Situated in the district of Braga, the quaint city of Guimarães is one of Portugal’s most important historical destinations. Portugal’s first king, Afonso Henriques, chose this former Roman city to be the administrative capital of the Portuguese kingdom after his victory at the Battle of São Mamede in 1128. Known as the birthplace of the nation, Guimarães is a fascinating place to visit, with its proud castle and a well-preserved medieval quarter. The city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2001.
This charming old town is a maze of narrow winding streets, flanked by old houses decorated with statues which lead to the impressive main square, Largo da Oliveira and the old Ducal Palace. For a true taste of the medieval atmosphere, visit Guimarães during the first weekend of August for the annual Festas Gualterianas (held since 1452), which features a medieval-style handicraft market, arts fair and lively costume parade.
Guimarães has been designated the European Capital of Culture for 2012 and will showcase a wide selection of concerts, events, and exhibitions to celebrate this achievement.