Getting from Porto to Guimaraes Portugal isn’t hard but there are definitely some things you should know prior to planning. This is your best resource on how to plan this trip.
Guimaraes is a beautiful small city located in the Northwest of Portugal known as Portugal’s birthplace. It is definitely worth visiting if you want to explore other travel destinations from Porto.
It makes for the perfect day trip because of it’s proximity, it is around 55 kilometers from one bus station to the other. I will be showing you the cheapest and quickest travel route on how to get to Guimaraes from Porto.
This isn’t for anyone who is renting a car. Instead, this post is for anyone who is taking public transportation independently and wants to avoid going with a tour group.
Getting from Porto to Guimaraes
If you Google this, you’ll get an answer to take the train but that’s bad advice considering the train is a longer route vs the car and it costs more.
The easiest way to get from Porto to Guimaraes is a Flixbus. It is also the cheapest, it cost me 1.99 euros and the travel time was 45 minutes from Porto Camelias bus station.
A Flixbus fare for this route ranges from 1.99 -2.99 euros. The fares range depending on time and day.
I like Flixbus and will always vouch for them because I have been using them for years. They’re reliable and it’s always a short easy trip. Bonus, you sometimes get free Wifi and if you do get wifi, they sometimes provide cute travel guides (you’ll see it once you connect to their wifi) for free.
They’ve been disinfecting and cleaning their bus due to the pandemic so it was super clean and empty. There were about 5 other people on my bus to Guimaraes (all more than 6 feet apart) so you don’t have to worry about crowds of people. Do keep in mind this was mid-January which means low tourist season.
Taking the train getting from Porto to Guimaraes
Taking the train will take you an hour – hour and 20 minutes and it will cost around 3.25 euros for the train fare each way plus another 0.50 euro cents for the train card.
The train card is used to validate the train ticket prior to boarding so you’re ready for when the controller comes by to check your ticket.
Due to the length of the train, this is why there’s no question that the bus is quicker to take to Guimaraes from Porto.
What to do in Guimaraes Portugal
Guimaraes Portugal is small, historical, medieval, and conveniently walkable. After you arrive in the bus station you can walk through the city and reach a lot of the important monuments on foot.
That is what I did and it took me a total of 3 hours. I did visit the castle but not the palace. I wanted to get to Braga which was my next stop. (personal choice)
If you are going to visit the palace in addition to most of the major monuments, I would say it would take you about 6 – 8 hours of sightseeing. This includes walking time.
Consider having a whole entire day in Guimaraes if you want to see the monuments slowly, have breakfast, and have lunch there. Below are the best tourist attractions in beautiful Guimaraes.
Top tourist attractions in Guimaraes
During the end of the 11th century, D. Henrique organized the construction of this castle. It was unfortunately abandoned until the 20th century. That’s when repairs began and it was then announced a national monument. It is worth the stop.
Open daily from 9 am – 6 pm. The ticket price is 2.00 euros if you are just seeing the castle. You can get a joint ticket with the palace which is 6 euros.
Palace of the Dukes of Braganza:
This stunning palace was built by the son of the Duke of Braganza, D. Afonso in XV. It was eventually neglected and then rebuilt in 1937. 20 years later it was opened to the public and established as a museum. If you are into Portuguese history, I would check it out.
You’ll find Portuguese furniture and tons of history inside. I was strapped on time going to my next destination but it looks beautiful.
Open daily from 9 am – 6 pm. Free 1st Sunday of the month. You can also get the combined ticket of 3 venues which is the castle, the palace, and the Alberto Sampaio museum for 8.00 euros.
The Couros aka the Leather zone of Guimaraes:
This is the past leather district of the city during the Middle ages.
Walking through the streets in this area, you’ll easily find tools and old machinery that used to be used for making leather and tanning goods. To get here you can put in couros in GPS or Centro Cultural Vila Flor and then walk a bit. It is free and I would consider this an open-air museum.
Largo da Oliveira:
This is a famous square in Guimaraes that is known for a supposed miracle that happened in 1342. The story is that a Norman raised their cross on an esplanade and an olive tree started to grow again after drying up for some time. This is free and you can visit anytime since it’s a public square.
Padrão do salado
Within the square mentioned above, you’ll find the Gothic-style monument that was built around 1340. It is known for celebrating the victory Christians had over the Muslims in the Battle of Salado in the South of Spain. Spain used to own Portugal so there is tons of history that have to do with both countries.
Church of our Lady of Consolation:
This is a beautiful church that offers free entrance. It was finished in 1785 so yeah super historical. The hours are open 7:30am – 12pm, and 3-5pm, Sundays – 7:30am – 12pm. If religion isn’t something you are into, i do recommend visiting the gardens of this church, they are well kept and worth visiting.
Largo do Toural:
This is another famous square in the city. If you are walking from the bus station you will see it before the Oliveira square. Bullfights and cattle events used to happen here and used to be quite busy during the Medieval age. Free and open at all hours.
Santa Clara Convent:
You can get to this convent by walking the famous Santa Maria street. Since 1975 this has been the city council. It is free to enter and worth taking a stroll. Its popularity is from being built in the 16th century and was one of the richest convents in Guimaraes.
Its open Monday – Friday from 9 am – 5 pm.
Santa Maria street:
This is one of the most medieval streets in Guimaraes. It is super well known because of all the important religious influential people who used to live here. During the middle ages this was one of the busiest streets because of the important figures residing there.
Arriving by bus
After you leave the bus station it’s super easy to get to the city center. You can uber or take a cab if you wish but I personally prefer to walk and see what I come across.
If you chose to walk, it will take you about 15-20 minutes. If you are hungry and want fuel like I did, I recommend stopping at a cute cafe/market that is named Mercado de something. (apologize can’t remember the full name)
You will see it if you are passing by Rua De Joao, you will know if you are in the right place if you are seeing vegetables and market-like things inside. I got a coffee and bread with jelly/butter and it wasn’t even 2 euros.
Is Guimaraes worth visiting
Yes, Guimaraes is certainly worth visiting, it is beautiful, gothic-like, and incredibly historical. If your travel theme happens to be religion or history, then you will love it. Even if it’s not your theme, and you are looking for a great day trip from Porto, I recommend it.
There are tons of churches, religious monuments, and more to check out in the city. It is also very interesting to be in one of the oldest cities of Portugal and walk through the historic streets.
I hope you enjoyed learning about getting from Porto to Guimaraes. Today I showed you the best route on how to get there, the train option, and also what to do in this beautiful city. Guimaraes is worth visiting, and if you give it a chance, I’m sure you won’t regret it.
Where would you go first?
**Disclaimer – images are my own do not use, take, or share without my permission.