One of my favorite cities on this trip was medieval Guimarães. We stayed at an old monastery converted into a hotel. In the fact, the history of the monastery is described below.
The city is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a 2012 European Capital of Culture. You will see a picture below with the words “aqui nasceu Portugal”, which means “ Portugal was born here”. Actually, Portugal’s first king, Alfonso Henriques, was born here. He eventually brought together lands between the Minho and Douro rivers. From Guimaeres, Afonso Henriques eventually took back Lisbon from the Moors in 1147. While the city was the first capital of Portugal, power eventually moved to Coimbra and later to Lisbon.
- Castelo de Guimarães – Alfonso Henriques was born in this castle (lots of photos of the ruins below).
- Paço dos Duques de Bragança (Palace of the Dukes of Bragança). The Paço dos Duques de Bragança is a 15th-century palace that once belonged to the dukes of Bragança but which is now the official regional seat of Portugal’s president. These are the photos below with the tapestries and heavy wood furniture with porcelain and paintings.
- Pousada de Guimarães, Santa Marinha – We stayed at this pousada (former monastery) from the 12th-century. It was originally founded by the wife of Dom Afonso Henriques to honor the patron saint of pregnant women. Our room was a former monk cell. We enjoyed the gardens on a sunny and warm February day. The views were also pretty extraordinary.
Thanks to Fodor’s Travel Guides, Trip Advisor, and Wikipedia for the great lessons that helped me to plan and summarize this trip.