Guimaraes Castle is a medieval castle in the city of Guimaraes in the northern part of Portugal. Built in the 10th century to defend against attacks from the Moors and Normans, it was expanded during the early Gothic period of Portuguese architecture. The walls of the castle form a pentagram, with eight rectangular towers, a military square and a central keep, which was added in the 13th century. Visitors can walk along the castle walls and visit the chapel of Sao Miguel inside.
Legend has it that Portugal’s first king was born at Guimaraes Castle and it is considered one of the country’s greatest historical symbols. The castle was declared a national monument in 1910 and the town as a whole is a UNESCO World Heritage site, as well as a former European Capital of Culture. Visitors can stay overnight in a pousada in Guimaraes or visit as a day trip from either Porto or Braga.
The town of Guimaraes is best reached from Porto. From the Porto airport, take the Metro to either the Campanha or Sao Bento stations to catch the train to Guimaraes. Alternatively, a direct bus from the airport runs to Guimaraes multiple times a day, costing around 14 Euro roundtrip. The Rede Expressos bus company also runs buses to Guimaraes from other major cities in Portugal. Guimaraes Castle is located in the center of the town and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.