Guimarães Castle

Guimarães, Portugal

The Castle of Guimarães was built under the orders of Mumadona Dias in the 10th century to defend the monastery from attacks by Moors and Norsemen. At the end of the 11th century the castle was heavily expanded and remodeled, under the direction of Count Henry, to act as his residence. The castle became the official royal residence from 1139, when Portugal became independent from the Kingdom of León, until circa 1200. 

Between the end of the 13th and beginning of the 14th century, the castle was remodelled by King Denis, resulting in the form that stands to this day. In 1369, King Henry II of Castile invaded Portugal and encircled the castle of Guimarães, but was defeated by its population and forces. Sometime between 1383 and 1433, the two towers that flank the main entrance were order built by King John I of Portugal.

After the castle's demolition was abandoned in the 19th century, many of the houses, estates and lodgings around the castle were expropriated. The first attempts at restoration occurred during the mid-20th century.

Today Guimarães castle area is delineated by walls forming a pentagram, similar to a shield, that includes eight rectangular towers, military square and central keep. Originating in the foundations of a Roman structure, from the writings of Alfredo Guimarães, it was later elaborated on the French model, in its current the form of a shield, with reduced central yard and difficult accesses. It includes several Gothic characteristics, owing to its remodelling at the end of the 13th century, when the keep and residences were constructed (possibly over pre-existing structures).

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Guimarães, Portugal
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Founded: 10th century AD
Category: Castles and fortifications in Portugal

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Christina Chung (2 years ago)
Given the weather, fog, and winter colours, the castle and palace looked absolutely eerie and beautiful! It cost 6 euros for the combined ticket and both can be done in an hour. The palace is original and underwent some renovations but the castle was completely rebuilt in the 1940s. There's not much to see actually and the outside is way better than the inside. We couldn't go to the very top of the tower as it was cordoned off. There is free parking around the area.
Dário Silva (2 years ago)
It's a historic site of great importance for Guimarães and the whole of Portugal and the mighty walls and towers, are very well preserved...the imposing original fortress was built in the 10th century to defend the Monastery of Santa Maria from the incursions of the Moors. It's located on a hill overlooking the city below...Inside of the castle, you can climb inside the tribute tower, while visiting a small exhibition that tells us the history of the castle and of Portugal. The tour is well organized and takes little time. Entrance to the visit is paid: The ticket is very cheap, only 2 euros, so it's worth visiting the interior.
Traveling Duo (2 years ago)
We loved our time here. You have the option to buy a combined ticket for the palace and the fortress or just to one of the sites. I recommend to buy the combined as you’ll love to see both places. BTW, you can only buy them at the palace, so don’t go to the fortress without a ticket. The palace is well maintained and they have explanations of each room in 4 different languages. Staff is polite and helpful. The only room for improvement is that the path to follow is not always clearly indicated. The fortress is about 2-3 minutes walk from the palace. The inside it’s not breathtaking, but it’s a great structure to see.
Praveen Mehrotra (2 years ago)
The Guimarães has important place in history of Portugal and the castle has in history of Guimarães. About 1000 years old the castle has still been maintained well for the visitors. Platforms have been erected to make it easy for visitors. Some wonderful views of the city can be had from this castle. Please take a combo ticket with Duque’s palace.
Lynne Lin (2 years ago)
Best restored mediaeval castle I have seen In Portugal since I arrived. The outside wall is completely restored and the inside has a keep. Inside of keep is three levels of exhibit of the king and its lineage as well as some of the battle stories.
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