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Guimarães © yuka HAYASHI
Guimarães © yuka HAYASHI
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The Top 10 Things To See And Do In Guimarães, Portugal

Picture of Alex Locker
Updated: 9 February 2017
Well established as the foundation city of the Portuguese empire, Guimaraes enjoys a reputation as a rich, progressive and cultural city. Take a look at the best sights and activities in this dazzling Portuguese city.
Largo da Oliveira
Largo da Oliveira | ©Miguel Vieira

Largo da Oliveira Square

Named after a centuries-old olive tree that was planted here, the social square of Largo da Oliveira is one of the city’s cultural focal points alongside the nearby Largo da Sao Tiago. The square hosts an array of traditional Portuguese houses featuring a spectacular gothic shrine in the middle. This was built in the reign of Alfonso IV to commemorate the battle of Salado, where Portuguese and Castilian forces drove back the Moorish army in 1339.

Citania de Briteiros

Home to many historic mysteries, the archaeological site of Citania de Briteiros is thought to have been the site of a Castro culture settlement dating back to the 1st and 2nd century BC. It apparently continued until the Middle Ages. The home of many substantial finds in northern Iberia, this is an ideal location to visit for people wishing to understand more about how previous Iberian societies may have interacted with the surrounding environment.

Citania de Briteiros
Citania de Briteiros | ©Edna Winti

Guimaraes Castle

No trip to Guimaraes is complete without visiting its most monumental and imposing landmark – the Guimaraes Castle. The castle stands as a symbol of local prowess. It is an architectural treasure that attracts a large number of visitors each year. Whether you wish to stand in its splendid shadow and admire the castle from beneath, or scale its fortifications and experience the city from above, this is a must-visit for any traveler.

Castelo de Guimaraes
Castelo de Guimaraes | ©Filipe Fortes

Rua de Santa Maria

One of Guimaraes most historic and culturally significant streets, Rua de Santa Maria is home to a variety of architectural marvels from the medieval period. Walk along the street to feel like you have traveled back in time. The street also hosts a variety of restaurants and shops. It is the perfect place to take in the beauty of the city while doing some shopping or having a meal in one of the restaurants.

Igreja de Sao Francisco

The Convent and Church of Sao Francisco is one of the major architectural and historical pieces of Portuguese identity. It stands as a lasting relic of the Franciscan order in Guimaraes. The church is a splendid example of architectural blends. These includes gothic and mannerist as well as a host of other styles, reworked over many centuries in order to create the beautiful amalgamation that can be seen today.

Igreja de Sāo Francisco
Igreja de Sāo Francisco | ©Wikipedia

Serra Penha

One of the most remarkable natural landmarks of Northern Portugal, the Serra Penha is seen as the home mountain of Guimaraes. More than 600 meters high, this colossal granite mountain stands proud above the city. The summit offers a variety of activities such as mini golf, as well as hosting a statue commemorating Pius IX. Climb the mountain and enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the region.

Firework at New year’s Day at the Penha Chuch
Firework at New year’s Day at the Penha Chuch | ©Jonas de Carvalho

Museu de Alberto Sampaio

Founded in 1928, the Museu de Alberto Sampaio stands as one of Guimaraes main museums within its cultural center. The museum is home to many collections of cultural and historical interest. The collections include pieces such as a sculpture featuring different statues made between the 13th and 18th centuries from limestone and wood, several wood-carved pieces and various holy relics and altarpieces. One of the highlights is the tunic of Don Jõao I from the battle of Aljubarrota.

Jardins do Palaci de Vila Flor

The gardens and palace of Vila Flor are suggested as one of the initial points from which Guimaraes cultural prowess has blossomed. The Jardins do Palaci de Vila Flor are a stunning example of the fruitful mix between human creativity and natural beauty. The gardens provide a welcoming retreat and a relaxation spot from which to take in the magnificence of Guimaraes city.

Jardins do Palacio de vila Flora
Jardins do Palacio de vila Flora | ©a m/Wikicommons

Foxtrot Adventura

The Foxtrot Adventura is a an adventure program designed for the bravest, most active travelers. As part of the experience, visitors will be exposed to an array of adrenaline -nducing and action-packed tasks. These range from rock climbing to unstable bridge crossings. Foxtrot Adventura is the perfect attraction for those wishing to add a bit more risk to their trip.

Center for Art and Architecture

Many of the sights featured on this list look at the artistic mastery passed down to us in the form of historic architectural examples. The Center for Art and Architecture provides a different perspective of art in Guimaraes. Opened in 2011 in the building of an old textile factory, this center specializes in creative expression within various fields while working as a non profit organization. The center provides an insight into the developing cultural scene of Guimaraes. It also offers a well-chosen selection of works for visitors wishing to explore the best that the arts and culture scene of the city has to offer.