Half-Day Guimarães Day Trip from Porto

Delve into Portugal's origins on this day trip to the nation's birthplace and former capital
From US$502 privately
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Tour Details
4.5 hours
Product Type
  • Guimarães Castle
  • Palace of the Dukes of Braganza
Photos & Highlights
  • Immerse yourself in Porto's history, culture, and notable landmarks on this charming day trip
  • Led by local expert or historian
Tour Description
For centuries, Guimarães has been at the forefront of Portuguese history. Situated in the old county (before Portugal was a country) it stands today as an exceptional example of how a medieval settlement has evolved to a modern European town from the 10th century. Nowadays, the cultural landscape of Guimarães is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. On this day trip from Porto—in the company of a historian or architect—you will delve into the historically rich past of this foundation city over the course of about four hours, visiting the castle, the medieval town center, and a number of other charming locations relevant to the tale of Guimarães.

Please note: Guimarães Castle is currently closed for reconstruction works. Your expert will extend your visit of the historical center of Guimarães and may include site visits such as the S. Francisco Convent or the Museum Alberto Sampaio, depending on interest.

Day Trip From Porto

Meeting your guide at Porto’s central train station, you'll take the train out to Guimaraes together and get started with a bit of background information about the UNESCO site itself and how you will spend the day. 

Upon arrival in Guimarães, you’ll hop in a taxi for a short ride to the city center, for an amble through the quaint and charming medieval streets. Your expert will note an array of architectural differences and details that fit within the traditional building styles of centuries before. You will spend some time soaking up the atmosphere and in two delightful squares: Largo da Oliveira and Praça de Santiago. On your route, you will also walk down the oldest street in the whole of the country. History resonates in this charming city, commonly referred to as the birthplace of Portugal.

[Don't have time for an excursion? Then try our Introduction to Porto Tour].

From Palaces to Tiny Romanesque Churches

Our next stop is a former residence called the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza. Inspired by 14th-century European architecture, this grand palace was constructed in the early 1420s by Afonso, Count of Barcelos, future Duke of Braganza. You’ll marvel at the open-air courtyard, the gothic arcades, and the columned walkways and discuss the varied rooms within, from the chapel to the boat-ceiling dining room to vibrant Flemish stained-glass windows. Steps away from the palace are, arguably, one of the most important buildings in Portugal: the Romanesque church where Afonso (the first King of Portugal) was probably baptized. Almost easy to miss as an unremarkable-looking church, your guide will draw your attention to the critical role it played in Portuguese history.

A King’s Castle

After these important sites, you will make your way to the big finale, a medieval 10th-century castle atop Largo Hill. As you admire the sprawl of Portuguese countryside below, your expert guide will set the scene on the approach to the medieval stronghold. You’ll learn of the Galician aristocrat, Mumadona, who was one of the most powerful women in the Northwest of the Iberian Peninsula. You’ll talk battles, kings, and the checkered past before descending the castle and returning through the medieval streets of Guimarães.

Please note: The steps in the castle are extremely steep and may be difficult to climb for young participants or those with mobility concerns. Please email us to discuss and we will ensure we help you reserve an appropriate itinerary for your group.


At the end of your 4.5 hours, the tour will finish in Guimarães, giving you the opportunity to stay there for lunch and return independently if you wish. You’ll leave your guide with a better understanding of the charming medieval city that has played such a critical role in Portuguese history and identity. With our packed itinerary of key sites, along with the freedom to keep exploring on your own after we leave one another, we’re sure you’ll be impressed with the first capital.


Where do we meet? Where does it end? 
The tour meets near Sao Bento train station in Porto. You will take the train to Guimarães with your guide (the ride is about 1 hour). The tour ends in Guimarães. You will have return train tickets that can be used anytime. Most people choose to stay in Guimarães, have lunch, and return to Porto independently.

Can this be done by car? 
While this tour is designed to travel by public transport, if you are booking privately we can certainly arrange for a car service. Please add the optional car to your order at check-out. 

Is this tour appropriate for children? 
This tour is not a part of our official family program. That said, we may be able to arrange a visit with a family-friendly guide. It should be noted the the castle in Guimarães has steep and unprotected staircases, which can be very tricky to manage with small children. Please contact us to discuss further if it's a good fit for your group. 

Is this tour walking intensive, and/or wheelchair accessible? 
We do cover extensive territory on this tour and there are many steep steps to climb at some sites. Please contact us with any questions; we will be happy to advise if this tour will be appropriate for you.
Where You'll Start
18 Reviews (4.76)

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Guide is an architect by background.
Thoroughly enjoyed our tour of Guimaraes. Francisco gave us so much information and pointed out interesting details about architecture and the art displayed in the castle. The town is beautiful and allows a wonderful “view” into a previous historical time.
Nadia is a wonderful, knowledgeable guide & we totally enjoyed spending time with her! However, we did not think there is enough of interest in Guimaráes to spend nearly $400 for two people, so we would not recommend this particular tour to any friends coming to Portugal. Also, FYI: The tour description says it ends at 1:30, but does not make it clear that at 1:30 we would still be in Guimaráes, not back in Porto.