"The Enchanting Medieval City of Guimaraes" Top 5 Page for this destination Guimarães by el_ruso
Guimarães Travel Guide: 158 reviews and 451 photos
I strongly recommend visiting this wonderful city (pronounced 'Ghimaraish'). It is a perfect complement to visiting Porto, similar in style but peaceful and offering unique and impressive things to see.
The city grew around the ancient monastery, which has not sirvived, and a castle built in the X century to protect it from marauding Moors and Normans. Dom Afonso Enrique was born here; he defeated the Galicians in the XI century, thus securing independence of Portugal, called then Portocalem, and becoming its first king. The city served as its capital until this honor was given to the newly conquered Porto; the locals are very proud of this fact, and you are greeted as you enter the city by a reminder that 'Portugal nasceu aqui' - Portugal was born here.
Another historical link, even older, is the nearby excavated ancient Celtic village, called Citania dos Briteiros. The artifacts uncovered there are displayed at the local archeological museum.
The tourist office is located right before you enter the old city, across from the mock fortress wall. When you see what you see now on the photo at the top of the page, look to your right.
The main tourist sights are at the hill just North of the city centre: the X century castle, the VIII century chapel, the XV century immense palace.
The area that was originally enclosed by the wall (a portion of which still sirvives) is a maze of medieval streets and plazas, with virtually all of the buidlings in decent state of repair and very clean. Areas adjoining the center also are built in the same style and are pleasurable to walk around and take in the ambience.
There is a tourist sight at a mountain of Pena with a funicular ride onto the top and an old monastery. I didn't have time to visit these.
The city is located in the Northern part of the country, and is about an hour from Porto (by train) or Braga (by bus). Train station is located just south of the center; you can walk about 15 min or take a taxi. Once you exit the station, you will see a map that will tell you where to go.
- Pros:medieval architecture, clean, well-maintained
- In a nutshell:everytime you will be remembering this city, you will smile
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