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One day in Guimaraes Itinerary: Guimaraes Day Trip from Porto

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Guimaraes is a medieval town in northern Portugal. Full of history, quaint pretty lanes, green spaces, and a number of great places to eat and drink is what makes Guimaraes day trip from Porto a must for all culture lovers. So, here is how to plan your one day in Guimaraes itinerary. 

One day in Guimaraes itinerary: Guimaraes day trip from Porto

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Guimaraes is steeped in history and culture. The well-preserved Old Town is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to many historical landmarks, such as the Guimaraes Castle. 

It is known as the birthplace of Portugal and you will see this sign – Aqui Nasceu Portugal – meaning “Here Portugal was born”, as you enter Guimarães. 

Quaint lanes of Guimaraes
Quaint lanes of Guimaraes

The town also has a number of churches and museums, which displays works by some of Portugal’s most famous artists. 

One day in Guimaraes itinerary: Guimaraes day trip from Porto

  • Visit the Guimarães Castle
  • Church of São Miguel do Castelo
  • Explore the Ducal Palace
  • Guimaraes Town Hall
  • Stroll the historic Old Town of Guimaraes 
  • Check out Largo da Oliveira
  • Food in Guimaraes – lunch or snacks for the day trip
  • Visit Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira
  • Largo de São Tiago
  • Azulejos of the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Children’s House
  • Visit the Church Igreja de São Francisco
  • Visit Museu Arqueológico Martins Sarmento
  • Hang out at Jardim do Carmo
  • Admire Largo da República do Brasil

Guimaraes is an ideal destination for those who want to explore a fascinating medieval city and learn about the rich history of Portugal. 

And its distance from Porto makes it an ideal day trip. 

Read: One day in Porto itinerary | Best photo spots in Porto

Getting to Guimarães from Porto

Guimaraes is located north of Porto. The road distance is about 51.9 km or 32. 24 miles. 

You can get to Guimaraes in a variety of ways and budgets, and travel time is anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour and a half,

Girl at the republic square in Old Town Guimarães Portugal
View of Guimarães Portugal

Driving (Car rental, gas expense)

You can drive to Guimaraes, and it will take you about 40 to 50 minutes, one way.

Train ($4 to $7+ USD)

Trains depart frequently from both São Bento and Campanhã stations to Guimaraes, and it takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes. This is one of the cheapest ways to get there.  São Bento station is located in the heart of Porto.

Once you arrive at the Guimaraes train station, you have to walk 10 minutes to the historic town centre. 

Note that over the weekends, the train departures might be busy and also delayed, so we recommend opting for another mode of transportation during this time. 

Old Town Guimarães Portugal
Old Town Guimarães Portugal

Bus ($4 to $11+ USD)

You can also take a FlixBus from Porto Camelias to the Guimaraes bus station. There are multiple departures from Porto, and it takes about 45 minutes to get there. 

Guided Tour ($80 + USD round trip + meal)

There are full-day tours leaving from Porto to Guimaraes which include a round trip and sightseeing in the city. 

This tour combines a visit to Braga and you can also opt for a traditional lunch and a pickup and drop-off service. Click to reserve your spot!

Some of the top things to do in Guimarães in one day include the following

Visit the Guimaraes Castle

The Castle of Guimarães is one of the main attractions in the city. The imposing fortress is located on top of a hill in the center of town and offers stunning views of the surrounding area. 

Inside the Castle of Guimarães
Inside Castle of Guimarães

The castle was built in the 10th century and has been well-preserved, making it a popular spot for history buffs and photographers alike. It was built under the orders of Mumadona Dias as a military fortification. 

Girl walking at the Castle of Guimarães
Castle of Guimarães rectangular tower tops
View of Palace of the Dukes from the Castle
View of Palace of the Dukes from the Castle

You can visit the castle today, and admire the Romanesque architecture – rectangular towers, the military square, and the central keep. 

Girl walking at the Castle of Guimarães
Wear comfortable shoes to walk the Castle of Guimarães

The castle also includes a lot of Gothic characteristics that are worth checking out. Wear comfortable shoes to climb the towers and soak in the views!

