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.
On the lower slopes of the hill lies the Mosteiro de Santa Marinha da Costa, 1.5km east of Penha’s centre. It dates from 1154, when Dona Mafalda, wife of Afonso Henriques, commissioned it to honour a vow she made to the patron saint of pregnant women. Rebuilt in the 18th century, it’s now a flagship Pousada de Portugal.
The easiest and finest route to the top of Penha is aboard the Teleférico de Penha, which starts from Parque das Hortas, 600m east of Guimarães’ old centre. You can also get there by taxi for about €10.