Guimaraes © Oliveira
The historic town is regarded as the birthplace of Portugal, because it was here in 1128 that Afonso Henriques became the first king of the country, which was still largely under Moorish control. The town has many medieval buildings and fortifications, and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the main attractions is the tiny Romanesque church where Afonso was allegedly baptised, and the imposing Palace of the first Duke of Braganza.
There are numerous other Gothic, Romanesque and Baroque delights to discover in walking around the town. There are also two excellent museums: The Museu Alberto Sampaio, south of the castle, contains religious art and relics and is housed in a monastery, while the Museu Arquelogico Martins Sarmento displays the finds from a nearby Celtic hill settlement.