Guimarães is quite possibly Northern Portugal’s best-kept secret. An impossibly quaint town where locals say the country of Portugal was founded, visitors here will be hard-pressed to find anything they don’t like. Stunning architecture, cobbled streets, open plazas, fantastic shopping and delicious eateries – you can easily spend three days here and never tire of it.
Guimarães has one of Portugal’s most beautiful town centers, and it’s been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001. One of the main sites here, aside from beautiful cathedrals and churches, is the stunning Guimarães castle – a Medieval structure built in the 10th Century. You can walk in and out of its cloisters and private rooms that are still dressed with some of the original furnishings that belong to various eras of its existence.
Aside from the historical sites here, one must take-in the shopping which include locally made pottery, ceramics, linens, embroidery and more. My favorite treat from the city, is a dessert created centuries ago by the nuns of the Santa Clara Convent. The dessert, Toucinho do Céu, is sweet and rich egg and almond cake that you’ll never forget.
Guimarães is a must-visit destination for those traveling through Northern Portugal. It will captivate you and is an excellent place to base yourself if you’re exploring the Douro region or the beautiful Gerês National Park further north.
One of my favorite shops in town, for unique odds and ends that are handcrafted in the region, is called, 9 Séculos.
Here you’ll find everything from local works of art, to honey produced nearby by artisans whose family has been working in the honey business for centuries.
Guimarães with enchant you – there’s just no question about it.