The cradle of Portugal
Favorite thing: Guimarães is commonly referred to as the cradle of Portugal. The reason for this is that D. Afonso Henriques rebelled against his mother – D. Teresa, a Spanish noble from the kingdom of Castilla y Leon – and won the battle against her that took place in S. Mamede (Guimarães) in 1128. He “won” the county and later on he declared a new kingdom called “Condado Portucalense” (from which derived the name of Portugal) and proclaimed himself king of the new kingdom (1139). Guimarães was declared the capital of the new kingdom.
Favorite thing: Guimarães is a pleasant city to visit. Main must sees of the so-called birthplace of Portugal are the castle, the palace and the church of S. Miguel, all situated in the same area. Also, the historic centre classified by Unesco as World Heritage site should not be missed.
Apart from the spots in the historic centre listed by Unesco, there are also several beautiful churches in Guimarães, such as the Church of S. Gualter, Church of S. Pedro and Church of N. Sra. da Oliveira.
Other characteristic that pleased me a lot in Guimarães were the quiet squares in less touristy areas of the historic centre. These small squares have benches shaded by big trees, and are covered by tree leaves, which were turning yellow/brown when I visited in October.
Favorite thing: To get information about the city and the major monuments visit the Tourism Office. There are two offices in the city: one of them situated in the historic centre and the second by the castle (I visited the later). I’d say that this later is a good option, as the castle and the Palace are a good starting point to discover the city. Parking here is somewhat easy (and free) and after visiting the castle and palace you may easily walk down the Street D. Maria to the squares. Just follow the map.