Thursday April 16th 2020 | Porto

Visit Guimarães: the place where Portugal was born

Guimaraes, Portugal's first capital city.

There are two reasons that lead you to consider Guimarães as a must-see. It was declared a World Heritage Site and considered the historical origin of Portugal. Visiting Guimaraes will make you remember your visit in a special way.

Guimarães was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2001 and its historic centre is considered one of the most beautiful in Portugal.

Pay attention, we will tell you the details of a historical tour through one of the most beautiful towns in all of Portugal. Shall we start the visit?

Guimarães: its history
Aqui nasceu Portugal (Here was born Portugal). This is the inscription that the traveller can see on the medieval wall of the city. This reveals the historical importance of Guimarães since the Middle Ages in Portugal.

The first Portuguese king, Afonso Henriques, son of the Duke of Burgundy, was born in Guimarães. He achieved the independence of Portucalem from the Kingdom of León and Galicia by winning the Battle of São Mamede in 1128. This was undoubtedly the origin of the Portuguese nation.

Dom Afonso was named king in 1139 and made Guimarães the capital of the kingdom. This attracted numerous nobles to that small city, which became the Portuguese capital, then, it moved to Coimbra twenty years later.

In the 12th century Guimarães was declared the capital of Portugal, after that, Coimbra became the new capital.

Guimarães became the most important city in the country. Many nobles settled in a borough that has become one of the most important historical centres in Portugal and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2001.

Guimarães: discover it from Porto
Located 56 km from Porto, visiting Guimarães is one of the best options available to you if you want to leave the city of Douro. The town offers the visitor a calm atmosphere, but with the characteristics of a university city. It has one of the densest historical centres in the country, which has also made it the European capital of culture.

The one-day visit is enough to see Guimarães. Do you want to do it with us? Find out here. You can sign up for our Guimarães Tour. During a whole day we will show you some of the secrets that history sometimes hides, and you will be able to enjoy an extraordinary gastronomy and discover the secrets of the city through it streets.

Walk and stroll around Guimarães is one of the best recommendations for a day visit to the city. Its squares, its churches and the old town are very close. Shall we start?

Guimarães: what to see in one day?
We are going to underline some essential points that cannot be missed on your visit to this beautiful city in northern Portugal. Let's start!

Largo do Toural
Although this square was originally outside the city, today it is the main entry point of Guimarães. It is a huge space in the urban centre that gives way to the old town.

We recommend you visit the Café Milenario, one of the most genuine bars in the city. It’s opened since 1953 as one of the Guimarães meeting points. Nearby, without a doubt, we will take the first photo upon arrival: the inscription Aqui nasceu Portugal, on the remains of the wall.

Largo da Oliveira
The square is being chaired by the so-called Padrão do Salado, a unique medieval monument in Portugal that has become one of the symbols of Guimarães. It is an exterior vaulted construction on four pointed arches.

In the square, we can also find some examples of the best-preserved Gothic architecture in the city, and numerous cafes next to a large olive tree that gives the square its name. Ideal to take a break.

Santiago Square 
Clearly medieval-looking. It is one of the main squares in the city and is named after Santiago. According to legend, the apostle took an image of Mary, the holy Virgin to Guimarães and deposited it in a chapel dedicated to Santiago, now disappeared.

Guimarães Castle is a National Monument and in 2007 it was chosen as one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal.

Palace of the Dukes of Braganza
The Palace is one of the unavoidable visits of Guimarães. It is a large and austere building. It highlights a large collection of tapestries, furniture and precious metalwork. You can purchase a joint ticket to also access the castle, which is within walking distance.

Castle of Guimarães
Originally built in the 10th century in wood and earth to protect the monastery from external invasions, it was rebuilt by the Count of Burgundy. The Guimarães Castle is considered one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. It is located very close to the city centre. The views from its towers are especially recommended.

Guimarães: gastronomy
As in all of Portugal, when it comes to sitting at the table, Guimarães offers a wide gastronomic range for all tastes and budgets. Meat or fish, especially cod, are the main attractions. Special attention to the food houses, which will offer a simple but excellent cuisine.

Recommended: any dish seasoned with potatoes: stuffed, baked or with cheese.

Join the Guimarães Tour and visit the city with us!
What do you think? As you have had the opportunity to verify, visiting Guimarães is an ideal proposal to travel from Porto: heritage, history and gastronomy within your reach. Get to know it with us! Join us and make it special.

Find further information here and sign up for our Guimarães Tour. You will choose the day that suits you best. We will meet at Praça da Liberdade, and you will enjoy an unforgettable journey through the history of Portugal. An experience for life!

As ever, we will be waiting for you under the green umbrella. Make your reservation!

Tags: Guimaraes , Porto , tourism

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