Portugal Revisited – 1. Footloose In Guimarães

Guimarães is the birthplace of the Portuguese nation. Afonso Henriques, the first independent king of Portugal was born here in 1110 and used the city to launch the main thrust of the Reconquista against the Moors.

We visited Guimarães in the summer of 2016. We were on our fourth wine tour of Portugal and were on our way to Ponte de Lima in the northern Minho. We arrived that morning in Porto after catching an early morning flight from Manchester.

The Castle

We started at the castle which looms over the city. It dates back to the 10th century and is believed to be the birthplace in 1110 of Portugal’s first king, Afonso Henriques.

Chapel of S. Miguel


The font where Portugal’s first king, Afonso Henriques was baptized is kept in the Romanesque chapel of São Miguel, tucked into the western end of the castle. Mass is celebrated here annually on the king’s birthday to commemorate the event.

Paço dos Duques de Bragança

“Standing at the foot of the castle hill is the Palace of the Dukes of Bragança. Begun in 1401 on the orders of Dom Afonso, the first Duke of Bragança, this magnificent royal residence follows a Burgundian style of architecture in deference to Dom Afonso’s taste for all things French. The palace was completed in 1442, but fell into disuse after the seat of the Bragança family was transferred in the early 16th century to Vila Viçosa. In 1933, the building underwent extensive renovation to become the official presidential residence during António Salazar’s dictatorship.”

Monument to King Afonso Henriques

Just below the palace of the Dukes of Braganca is the monument to kind Afonso Heriques.


A Walk Through The Town

We walked through the historic centre of Guimarães to Restaurant Historico.

Lunch At The Historico

The food and service here is excellent. We ate a selection of starters followed by grilled octopus washed down with wonderful local Alvarinho.


The tour was arranged by Mafalda Nicolau Almeida of Miles Away

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