Guimarães Castle is one of the attractions you can visit on a day trip from Porto.
Guimarães is a city very near to Porto. We can get there quick and easily by train. It’s a very important city in the history of Portugal because it’s considered the birthplace of this country.
Click in the link to know other attractions to see one day in Guimarães
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Visiting the Castle of Guimarães
How to get there
The castle is (fortunately) located very close to the old town of Guimarães so it can be reached on foot from here.
Walk on Humberto Delgado avenue, then turn towards Dr. Joaquim de Meira street until you reach Dom Henrique street. You will first see the Palace of the Dukes of Bragança and immediately the castle. Anyway you will see signs indicating the way.
It can be seen in a short time because it’s small. In spite of that, it’s quite well preserved and it perfectly matches the natural landscape of Guimarães
You can find accommodation near the castle using the map below:
Prices and opening times
The Castle of Guimarães opens daily from 10 a.m. to 6 pm. The price of the adults ticket is €2, although there is also a combined ticket with the Palace of the Dukes for €6. On Sundays and holidays, admission is free before 2 pm for Portuguese citizens.
You can check more prices and information on the Guimarães official site. It’s in Portuguese but it has button to translate in any language.
Castle of Guimarães’ history
Guimarães Castle was originally built of wood in the 10th century by order of the Countess Mumadona Díaz. Its purpose was to defend the San Mamés monastery of Norsemen and Moors invasions.
Count Henry demolished it on the 11th century because it was already quite deteriorated. He rebuilt it and expanded it adding two entrances. The castle then became the official royal residence of the counts of Portucale. On the 13th century it takes its final form when king Denis remodeled it.
The castle played an important role in the battles for the independence of Portugal as it was besieged on many occasions. Between 1383 and 1433, 2 of its towers that flank the main entrance were built by order of King John I.
Towards the year 1653 the castle was in disuse and therefore in deterioration. They even considered to demolish it and reuse its stones for road improvements, but fortunately this never happened.
In the 20th century it was restored to its glorious original appearance and in 1910 it was declared a national monument. Its reopening was on June 4, 1940.
Being so central and small you can visit it if you do a day trip to Guimarães like we did.
We bought the combined ticket with the Palace of the Dukes, but first we visited the Castle of Guimarães.
There weren’t many visitors this day (in December), so we could take photos and explore at our pace. As I told you, the castle is well preserved and when you enter you’ll already appreciate how beautiful it is.
Inside there is an exhibition that explains a bit the history of Guimarães and the relevance of the castle. You can climb to the next floor where there are some screens with information.
Through maps, illustrations, timelines and games we approach to the medieval era when Portugal was founded by its first king Dom Afonso Henriques.
In a section of the castle there is a coffee vending machine (and other drinks but I just noticed coffee?) and benches to rest. It was cold so we bought a couple of coffees and rested for a while. The access to this little room is through a wood bridge fun to cross.
It is set to transmit that medieval vibe because there are some graphics and banners that take us to that time.
Is it worth it to visit the Castle of Guimarães?
In my opinion, it is worth visiting the Guimarães Castle. It is not very large and you must consider that it’s not a palace but a castle and as such its purpose was to defend the city. So don’t expect to see sumptuous rooms and luxury furniture.
For the low price to enter and its historical importance in the birth of Portugal it’s well worth checking it out. Besides, Guimarães is a city with a compact old town that can be explored in short time. That let us with more than enough time to see the castle, even if we have only a day.
It might interest you Sao Jorge castle in Lisbon, is it worth the visit?
Another reason to visit it is the views from the heights. Although it’s not a very high, place from here you’ll have access to the beautiful landscapes that surround the castle.
Kiddos will like it due to its fairytale-like look and they won’t get tired of touring it. Inside there are a few interactive activities for children to learn and have fun.
In general I enjoyed it a lot, and I liked it more than the Castle of Lisbon, to be honest, since it has a more defined shape.
What can you tell me? Have you visited the Castle of Guimarães? If so, did you like it? Or maybe you have plans to travel to Guimarães soon. Tell us about your trips in the comments section.
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Until next post and bon voyage!