How to spend a day in Guimarães (outside of Porto)

Thanks to Guillermo from the AC Hotel Porto. He gave us three different recommendations for our day trip outside of Porto. I didn’t want us to be so far away from Porto. My requirements had to include travel time of about an hour from our hotel. He recommended Aviero, Braga, and Guimaraes. We picked Guimaraes for the castles, it sounded like a great way to say that we’ve seen the birthplace of Porto.

How to get to Guimaraes

While we had our Andante Tour card, that card would not work to get us all the way to Guimaraes. From Porto, you can get to Guimaraes from Sao Bento Station, or in our case, we picked up the train from Campanha station. This was what we had to do get there:

  • Take the metro from Estadio do Dragao towards Campanha – use the Andante Tour Card
  • Upon arriving in Campanha, go upstairs and get out of the station
  • Go towards the Campanha Station which was right outside the metro station
  • You will see a huge white building on your left
  • Once you go inside, you’ll see different ticket booths with #s.
  • I lined up and was told (after being in line for 10 minutes) that I was in the wrong line
  • I had to go to Booth 7 or 8
  • Purchase your roundtrip ticket to Guimaraes, cost_______
  • Find out which track or line you’ll be taking, our was Line 1
  • Make sure to validate your ticket by tapping your ticket card onto one of the yellow machines
  • Wait for your train to arrive

Our train arrived around 10:25am. The train was spacious, clean, and it was not crowded at all. Make sure to have your tickets handy and ready for inspection. There were three passengers who got onboard, and upon seeing the inspector, they tried to get out of the train, but the inspector was quick enough to get to them and charged them for their fare. They did not have their tickets.

 

Other than that ticket fiasco, the train ride to Guimaraes was uneventful. The ride was smooth. We were able to see a bit of the country side. Lots of homes with vegetable gardens in their backyard That was cool to see.

You’re in Guimaraes, now what

Yes, that’s exactly what I asked myself. You see, I didn’t really do much homework about Guimaraes other than the suggestion from Guillermo. I had no idea how to get around Guimaraes.

So I gotta go the old fashioned way and I asked for help from the ticket office. I was advised no need to take a bus or other forms of transportation.    

Restaurante Transmontano

To go to the city center, from the metro station, turn left, and on the first street that I see, turn right. Prior to turning right, we picked up a quick sandwich not far from the station at Restaurante Transmontano. It wasn’t pricey at all. I got water and a sandwich for around 1.60 Euros. This place also offered free Wi-Fi, and free use of their toilet/restroom.

Once we ate the little sandwich, we made our way towards the city center. It was a good 5-10 minutes walk down these tiled/cobble stoned steps. It was a nice walk. Although we just had a small sandwich, once we go to the end of the block, I saw this other restaurant, Nova Avenida, and what caught my attention was their preparation of the rotisserie chicken.

Nova Avenida (near the city center)

We decided to order the chicken with salad and fries for 5.50 Euros. The server suggested soup. I wasn’t keen on having soup since it was already hot. But I saw the soup that the other customer was having and it looked too good to pass up. So I ordered soup as well. So glad I did.

Soup of the Day (Vegetable soup)

I had no idea how great the food was in this little joint. Maddie and I shared the chicken and the soup. Just delicious. The chicken was so flavorful and tender. It was juicy, not dry at all. The soup was thick and quite comforting. I highly recommend this restaurant as well. It’s perfect. We didn’t have to worry about being hungry when we explored Guimaraes.

Once we left the little restaurant, I still did not know where to go. I went to the nearest store, a book shop, and asked for the tourism office. One of the customers, a local, was kind enough to offer to walk us to main square and showed us the tourism office.

Tourism Office at Guimaraes

Now that was a treat. We could not have a seed for a better experience. We picked up a map from their tourism office, and we were off to visit the following sites.

Castelo – when I think of a castle, I was thinking of a place with lots of room, palatial in nature. This castle though, to me, looked more like a fort with its high walls. It gave us an opportunity to look outside the vastness of this little quaint town, Guimaraes. The ticket price at the Castle was 2 Euros.

Paco dos Duques – this was a beautiful building. This was the castle I had in mind filled grand ballrooms, bedrooms, place of worship, dining rooms, etc. One of the most moving things for me was entering the Capella – it was quiet, but music was playing, the singing of a male choir – it was very pure.

The chapel at Paco dos Duques

 

 

Divina Luna – this was an accidental gem. We were headed back to the main square, and I was in the mood to try local pastries. I chanced upon Divina Luna, not far from the tourism office.

I had the Tortas de Guimaraes. We also learned that this was a great place to hang out, with a couple of excellent sitting area. I highly recommend this place. You can relax, order pastries and coffee, get on the Wi-Fi, use the toilet. Katarina, the lady who assisted us was very attentive, and we thank her for her time. Obrigado, Katarina.

   

Olveira Square

Just as we made our way outside of the square, we saw this gorgeous outdoor garden/park with the church towards the end.

Add a fountain, and it was a perfect opportunity for pictures!

Iglesia de San Francisco – as we began making our way out of Guimaraes, we stumbled upon another beauty. The blue tiles were so vividly stunning.

We were in Guimaraes for about 4 hours. We could’ve spent more time. We were told about the medieval festival happening over the weekend, but we’d be gone by then. This was a little gem outside of Porto. I highly recommend taking this one hour trip outside of Porto, so you can see the birthplace of Portugal.

A Casa Guedes

Our train left Guimaraes around 5:12pm, and we made it back to Campanha station within an hour. From there, we decided to have our early dinner at A Casa Guedes.

We enjoyed the Roasted Pork Sandwich so much that we just had to come back. I made sure to use the hot sauce or spicy oil. That sure added a little kick to this delicious sandwich. No other fixings . Just bread and pork. So delish.

Today wasn’t extremely hot for a change. In fact, dark cloud started to set in. Maddie and I made our way back to our hotel, and by the time we got to our room, it started to rain. What a great day it was in Guimaraes.

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