Secrets Itinerary: Discover Guimarães, The Birthplace Of Portugal ♦ Guimarães is considered the birthplace of Portugal because Afonso Henriques, who went on to be the first king of Portugal, was born here. If you’re planning on taking a trip tp Portugal don’t forget do drop by Guimarães, you’ll surely love the historical buildings mixed with the bars and amazing restaurants. Secrets From Portugal brings you on a tour of the amazing city of guimarães! Fasten your seatbelts and enjoy the ride.
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The historical centre in the area that was within the Guimarães city walls, is associated with the formation and identity of Portugal and was classified a World Heritage site based on the originality and authenticity applied in its restoration. The city still has a harmonious, well-preserved heritage that is evident in the graceful iron verandas, granite balconies and porticos, mansions, arches connecting the narrow streets, paving slabs smoothed by time, towers and cloisters. For a moment you might imagine yourself to be in a mediaeval setting, where the nobility built their houses over time, such as the Mota Prego house, the Vila Flor and Toural palaces, and the many others that give Guimarães its unique atmosphere.
You can start from the heart of the city, Largo da Oliveira, where you find the Padrão do Saladoand the Collegiate Church of Nossa Senhora da Oliveira, which houses the valuable Alberto Sampaio Museum. Passing the Paços Municipais (City Hall), crowned with battlements, enter the Praça de Santiago which in the Middle Ages welcomed pilgrims bound for Compostela, just as today it welcomes residents and tourists in its restaurants and terraces. The Convent of Santa Clara, the Casa do Arco and other stately houses are in Rua da Santa Maria, which links with the upper city.
Where to go
Castel of Guimarães
The Castle of Guimarães (Portuguese: Castelo de Guimarães), is the principal medieval castle in the municipality Guimarães, in the northern region of Portugal. It was built under the orders of Mumadona Dias in the 10th century to defend the monastery from attacks by Moors and Norsemen. The castle is a military fortification grounded primarily in the late Romanesque period and elaborated during the early Gothic epoch of Portuguese architecture. Its area is delineated by walls forming a pentagram, similar to a shield, that includes eight rectangular towers, military square and a central keep. Originating in the foundations of a Roman structure, from the writings of Alfredo Guimarães, it was later elaborated on the French model, in its current the form of a shield, with a reduced central yard and difficult accesses. It includes several Gothic characteristics, owing to its remodelling at the end of the 13th century when the keep and residences were constructed (possibly over pre-existing structures).
Paço dos Duques de Bragança
The majestic fifteenth-century manor house, built by D. Afonso – future Duke of Bragança, bastard son of King D. João I – who served as his residence and his second wife, D.Constança de Noronha. Large palace, with architectural features of a fortified house, strong sloping roofs and numerous cylindrical chimneys denoting the influence of the manorial architecture of Northern Europe, it is a unique example in the Iberian Peninsula.
Citânia de Briteiros
The archaeological ruins of Briteiros are extraordinary proof of the existence of an important primitive settlement of pre-Roman origin, belonging to the general type of so-called “castros” in northwestern Portugal. They clearly show characters of the castreja culture, although strongly Romanized at the beginning of the Christian era. Martins Sarmento, a famous ethnologist and archaeologist, born in Guimarães in 1833, was in charge of the scientific study of these ruins, having made a decisive contribution to their dissemination, study and conservation status.
Largo da Oliveira
Largo da Oliveira owes its name to a secular olive tree planted here. Surrounded by picturesque, typically northern houses, it is the ideal starting point for walking the city streets. But in the Largo itself, there are some reasons to see: on the east side, a curious Gothic template erected in the reign of D. Afonso IV, commemorates the battle of Salado, where Portuguese and Castilians defeated the forces of the Moorish kingdom of Granada in 1339. On the north side of the square stands the medieval building of the old Town Hall, topped by a stone sculpture that, according to tradition, represents Guimarães. Underneath, a gothic archway gives way to Largo de São Tiago, one of the most characteristic public spaces in the city.