The castle has been declared a National Monument and is one of Guimarães’ most popular tourist attractions. 

Exhibits inside the Castle of Guimarães
Exhibits inside the Castle of Guimarães
Castle of Guimarães entrance sign
Castle of Guimarães entrance

So, if you’re visiting Guimarães, a stop at the Castle is a must!

  • Address: R. Conde Dom Henrique, 4800-412 Guimarães, Portugal
  • Opening hours: Every day from 09:00 am to 06:00 pm
  • Entry fee: 1.50 euros

Church of São Miguel do Castelo

After a short walk from the castle, you will find a historic 12th-century Romanesque church of São Miguel do Castelo. 

Access to the church is free. It is believed that a very courageous young man was baptized here. 

São Miguel do Castelo gravestones
São Miguel do Castelo gravestones

As you enter the church you will find that the floor is covered with gravestones. These reflect the prominent members of the nobility of medieval Portugal.

  • Address: R. Conde Dom Henrique3, 4800-412 Guimarães, Portugal
  • Opening hours: Every day from 09:00 am to 06:00 pm, except Thursdays
  • Entry fee: NA

Explore the Ducal Palace – Paço Dos Duques De Bragança

The Palace of the Dukes of Braganza is a medieval estate and former residence of the first Dukes of Braganza. It is a short walk from the castle complex. 

Entrance to Palace of the Dukes of Braganza
Entrance to Palace of the Dukes of Braganza

The palace was built by Afonso, Count of Barcelos, the illegitimate son of John I of Portugal in the 15th century. You can visit the estate for an entry fee. 

Inside the palace, there are several floors with displays and exhibits. The ground floor has the kitchen and store rooms that were used by the servants. 

Inside the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza in Guimaraes
Inside Palace of the Dukes of Braganza

On the first floor are the rooms of the Duke and Duchess and the chapel. It also has a nice covered balcony. 

The second (highest) floor is now used for temporary exhibitions. You will love the collections of furniture, carpets, and copies of the Pastrana tapestries that depict episodes of the Age of Discoveries from India, China, North Africa, and the Far East.

Windows inside the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza
Stunning windows inside the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza

Plan to visit this attraction, and set aside 45 minutes to an hour to explore. 

  • Address: R. Conde Dom Henrique 3, 4800-412 Guimarães, Portugal
  • Opening hours: Every day from 09:00 am to 08:00 pm
  • Entry fee: 5 euros

Visit the Guimaraes Town Hall

From the castle, you will enter the beautiful Rua de Santa Maria, full of cobblestone lanes and beautiful old buildings. 

Medieval archway Rua de Santa Maria Old Town Guimarães Portugal
Medieval archway Rua de Santa Maria Old Town Guimarães Portugal

Here is where you will find the 16th-century Baroque convent of Santa Maria, which is now the Town Hall of Guimaraes. 

There is a 2-story cloister in the classicist style inside the structure. Also found inside the building are a beautiful banquet hall with wooden ceilings, and an extensive collection of portraits, furniture, carpets, and porcelain from the days of the convent. 

Town hall of Guimaraes
Old Hall of Guimaraes 
  • Address: Largo Conego Jose Maria Gomes, S/N, Guimarães 4804-534, Portugal
  • Opening hours: Every day, except the weekend from 09:30 am to 5:30 pm
  • Entry fee: NA

Stroll the Historic Old Town of Guimaraes 

Guimaraes historic centre is very quaint and lovely for a wander. I absolutely loved it – strolling the cute lanes, admiring the colorful houses, churches, and pretty flowers!

Lanes of the historic Old Town of Guimaraes 
Historic Old Town Town

Wander through the streets and take in the sights and sounds of this charming town. Be sure to visit amazing buildings, and churches along the way and learn about the town’s rich history.

After exploring the Old Town, enjoy a delicious meal at one of Guimaraes’ many excellent restaurants. But first, make your way to this popular square. 

