Palace with 4 towers and surrounded by greenery. There are different walk ways that takes to the other side.
You can also visit the castle by buying the ticket. Be careful about the timing as It closes at 6:00 PM
Igreja de Sao Miguel do Castelo:
The church is located in the proximity of the castle of Guimarães. This was the place where Afonso Henriques baptized.
Largo da Oliveira and Padrão do Salado:
It got name from the Old Olive tree on this same site. It's a perfect spot for the pictures with a back ground of the 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 Moorish army.
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 walk ways leading into narrow streets and highly recommended to explore all these streets as they have plenty of Guimarães history.
Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Consolação e Santos Passos in Guimarães
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 wonder rectangular garden called Campi da Feira infront of it. It has beautiful and colorful flowers and makes 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.
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 on car. If you love hiking, it's perfect for you to hike the mountain. But I would highly suggest taking the Teleférico (Cable Car) for going up to the hill and highly recommended to do hiking on the mountain when you are coming back.
That's what I did on my way back and believe me 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 of Teleférico is Euro 3 for one way and Euro 5 for round trip.
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 breath taking and an ideal spot to spend some time with nature. It's one of the most picturesque in Guimarães.
The surrounding is full of greenery and lush trees. There are large stones covered with algae and have enhanced the beauty of the spot. There are also leisure facilities like horse riding and mini golf.
View of Guimarães from Serra da Penha
Sanctuary of Penha:
It's located on Penha Mountain. It's a symbol of faith in Guimarães. It's a unique example of religious architecture of Marques da Silva. If you have an interest in history and culture, it's a must visit place.
Alberto Sampaio Museum:
The Museum was located in heart of the old historical center of the cut. It was founded in 1928. The museum came into being to keep the art and objects belonging to Church of Nossa Senhora da Oliverira and other churches in Guimarães. It has great collections of sculpture and statues made from limestone and wood.
There are many local shopping brands in the old town for shopping. As I am a shopping freak so its a must go place for shoppings fanatics like me. There’s also a mall called Shopping Guimarães which has all the International shopping chains.
Despite the fact that Guimarães is a small town but it has an amazing and Wild Night life. It has amazing bars and cafés in the old town with lot of surprising and traditional Portuguese drinks.
Citânia de Briteiros is around 15 km away from Guimarães. It has remains of Iron Age and constructed between 1st and 2nd century B.C.
Braga is the third largest urban city of Portugal and located 25 km away from Guimarães. It has a great historical importance. If you have a great interest in history it's must visit place.