?If you want to discover Portugal, the place where the Portuguese nation took its first steps can prove to be an inspiring starting point. Culture, Heritage, History and Nature are attributes that combine in harmony in the city of Guimarães, a destination of choice for family outings. Let yourself be conquered by the city with the itinerary that All About Portugal prepared for you.
Largo da Oliveira and Praça de Santiago
There is no better way to start the tour around the city of Guimarães. This is one of the best known squares in Portugal. Take advantage of the terraces to contemplate this urban complex, embellished by the Padrão do Salado (monument that celebrates the victory in the Battle of Salado, in 1340) and listen to the toll of the bells of the Church of Nossa Senhora da Oliveira. Separated by the arches of the old building of the Paços do Concelho (council chambers), we find Praça de Santiago, a wide square with a beautiful set of porched houses and their wooden balconies, decorated with flowers or the flags of the city’s football team, Vitória Sport Clube.
Aqui Nasceu Portugal
The well-preserved urban centre of Guimarães can be traversed on foot. Walk down Alameda de São Dâmaso, along the walls, until you reach one of the city's icons; the Torre da Alfândega, a tower where the phrase “Aqui Nasceu Portugal” (Portugal was born here) can be read. It is a mandatory stop for the traditional travel photography.
Largo do Toural
Further on is Largo do Toural, the traditional meeting place for celebrating the achievements of the people of Guimarães. At one end of the square, cross Portas da Vila and enter the heart of the historic centre. The sculpture of King Dom Afonso Henriques, by João Cutileiro, welcomes you.
Palace of the Dukes of Braganza
Between the Castle and the Church of São Miguel, which houses the baptismal font of Dom Afonso Henriques, there is the Paço dos Duques de Bragança (Palace of the Dukes of Braganza), a 15th century monument built by Dom Afonso, Count of Barcelos. It is one of the most visited monuments in the city of Guimarães.
Gardens of the Vila Flor Palace
It is worth strolling in the gardens of the Vila Flor Palace. Built in the mid-17th century, the palace has a beautiful three-tiered garden and a very romantic Baroque fountain. The building is currently located next to the Vila Flor Cultural Centre, and its occupation is currently related to cultural events. Here you can still watch a show or have fun at night in the cafe-concert.
Penha Cable Car
After visiting the historic centre, the Castle and the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza, there is only one thing to do: freshen up under the leafy trees of the Penha Mountain. Only five kilometres separate the city of Guimarães from the top of the mountain, which rises to an altitude of 617 meters. We therefore suggest a trip on the Penha Cable Car. The tour offers a unique view over the city of Guimarães. You can buy the return ticket and in 10 minutes you will reach your destination.
At the top of the Penha Mountain, you will find the Sanctuary of Penha enveloped in a green surrounding. It has a church, several chapels and a park with stone tables, very popular for picnics. Be sure to enjoy the magnificent view of the city of Guimarães from the viewpoint of the Church, also known as the Pilate's Balcony.