What it’s Like to Live in Guimarães… Should You Move Here?

By James Cave / Published: September 2020 / Last updated: May 2022
Posted in: Porto & Northern Portugal

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Famous for being “the birthplace of Portugal,” the small city of Guimarães is quickly becoming a popular destination on people’s travel itineraries. Guimarães is a very small city, and only has a population of around 50k people. It’s smaller than Braga, which has a population close to 140k, and much smaller than Porto which has a population of over 200k (more if you include nearby Vila Nova de Gaia).

Guimarães is home to several attractions, the most famous of which are Guimarães Castle, the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza, and the Penha Sanctuary. It has a mix of beautiful architecture, some of which is made up of wooden-framed houses that look like something you’d find in Central Europe, and the city is extremely compact and walkable.

Photos of Guimarães

Regional foods

Some typical dishes that you’ll see on restaurant menus in Guimarães include cabrito assado (roast kid goat), Arroz de pica no chão (rice cooked in rabbit or chicken blood), rojões (fried fatty cubes of pork with potatoes), bacalhau assado (roast bacalhau), sopa de nabos (turnip soup), and vitela assada (roast veal). Some of these are specific to Guimarães, but many are common across the whole of The Minho and Northern Portugal.

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There are also regional sweets and cakes, such as the Torta De Guimarães. The recipe for this cake uses several common Portuguese ingredients to create something unique. These ingredients include sugar, egg yolks, ground almonds, and a type of squash called “chila” or “gila.” The pastry is covered in a syrup, which gives it its crunchy texture.

Trying the local wine is also recommended, and it’s especially recommended in Guimarães where one of those local wines is Vinho Verde. Vinho Verde or “green wine” is a low alcohol white wine that has a slight spritz to it (normally 8.5% to 11%). Many people say that the wine doesn’t travel well, even to other parts of Portugal, so the best place to try it is here in the region itself.

Public transport & getting around

Guimarães City Centre is extremely walkable, and you shouldn’t need to worry about getting buses or other forms of transportation while you’re visiting. The only exception is the Penha Sanctuary, which is situated up a steep hill. Don’t worry: there’s a cable car if you didn’t remember to bring your walking boots!

Guimarães has good public transport, with both a train and a bus station and good connections to Porto. The Urban train ticket from Porto is normally cheaper than a bus ticket, but the bus is usually slightly faster (by around 10-15 minutes). It can also be booked in advance, and is typically a lot less crowded than the train.

  • For train tickets and timetables, visit cp.pt
  • For coach tickets, visit Rede Expressos, Flixbus.pt, and Busbud

The nearest airport to Guimarães is Porto Airport, which is located around 46 km away. Aside from renting a car and driving, the easiest way to get from Porto Airport to Guimarães is to take the GetBus which goes directly to and from outside of Arrivals at Porto Airport. Alternatively, you can get to Guimarães by bus or by train however this involves going to the bus station on 125, Campo 24 de Agosto or taking the train from either São Bento or Campanhã.

Nearby Towns & Cities

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