The small picturesque town of Guimaraes (Portugal) is the place where many travelers flock from Porto. Quiet streets, beautiful park alleys and numerous attractions – all this awaits tourists who want to relax away from the crowds and noise.
Guimaraes is a city in which the independence of Portugal was proclaimed. He is today called the cradle of the nation.
In memory of past times, there remained ancient churches and castles, parks and entire architectural complexes. Guimaraes is completely dotted with ancient houses built in the period from the 11th to the 19th centuries.
Prices in Guimaraes
A small sleepy place – this is how Guimaraes appears to the guests. And if from the metropolitan chic the local region got numerous architectural and historical monuments, then the prices are far from megalopolises.
It is here that you can inexpensively relax in local hotels, which occupy buildings of the XVIII-XIX centuries of construction. The cost of a standard room is low – only 25-40 € per day. Demanding customers can stay in four star complexes, where apartments will cost 50–70 €.
Local residents and guests eat mainly in eateries, where a large burger costs only 3-5 €. The average check in the tavern, which serves hearty lunches and dinners, will be about 30-40 € for two. There are also first-class restaurants in Guimaraes where you can dine for 50 euros per person. The check includes not only the cost of dishes, but also a glass of good wine.
Sights of Guimaraes
In the small town of Portugal – in Guimaraes – there are many attractions. Picturesque parks and architectural structures form entire complexes, the value of which is undeniable. Some ensembles are included in the list of UNESCO heritage and are protected by the state.
Guides advise you to visit all the sights of Guimaraes. However, if there is not enough time, the tips of experienced travelers come to the rescue, who compiled their own rating of memorable places in the small but remarkable town of Portugal.
Largo da Oliveira Square
The first in the list of visits is the central square of Guimaraes. It is called an old olive tree, which, according to the stories of local residents, has been around for several centuries. The peculiarity of these places is the unique flavor. Small alleys attract travelers, here you can wander and walk endlessly. Along the cobbled narrow streets crowded stone houses, typical of northern Portugal.
An advantageous feature of the Olivkova Square is its proximity to other memorable and remarkable places. All of them are located within walking distance.
Grouped around the square: the famous Church of Our Lady (Igreja de Nossa Senhora de Oliveira), the Gothic temple – a symbol of long-standing victories, the medieval town hall.
Tourists after visiting the architectural monuments will be able to visit one of the many local restaurants or drop in a cafe. Prices in restaurants that are on the square are slightly above average, but the pleasure of having a meal in the heart of the city is worth it.
Palace of the Dukes of Braganza
This is the famous Guimaraes castle, which is recognized as one of the most interesting places in the town. The whole palace complex “bristled” with numerous turrets and needle-pipes. Built in the 15th century, the palace was designed after the Burgundian palace complexes, which was very fashionable at that time.
The complex is beautiful not only from the outside. Inside, visitors will find a real medieval era, which forever left its mark on weapons and furniture, utensils and numerous tapestries.
Peña Hill Park (Montanha – Parque da Penha)
A picturesque mountain park with many small paths becomes an excellent bonus to an educational trip to Guimaranaish. You can get here by rented car or use the cable car as a transport. Visitors recommend choosing the second option, because during the trip you can appreciate the beauty of these places.
The whole park is strewn with huge boulders covered with green moss. Footpaths and mossy stone stairs, centenary trees and delightful silence – all this gives a fabulous atmosphere.
This is not man-made beauty, but ennobled and perfected, taking a walk here is a pleasure.
In the park you can take not only a few stunning pictures of Guimaraes from above, but also explore small caves that are located along the paths right in the rocks. At the peak of the mountain there are restaurants serving national cuisine.
There is also a hotel where you can spend the night and go back the next day.
The real medieval Guimaraes castle is the official residence of the first king of Portugal. This architectural complex is very popular with tourists. He was not spared by depriving the castle of the roof and destroying several walls. However, restorers have recently equipped new stairs, and therefore guests always have the opportunity to take a walk along the building and explore it up and down.
An additional bonus is a stunning view of Guimaraes, which opens from the walls of the castle. Walking to the architectural monument is only 10 minutes from the city center.
Church of Our Lady of Oliveira (Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira)
This is not a simple place that from the very first moments attracts the eye with its arched entrances. The Church of Our Lady of Oliveira was erected in honor of the victory of the Portuguese over the Costiliers at Aljubarrot. In 1385, the Portuguese king ordered the architect Garcia de Toledo to erect a temple in gratitude for the patronage of the Virgin Mary.
The building itself over the years of its existence has experienced several reconstructions. In the course of the work, the architects added several contemporary solutions to the appearance of the church. As a result, today the Guimaraes temple successfully combines the Gothic style, as well as the features of the stylistic direction of Manueline and Neoclassic.
Church of da Peña (Santuario da Penha)
The hilltop church of Guimaraes is notable for its location. The attraction is located in the park Montanha- Parque da Penha and rises above the whole city. You can come here by car or by cable car. The peculiarity of the place is not Gothic, but modern architecture, which fits perfectly into the space.
Not even the most devout people go to this place. Their goal is not the complex itself, but stunning landscapes of urban and rural areas, which are perfectly visible from the foot of the hill. Often it is from here that Guimaraes guests start their walks, who climbed here by cable car for 5 euros.
How to get to Guimaraes?
Trains and buses run from the nearby city of Porto to Guimaraes. It is recommended to choose the appropriate type of transport taking into account the number of people and the age of the traveler. These criteria are taken into account when reducing the cost of travel.
Buses run between cities every hour. A standard ticket will cost the passenger 6 euros. Transport companies make favorable offers to passengers. You can get decent discounts up to:
- 25% – on the European youth card, which offers discounts to all people aged 12 to 30 years.
- 65% – for tourists who decide to purchase tickets in advance (at least 5, 8 or more days in advance).
The relevance of prices and schedules can be checked on the website rede-expressos.pt.
Like buses, trains running between Porto and Guimaraes depart every hour. The first train leaves Porto at 7:20, the last at 23:20. Travel time is 1 hour 15 minutes.
The ticket price varies between 3-10 euros . However, you can get discounts if you travel in a group of 3-4 people. In this case, the transport company Alfa Pendular and Intercidades offers tickets at a significant discount – up to 50% of the initial cost! Youth under the age of 25 are also entitled to 25% discount on fares.
Departure Station: Campanha Railway station.
As an important historical center of Portugal, Guimaraes is interesting for travelers. Tourists who are fortunate enough to get here recommend staying at least a day or two. This time will be enough to explore all the picturesque places and sights, to plunge into the prevailing atmosphere of the Middle Ages.