It was in Guimarães that the first king of Portugal was born between the years of 1106-09. There was already a castle build here in the 950’s, from which he based his conquest of Portugal from the Moors.
As with most historic castles this one has been modified over the centuries. With that said, this castle is a fairly simple one. It basically consists of a defensive wall around a central tower built on the top of a
hill with a rock outcrop. In the courtyard, you can even see some of the large rocks coming out of the ground. Even though the castle is fairly simple it is one of the most historic sites in Portugal!
Right next door you will find the Dukes of Braganza Palace, which was began in 1420. This was never a royal palace, but does give a fantastic look into the life of nobility during the 15th and 16th centuries. The best parts for me are the exterior architecture from the courtyard, the restored vaulted roofs that look like an upside-down boat, and the chapel.
Now that we saw these two fantastic sites, we chose to walk down to Olive Square (Largo da Oliveira) where we found some amazing ice cream put in fresh homemade cones (this is enough for me to want to return ????). The ice cream was actually in the square next to Olive Square and both are great places to grab some food. All around the squares you will see historic building and homes including the local cathedral.
On our way out of town we drove up to the top of Penha Mountain. The drive was in the woods and the road was full of hairpin turns, but once we reached the top it was so worth it. The views of the town below were fantastic (check out yesterday’s POTD), but also the landscape up here had piles of large boulders you walk between and a beautiful forest. It was the perfect place to spend an hour in nature before we headed to the hustle and bustle of Porto, which will be the next blog.