Make note of these symbols as you wander through the old town of Guimaraes
Make note of these symbols as you wander through the old town of Guimaraes

Check out Largo da Oliveira

The Largo da Oliveira is a large square in the historic town centre of Guimaraes. The square owes its name to a centuries-old olive tree that was planted here. 

This is a lovely spot to relax, grab a snack and drinks (or lunch), and just enjoy the beautiful ambiance. 

Cafes at the Largo da Oliveira
Cafes at the Largo da Oliveira

The Largo da Oliveira is one of the most popular places in Guimaraes and should not be missed on a visit to this historic town. Access to the square is open 24/7. 

Food in Guimaraes – lunch or snacks for the day trip

At the main square, you will find many places to hang out and have lunch. 

In Guimarães due to many convents nearby, you will find a ton of sweet delights that were traditionally prepared by nuns. And most of them are egg-based (just like the pastel de nata, the famous Portuguese custard tart).

Restaurants in Guimaraes town centre

Try tortas de Guimarães, which is made of egg yolks, along with almonds and cinnamon. They are filling, try it with a cuppa coffee on the side. Almond cakes are popular too. 

If you prefer something savory, opt for papas de sarrabulho which is a hearty meat dish, consisting of pork products, beef and chicken. And grilled sardines are also available here. 

Guimaraes small cafes also have yummy ice-creams and cream pastries! 

After a quick lunch, continue exploring the area in and around Largo da Oliveira. 

Visit Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira

The Largo da Oliveira is a great place to take in the medieval atmosphere of Guimaraes. The square is also home to the Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira, a collegiate church which is also a National Monument. 

greja de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira on the Largo da Oliveira
Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira (left) on the Largo da Oliveira

The church dates back to the 10th century and is dedicated to the Saviour of the World, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Holy Apostles. It is definitely worth a visit!

  • Address: R. Conde Dom Henrique 3, 4800-412 Guimarães, Portugal
  • Opening hours: Every day from 09:00 am to 08:00 pm
  • Entry fee: 5 euros

Largo de São Tiago: 

Located on the northern side of the square is a medieval building that was home to the town hall. Beside this is another square the Largo de São Tiago. 

Largo de São Tiago in Guimaraes with cafes near it
Cafes in and around Largo de São Tiago

We found this area just by wandering, and it is a nice spot for photos or just to admire the history of Guimaraes through its architecture. 

It has a pure medieval feel, and some buildings look quite old as well, but it is maintained so you can walk near it. But the heritage feel makes it so pretty!

Azulejos of the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Children’s House

The Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Carmo is one of the prettiest churches in Guimarães. The stunning azulejos outside the church walls will grab your attention, and for good reason. It is BEAUTIFUL, and large without any distractions. 

Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Carmo blue and white tiles in Guimaraes
The gorgeous Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Carmo ajulezos

The church dates back to the 17th century and was dedicated to Saint Teresa, a Spanish Carmelite nun. You can enter the church to see the main altar for Nossa Senhora do Carmo (Our Lady of Mount Carmel). 

View of Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Carmo Guimaraes day trip
Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Carmo

The body of the church is divided from the chancel by a stone arch, and is enriched by two side altars: that of the Gospel, dedicated to Saint Anne and of the Epistle, Nossa Senhora do Carmo.

Nearby is also a Children’s House, and kids will wave at you as you pass along (so cute, Portugal just warms up my heart!)

  • Address: Largo Martins Sarmento, Guimarães, Portugal
  • Opening hours: Every day, except weekends from 10:00 am to 06:00 pm
  • Entry fee: 1 euro

See the Church Igreja de São Francisco

We are adding another church to the afternoon, but this one is a special one. The Igreja da Sao Francisco dates back to the 15th century, and is part of an old convent. 

The exteriors have a nice tilework, which is worth checking out. Inside the church you will find gothic style interiors with rich ornamentation, gilded archway, paired with beautiful blue and white azulejos.

