The New York Times has listed Guimarães as one of 41 places to visit in the world. The northern city deserves praise because it is not only steeped in history and wonderful architecture, but it has been selected as a 2012 European Capital of Culture.
In its description of the city, the NYT says it is considered the birthplace of the country, yet the population today is one of the youngest in Europe – with half being under 30. That may account for the tremendous support enjoyed by the local football team, Vitória Guimarães – a premier league team that is renowned as having the most ardent supporters in the country.
The medieval castle was the birthplace of Afonso Henriques, who fought the armies of his mother in 1128 and was declared the first king of Portugal. The largely granite architecture of those times is well preserved and this led to UNESCO making the city centre a World Heritage Site. As well as the castle, pay a visit to the Museu do Paço dos Duques de Bragança, have lunch or a coffee in the popular square “Largo da Oliveira” – so-called because of the centuries-old olive tree planted in the middle of the square.