Touring the North of Portugal will never be complete without visiting one of the most historic Portuguese cities, Guimarães, near Porto and Braga. Feel the fascination and absorb a millennium of history in the city’s path, whose roots stretch back to the Copper Age, between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age (c. 5000-c. 1000 BC).
Considered The Cradle of the Nation, explore Guimarães, home of the first Portuguese king, which perfectly combines the ancient mediaeval town with the modern city without losing its essence. Stroll through the streets and alleys and observe centuries of architecture, all very well preserved. Lovers of cultural and historical tourism will feel an incomparable fascination there.
Some visits are a must in Guimarães, starting with its Historic Centre. Recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2001, Guimarães Historic Centre deserves a presence with time to appreciate how time has passed and how well preserved it is. Formed by buildings, squares, and streets, the Guimarães Historical Centre offers art, architecture and history to contemplate the Portuguese architecture development related to construction materials and techniques from the 15th to the 19th century. This lively Centre is still a place appreciated both by locals and visitors.
Monte da Penha, 617 metres altitude, provides the visitor with a green area of 60 hectares where you can experience a unique natural heritage and a perfect combination of religion and nature for spiritual comfort. Built predominantly with granite from the region, the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Penha integrates naturally into the landscape. In addition to the views, there is much to discover: boulders, caves, hermitages, footpaths, fountains and water courses, picnic areas and viewpoints, always surrounded by a magnificent landscape. The cable car that connects Guimarães to Monte da Penha was the first cable car in Portugal. Imagine the incredible view stretching out to the sea! Feel tranquillity, leisure and the reward of a grand panoramic view.
Another unmissable monument is the Castle of Guimarães. First built in the 10th century by Countess Mumadona, it was a point of defence against Muslim attacks. The original structure was demolished by order of counts D. Henrique and D. Teresa de Leão. In its place, they erected a Keep that became the couple’s home. Several renovations over the centuries present today the birthplace and baptism of D. Afonso Henriques, the first royal residence and the scene of many battles and defences in the North of Portugal.
A magnificent example of 15th-century manor architecture and a famous tourist spot is the Dukes of Bragança Palace in Guimarães. Built at the request of D. Afonso, 1st Duke of Bragança, it also served as his residence. In the 19th century, it was used as a military barrack. Today, it is a museum and the official residence of the Portuguese Republic President. At the museum, delight yourself with beautiful rooms and pieces that art and history lovers will never forget.
Discover more about Guimarães and Northern Portugal on our website or App app.cooltouroporto.com; visit the cities of Guimarães and Braga has a day tour from Porto, it is one of Portugal’s best tours.