Step into the past and explore Guimarães’ graceful iron verandas, granite balconies, arches connecting narrow streets, and cloisters. Among the city’s well-preserved 15th- to 19th-century buildings are the medieval Guimarães Castle and the Palace of the Dukes of Bragança. Guided tours from Porto typically take you to see all the historic highlights.
An emerging cultural hot spot, Guimarães was designated the European Capital of Culture in 2012 (along with Maribor, Slovakia). In the plethora of museums, monuments, and art galleries, the Vila Flor Cultural Center stands out—housed in the renovated Vila Flor Palace, it has a concert café, exhibition gallery, and award-winning gardens.
Recent reviews from experiences in Northern Portugal
Things to Know Before You Go
The Guimarães Pass offers free admission to many city landmarks.
Take the cable car to Monte da Penha for the best viewpoint in the city.
How to Get There
You can reach Guimarães by train in about an hour and 20 minutes from Porto’s São Bento Station. From Lisbon, the train takes around four hours. You can also get there from most major Portuguese cities by direct bus. Getting around the city center is easiest on foot, but bus service is available.
When to Get There
Guimarães has a temperate climate, which stretches the optimal time to visit all the way from early April to early November. For fewer crowds, avoid summer (August) and school holidays.
What to Eat
Guimarães is also known for its culinary heritage. Try a torta de Guimarães, a sweet croissant-like pie stuffed with squash, egg, and almond. And, don’t miss the chance to sample an almond cake known as toucinho do céu (which translates to “bacon from heaven,” due to its use of bacon lard). The city’s top restaurant is the modern European, Michelin-starred A Cozinha.
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- Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira
- Guimarães Castle (Castelo de Guimarães)
- Braga Cathedral (Sé de Braga)
- Amarante Water Park (Parque Aquático Amarante)
- Peneda-Gerês National Park (Parque Nacional Da Peneda-Gerês)
- Rua Santa Catarina
- Avenida dos Aliados
- Liberdade Square (Praça da Liberdade)
- Casa da Música
- Clérigos Church and Tower (Torre & Igreja dos Clérigos)
- Porto Cathedral (Sé Catedral do Porto)
- Museum of Our Lady of Mercy of Porto (Museu da Misericórdia do Porto)