Guimaraes, the first Portuguese capital, built in the 4th century, earns its a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its well preserved medieval city centre. My visit to this city was like a journey back in time: to the Middle Ages.
Welcome to another Triple Travel Guide, curious travelers. This Triple Travel Guide features three hidden gems to visit, taste and stay at in marvellous Guimaraes. Scroll down to the end of this blog to see my Triple Travel pocket-sized Guide of Guimaraes.
What to visit
Choosing the three best places to visit in Guimaraes is hard. Even though it is a small, medieval village, there are a lot of beautiful squares, monuments, castles, churches and viewpoints to visit. I listed the three hidden gems when it comes to sightseeing, cuisine and accommodation.
Montanha da Penha
For impressing and high views stretching over Guimaraes, Braga and Penha, the miradouro da Penha or the Santuario da Penha is your go-to. You can easily take the cable car up and down between the woods in the city until the top of the hill, where the 20th-century, art-deco sanctuary is located. If you want to enjoy the sunset, be aware: the cable cars close before 7pm. In this case, your best option is to go by Uber: cable car up and Uber down.
Largo da Misericórdia
Forget Paris, forget Venice, forget every romantic destination you know about: Guimaraes tops these well-known romantic destinations easily. The historical centre offer a range of romantic, cozy, medieval squares, accompanied by christmas lights everywhere – all year round. After a local recommended me a to go to a restaurant on this square, I stayed there sitting for a few hours, admiring the colourful sunset and enjoying local dishes and a glass of regional, red wine.
Largo República do Brasil
If you couldn’t make it to a sunset on Montanha da Penha or Largo da Misericórdia, there is an even worthy alternative: the central point of Guimaraes, Largo República do Brasil. This long stretched flower field, with at its ending the church of Guimaraes, and at its beginning a fountain, offers you magical sunset views. Enjoy a drink while overlooking Guimaraes’ modern city centre as you watch locals and tourists pass by.
What to taste
After being recommended by a local to visit this restaurant, I ended up in this traditional Portuguese diner – and it sure was worth it. Typical Portuguese dishes are served in this restaurant located right in the middle of Largo da Misericórdia. I see myself as an enthusiast of the Portuguese cuisine and I have tried out all one dishes in several restaurants, namely alheira – a type of sausage mixed with several types of meat, served with fried egg and rice. As a self-made alheira expert, I have to admit: the alheira here is worth the try!
Regional products such as pastries and sweets are the specialities of this Portuguese pastelaria. What distinguishes this one from the thousand other pastelarias, you might wonder? The artisanal products and the love which they are served with gives a extra taste. And while you’re in Portugal, you’re allowed try out as many pasteís as possible, without a single feeling of guilt – you have to truly discover the taste of the country, am I right?
Try out one of the most popular Portuguese dishes, Bacalhau a Bras, in this beautifully styled and elegant restaurant. If you’re looking for a different setting than the traditional pastelarias in Guimaraes, but still receive high quality food, this restaurant might be your best option.
Where to stay
Hotel Fundador is a budget-friendly hotel, located close to the train station of Guimaraes. Easily reachable by foot from the centre and offering nice hotel rooms for a very small price, this is the perfect accommodation if you’re traveling on a budget and looking for a well located and decent hotel.
Feel the medieval spirit of Guimaraes in this well-preserved National Bank turned into a centrally-located boutique hotel. Luxury and budget come together in this renovated building, with very reasonable prices for the comfort, location and service that is offered to you.
If you really want to travel back in time during your trip to Guimaraes, then complete your trip with a stay in this 12th-century Augustinian Monastery. Relax after a day of citytrippin’ in the 9-hectare garden and release your inner medieval highness in one of the luxurious rooms.