The Birthplace of Portugal

Guimaraes was founded in the 4th century and it is said to be the birthplace of Portugal. The history of Guimaraes is long and there are a plethora of stories passed down through the generations.  Undeniably, this quaint little city is significant to the history of Portugal.  And, it is an easy day trip from Porto.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Guimaraes is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and we were looking forward to exploring.  We found our way to the visitor’s center to pick up a map of the city.  Having done our homework we had pretty much pinpointed the highlights of the city, we just needed the map to see the layout and chart our course.

Exploring Guimaraes

With our handy dandy map of the city, we explored the highlights of Guimaraes.  I think it’s fair to say that one could easily spend a few days exploring this lovely historic city, but we made the best of our one day and we definitely caught the highlights.

Castelo de Guimaraes

Castelo de Guimaraes was built in the 10th century by the order of Countess Mumadona. It was built as a fortification to protect the Mosteiro de Santa Maria.  Today, it is a shell of a once commanding fortress.  Visitors can pay a minimal admission fee and walk around the edges and up/down several flights of stairs.  It’s fairly easy to see the outline traces of what once was.  The views from the top alone are well-worth the price of admission.


Castelo de Guimaraes

Paco Dos Duques de Braganca

We made our way to the palace, Paco Dos Duques de Braganca.  It was built in the 15th century, and many of the rooms have been renovated to give visitors a feel for the original.  The palace was built by D Alfonso who was the illegitimate son of D. Joao I, the 8th Count of Barcelos.


The renovated dining hall at Paco Dos Duques de Braganca, built in the 15th century.

Padrao do Salado

With our stomachs growling we made our way back to the central square to do a bit of window shopping and to look for a nice spot to enjoy a casual lunch.  Near the square we found the Padrao do Salado.  It commemorates the battle of Salado in 1340 against the Moors.  Seriously, Guimaraes must be the birthplace of Portugal.  The history is phenomenal and it’s everywhere you turn.


The Padrao do Salado

Teleferico de Guimaraes

After satisfying the hunger pangs we made our way to the Teleferico de Guimaraes and we rode the cable car to the top of Montanha. The panoramic views were wonderful.  There is a lovely tree-shaded picnic area, along with hiking trails and a small modern church.

A Church & Gardens

We had just enough time to visit the Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Consolacao E Santos Passos.  This church, and the fantastic geometric gardens was a wonderful surprise.  The church dates back to the 16th century.  Although it wasn’t the most ornate church we’ve visited, it was definitely special.  What sets it apart is the adjacent gardens.


Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Consolacao E Santos Passos and the gardens.

Exploring the historic charms of Guimaraes makes for the perfect day trip from Porto.  One could easily spend a few relaxing days exploring all of the nooks, crannies and cobblestone alleyways. Explore the highlights of this wonderful place and time in history.  The city is a living museum.

If You Go:
8:55 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.  Train times, Sao Bento – Guimaraes, perfect timing for a day trip from Porto
Train Tickets R/T 9.60€  (senior 3.20)
Palace Museum 5.00€ (senior 2.50)
Castle Ruins 2.00€ (senior 1.00)
Cable Car 5.00€ (senior 4.00)
Lunch 18.50€ – Cafe Cinecitta

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