  • Address: R. Padre Gaspar Roriz 124, 4810-531 Guimarães, Portugal
  • Opening hours: Every day, except Monday from 09:30 am to 5:30 pm with breaks in the afternoon. To view the exterior, you can visit it anytime
  • Entry fee: Fee

Visit Museu Arqueológico Martins Sarmento

This is a hidden gem, almost overlooked especially when you are on a Guimaraes day trip from Porto. But if you can squeeze this in, so do.

This museum is located in the cloister of the former convent of São Domingos. Inside you will find exhibits and displays of Discoveries made at Iron Age castros that were brought from across the region. 

There are also unique Celtic symbols found in these stones, from sun, animals to human figures, and on some, there are Christian symbols as well. 

  • Address: R. Paio Galvão 2, Guimarães, Portugal
  • Opening hours: Every day, except Mondays. Tuesday to Saturday 9:30 am – 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
  • Entry fee: 1.50 euros

Hang out at Jardim do Carmo

Another beautiful garden in Guimaraes that is worth checking out. It is located by the Convent of Carmo. You will find a 16th century fountain here.

  • Address: Largo Martins Sarmento 55, Guimarães, Portugal
  • Opening hours: 24/7
  • Entry fee: NA

Admire Largo da República do Brasil

Largo da República do Brasil is a stunning floral display located near the centre, facing the Church of Consolação and Santos Passos. It is one of the prettiest spots in the city of Guimaraes. 

Girl at Largo da República do Brasil
Largo da República do Brasil: Day trip Porto Guimarães Portugal

Note that this is a busy roundabout, so exercise caution to cross the road and then soak in the view!

In and around the square, you will find bakeries and ice-cream stores to pick up a snack (or two) before you leave. 

  • Address: Largo República do Brasil, Guimaraes 4810-446 Portugal
  • Opening hours: 24/7
  • Entry fee: NA

Where to stay in Guimaraes Portugal?

Guimarães is a wonderful destination in northern Portugal, and by staying here for overnight or more days, you can explore nearby places such as Braga, known for the stunning Bom Jesus Sanctuary. 

Or you can head to the nearby Penha park and sanctuary. It is located uphill, so you will be welcomed to stunning views. You can also hop the cable car to Penha from Guimarães.

Houses near the Largo da Oliviera
Houses near the Largo da Oliviera

Beyond day trips, you can stay at one of these places in Guimaraes, 

  • Santa Luzia ArtHotel: This is a beautiful luxury hotel located in the heart of Guimaraes. It also has a restaurant and bar on-site. During summers, the hotel has a seasonal outdoor pool and sun terrace. Check availability here
  • Hotel da Oliveira: Located at the Largo da Oliveira is this 4 star hotel with modern facilities. You will find tons of cafes, restaurants and landmarks nearby like the Convento de Santo António dos Capuchos and Guimarães Castle. Book a stay here
  • Hotel de Guimarães: Located in the heart of historical Guimarães, Hotel de Guimarães is a gorgeous place to call home. The hotel features a spacious indoor pool, and a sauna where you can book a spa day. The Palace of the Dukes of Bragança, the city walls and the Salado Monument are within a 15-minute walk. Check out photos and availability here

Guimaraes is known as the birthplace of Portugal: Why it is worth a visit

Guimaraes is known as the birthplace of Portugal for several reasons, and is definitely worth visiting for a day trip from Porto.

Guimaraes the birthplace of Portugal
Guimaraes the birthplace of Portugal

Firstly, it was here that Afonso Henriques, the first king of Portugal, was born in 1109. Secondly, it was from Guimaraes that Afonso Henriques set out to conquer Lisbon from the Moors in 1147, an event which marks the beginning of Portugal as an independent nation. 

And thirdly, the Battle of Sao Mamede, which was fought just outside Guimaraes in 1128, is considered to be the decisive battle in the formation of Portugal. 

For all these reasons, Guimaraes holds a very special place in Portuguese history and culture.

Unlike popular belief though, Guimaraes was not the capital of Portugal in the past. Coimbra was. 

We hope you enjoyed our blog post, and found our Guimaraes travel guide and practical travel tips useful! 

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