Guimarães is a city and UNESCO World Heritage Site in Portugal's Braga region, at less than an hour's drive from Porto. It has a population of 158,124 and is often described as the city where Portugal's history began: in the 12th century it was the first capital of Portugal and home to its first king (Afonso Henriques), who was also born here.
History has been well preserved in this medieval town. The Guimarães Castle, built by the first king and then used as a base to reconquer the rest of the country from the moors, as well as the Ducal Palace are the key sights. The castle is exactly how you picture a castle in your mind: stood on top of a small hill, it is composed of several towers featuring high walls with battlements on top of them. It is one of the country's greatest historical sights. The palace stands below it and is from the early 15th century. It is nowadays a National Monument and can be toured.
But that is not all Guimarães has to offer. I mean, there are other sights of course (such as the church of São Miguel do Castelo, Olive Square or the Nossa Senhora da Oliveira Monastery), but the truth is that the town itself with its small streets and charming squares (made lively by the University of Minho students) forms a cohesive attraction that is probably best experienced as a whole. [Review by travelindicator]
You can find the best hotel deals in Guimaraes here.
- Guimaraes is a city in Portugal's region of Braga. It has a population of 158,124, is situated at an altitude of 630ft and the best airport to fly into is OPO (Francisco Sa Carneiro, Porto)
- The currency used in Portugal is the Euro (EUR)
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More Guimaraes travel resources
The Independent takes you on a small tour through the town, while the Telegraph has some more depth in its guide. Guardian isn't half bad, Portugal Visitor has the goods, as does Travel in Portugal. Pure Travel discusses 5 things to do and Luxe Adventure Traveler has some nice pics.