Guimarães

Guimarães

Portugal

The proud birthplace of Afonso Henriques, the first independent king of Portugal (born here in 1110, he later used the city to launch the main thrust of the Reconquista against the Moors), and, thus, the Portuguese kingdom, Guimarães has beautifully preserved its illustrious past. Its medieval centre is a warren of labyrinthine lanes and picturesque plazas framed by 14th-century edifices, while on an adjacent hill stands a 1000-year-old castle and the massive palace built by the first duke of Bragança in the 15th century. Guimarães glory was recognised in 2001, when Unesco declared its old centre a World Heritage Site.