GUIMARÃES never misses an opportunity to remind you of its place in Portuguese history. Indeed, it was here that the country’s first monarch, Dom Afonso Henriques, was born in 1110, and the city became the first capital and court of the fledgling kingdom of “Portucale”. Although Guimarães subsequently lost its pre-eminent status to Coimbra (elevated to Portuguese capital in 1143), it has never relinquished its sense of self-importance, something that’s evident from the omnipresent reminder that Portugal nasceu aqui (Portugal was born here), the town’s motto. With a carefully preserved kernel of medieval monuments, cobbled streets, delightful squares and honey-coloured houses, the old centre retains both a grandeur and a tangible sense of history that’s helped earn it UNESCO World Heritage status. But it’s far from a museum piece – its contemporary attractions were showcased during its stint as 2012 European Capital of Culture, while the local university lends it a youthful exuberance and lively nightlife, at its best during the end of May student-week festivities.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Portugal features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

9 of the best pousadas in Portugal

9 of the best pousadas in Portugal

From Gothic monasteries and riverside palaces, to Moorish castles that loom over terraced hillsides, Portugal has a good deal of striking places to stay. Its c…

12 Oct 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
Get on board: the 5 best European river cruises

Get on board: the 5 best European river cruises

Among a certain segment of travellers, cruising is sometimes maligned: the dismal buffet and watered-down cocktails. Those kitschy lounge acts. The contrived sh…

29 Mar 2016 • AnneLise Sorensen insert_drive_file Article
Our expert's guide: the best area to stay in Lisbon

Our expert's guide: the best area to stay in Lisbon

Heading to the Portuguese capital this year? Whether you want rich history or shops galore, these are the best areas to stay in Lisbon according to our expert.…

09 Feb 2016 • Matthew Hancock insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month