Santuário da Penha / Monte da Penha
The Penha Sanctuary is a unique example of Marques da Silva’s religious architecture. In 1930, the renowned architect, a true friend of Penha, was entrusted with the project and the choice of location. Land regularization work began on 6 August of the same year. Inaugurated in 1947, it is a monument of singular beauty and architectural and religious value. An emblematic work of Guimarães.
Monte da Penha ou Monte de Santa Catarina é o ponto mais elevado da área urbana de Guimarães e a partir do seu topo, onde está localizada uma estátua do Papa Pio IX, é possível alcançar vistas magníficas,que podem estender-se até ao oceano.
Where to Eat
In the heart of Guimarães, a new concept is born. ‘The Kitchen by Antonio Loureiro’, where creativity and tradition combine to stimulate the senses. Guiding the rhythm of the seasons and in tune with nature, its starting points are our recipe and the authenticity of local products, combining the sophistication of the author’s cuisine with the simplicity of traditional cuisine.
Histórico by Papaboa
Inserted in the historic centre of Guimarães, World Heritage City, the “Historic” is a new concept of the restaurant where you can enjoy in its space flavours as diverse as meals, tapas, ice cream, crepes, coffees and teas. Restored in the old palace of the century. XVII, the “Historic” offers visitors, a place rich in history and culture.
Cor de Tangerina
Cor de Tangerina is a multisectoral service cooperative whose primary objective is active participation in Sustainable Development. The activity of this cooperative extends on several fronts, on the one hand, providing the direct sale of Fairtrade and Organic Farming products. On the other hand, they offer the restaurant and cafeteria service, with terrace, in the egg-Lacto-vegetarian aspect, giving priority to the use of natural products, of biological origin and also of Fair Trade, thus allowing the joining of efforts in the promotion and appreciation of a more supportive and comprehensive attitude towards the pathways of necessary and emerging sustainability in today’s conscious societies. They manufacture almost all the products they serve, with special emphasis on bread, which is currently undergoing certification as a biological product.
Tall fluffy pancakes, eggs benedict and smoothie bowls top the menu at this brunch cafeteria. Goji opened in December, next to City Park. The cafeteria is located in the eastern limit of Guimarães, a stone’s throw from Parque da Cidade, but to be surrounded by nature you do not have to walk away. All the decor is reminiscent of a lush, tropical garden with plants and hanging wooden ceiling beams, and even a neon with the name of the house against the foliage lining one of the walls. All bathed in medium light. Helping the environment is Goji, a colourful agapone that brightens the room with a lively clap.
Where to Sleep
Pousada do Mosteiro de Guimarães
Pousada Mosteiro Guimarães is a Small Luxury Hotel located in the city of Guimarães, in a former 12th century Augustinian Monastery with fantastic views of the city. It is within walking distance of the historic city centre of Guimarães, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and 2 km from the commercial area.
Hotel Meliá Braga Hotel and Spa
Meliá Braga Hotel & Spa is a modern and sophisticated 5-star hotel serving the city of Braga and the entire region. With a prime location, Meliá Braga Hotel & Spa is located 5 minutes from the city centre, shopping centres and the Iberian Nanotechnology Center. Near the Bom Jesus Sanctuary, the University of Minho and the Peneda-Gerês National Park. Featuring modern architecture with contemporary lines and décor, Hotel Meliá Braga offers 182 rooms, three VIP floors, a garden bar with social area by the outdoor pool, a modern 800m2 Spa, and a floor with 7 meeting and congress rooms.
Pousada do Mosteiro de Amares
The Santa Maria do Bouro Pousada better known as Pousada Mosteiro de Amares is located in Amares, between the city of Braga and Serra do Gerês. The Pousada is the result of the restoration of a Cistercian monastery from the 19th century. XII, in a remarkable work by Architect Eduardo Souto de Moura, awarded the Pritzker Prize 2011, the world’s largest architecture award. The Pousada is located just 17 minutes from Peneda Gerês National Park, surrounded by fascinating landscapes.