Must see attractions in Guimarães

  • Sights in Guimarães

    Penha

    Some 7km southeast up a twisting, cobbled road – or a short ride on an ageing cable car – is the wooded summit of Penha (617m) overlooking Guimarães, the highest point for kilometres. Its cool woods make it a wonderful escape from the city and summer heat. Kids love losing themselves amid the massive boulders, many cut with steps, crowned with flowers and crosses, or hiding in secret grottoes.

  • Sights in Guimarães

    Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira

    Founded by Countess Mumadona in the 12th century and rebuilt four centuries later, the beautiful Largo da Oliveira is dominated by this convent church.

  • Sights in Guimarães

    Plataforma das Artes e Criatividade

    For the 2012 European Capital of Culture, the old market square was revamped into a multipurpose cultural centre inside a shimmering three-floor metallic building that looks like a bunch of stacked-up boxes. Inside is a permanent exhibit by Portuguese painter José de Guimarães, with items from his private collection of pre-Colombian, African and Chinese art. Check out the room called Spells, with its impressive display of African masks.

  • Sights in Guimarães

    Castelo

    Built in the 11th century and still in fine form, the seven-towered castle is thought to be the birthplace of the great man himself, Afonso Henriques. Walk around the windswept ramparts and peruse multilingual exhibits on Portuguese history as you climb to the bird’s-nest heights of Countess Mumadona’s keep.

  • Sights in Guimarães

    Igreja de São Gualter

    This slender 18th-century construction, with its 19th-century twin spires and blooming run-up from central Guimarães, has the most striking appeal of all the city’s churches.

  • Sights in Guimarães

    Museu Arqueológico Martins Sarmento

    This fantastic collection of mostly Celtiberian artefacts is housed in a former convent and named after the archaeologist who excavated Citânia de Briteiros in 1875. Hefty stone artefacts, including thick Roman columns and milestones, and a mossy Celtic sarcophagus, are spread around the cloister.

  • Sights in Guimarães

    Paço dos Duques de Bragança

    Looming over the medieval city on Guimarães’ hilltop, with its crenellated towers and cylindrical brick chimneys, Paço dos Duques was first built in 1401 and later pompously restored as a presidential residence for Salazar. Today it's open to visitors, who can wander through the rooms, which house a collection of Flemish tapestries, medieval weapons, a chapel with glittering stained-glass windows, and enormous tapestries that relate various episodes in the Portuguese attempt to conquer North Africa.

  • Sights in Guimarães

    Museu Alberto Sampaio

    Built around the serene Romanesque cloister of Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira, this museum has an excellent collection of ecclesiastical art and religious finery. Highlights include the tunic reputedly worn by João I at the Battle of Aljubarrota (1385).

  • Sights in Guimarães

    Igreja de São Francisco

    This 13th-century church has a brilliantly gilded and ornamented baroque interior, along with a lovely Renaissance cloister and 18th-century azulejos (hand-painted tiles) depicting scenes from the saint’s life.

  • Sights in Guimarães

    Antigos Paços do Concelho

    Guimarães’ 14th-century former town hall sits above an arcaded portico providing a most graceful communication between cosy Largo da Oliveira and the more rambling Praça de Santiago.