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Day trip to Braga and Guimarães
Only thirty minutes away by car, these two small cities are a must-see. They are charming, traditional, very typical of this part of northern Portugal and historically significant. Guimarães is considered the cradle of the nation, since it is Afonso Henriques’ birth place, the first king of the country. Visit the medieval castle and get lost amidst the many cobbled streets and squares. Braga, one of the oldest cities in the country, is just some minutes away by car. A stroll around its ancient streets will be most pleasant as there are plenty of pretty churches and squares to be enjoyed, and do not miss the unique Bom Jesus do Monte. It is a bit away from city center, but the zigzagging stairwells and sculptures depicting religious figures are quite interesting. You can either visit both cities on the same day or travel unhurriedly staying overnight in the region. If you should choose the latter, we recommend the Vila Gale Hotel in Braga, a converted 16th century hospital and convent. It is now a stunning and charming hotel, very well located in the center of the old town. For a delicious meal and nice views, try São Gião restaurant, outside Guimarães, overlooking the Moreira Valley and top notch gastronomy. Anyway, if you prefer eating around the city center you will not find any difficulties as both cities are filled with very good traditional style eateries.