The best independent guide to north Portugal
The best independent guide to north Portugal
Porto - Braga - Aveiro - Douro - Guimarães - Monsanto - Lamego - Chaves - Serra da Estrela - Trancoso
Guimarães is a fascinating and historic Portuguese city, which is known as the birthplace of Portugal. Within the city there is an ancient castle, a medieval palace and an abundance of Portuguese charm. Along with the tourist sights, there is the traditional town centre to explore and Penha Hill, with its views and forested walks. In short, there is a lot to see in Guimarães and we considered it to be the best day trip from Porto.
Guimarães is situated to the northeast of Porto and is connected by a direct train service. The train is inexpensive, and the regular departures make it hassle-free to visit Guimarães as a day trip.
This article will provide a guide to the Guimarães train, and includes fares information, station guides and links to current timetables. The final section of the article explains how to travel from Porto airport to Guimarães.
Related articles: Guimarães introduction – Guimarães day trip (with map) – Day trips from Porto
The Porto-Guimarães railway is part of the urban Porto train network, and this unfortunately means that there are many stops along the route. The journey takes a tedious 1 hour 10 minutes, and the route is not that interesting, passing through non-descript towns and countryside.
Insider tip: For your day trip to Guimarães, it is advisable to plan the day around train times, as there can be a wait of up to two hours between departures from Guimarães in the afternoon. Most visitors plan to catch either the daily 15:53 service back to Porto or the 17:13 (Monday-Friday) 17:53 (weekend and public holidays) (correct Sep 2020).
There is no need to drive to Guimarães for a day trip, as the train is so easy and convenient. A car will always be more expensive due to the toll roads, and driving in central Porto can be challenging.
If you do drive the main car park of Guimarães is to the north of the historic centre, close to the castle (GPS 41.448859, -8.289203)
A single ticket from Porto to Guimarães costs €3.25/€1.65 (adult/child), a return ticket is the price of two singles €6.50/€3.30 (adult/child). The fare falls within “Zone 8” pricing bracket of the Porto urban train lines, and for a detailed fare guide, please see this link to the CP website:
(link opens a PDF, which may download on certain mobile phones)
Guimarães is the final station of the railway, and depending on the service, takes between 1h10min and 1h20min. There are ten daily departures, with six extra services Monday to Friday. The first daily departure from Porto is at 7:25 (or 6:20 Mon-Fri) and the last return services from Guimarães are at 21:48 and 22:47 (correct Sept 2019). For the latest timetable, please see the CP website:
Small group tours are an enjoyable and informative way to discover Guimarães, along with providing a chance to meet fellow travellers. Since the introduction of rating and reviews, the standard of group tours in Portugal has dramatically improved. Now tours are led by enthusiastic and knowledgeable guides, and cater for modern and worldly tourists.
We have worked with GetYourGuide.com for the previous six years and some of their best tours they offer for Guimarães include:
• Guimarães and Braga day tour with Entry Tickets and Lunch €90
• A popular tour of Braga and Guimarães €60
• Private tour of Guimarães and Braga (€195 for up to three people)
The trains that operate between Guimarães and Porto are modern, clean and well maintained. The route is also safe to travel late at night. The Guimarães train is also suitable for less mobile passengers, as the platforms are at the same height as the carriage doors.
Tickets are purchased from the ticket office or ticket machines. The ticket machines provide instructions in all common European languages and accept cash or card. The main ticket office in São Bento train station can get very busy, especially at rush hour.
Warning: Tickets must be purchased and validated before boarding the train; passengers should expect to get their tickets inspected, and fines are given for invalid (or non-validated) tickets.
Trains to Guimarães all depart from the São Bento train station (Estação de São Bento). This station is conveniently located close to the main tourist areas of Porto and is a short walk away from the Ribeira District. São Bento is served by the D metro line (yellow line), which is the main north-south metro line.
Guimarães train station is located to the south of the historic centre, and it is a 10-minute walk. On arrival, you should turn right from the station entrance and at the roundabout turn left, to walk north along the Avenida Dom João IV. After 700m this road leads to the pretty Nossa Senhora da Consolação church.
For a guided tour of Guimarães, with details on travelling from the train station please see this article; ; a day trip to Guimarães.
If you are travelling to Guimarães from Porto airport there is no need to travel into central Porto and then catch the train, as there is a direct bus service operated by “Get Bus”. The fare from Porto airport to Guimarães costs €8, and the journey takes 50 minutes. The bus departs from outside of the terminal building at “Stop A”, and cash tickets can be purchased from the driver.
There are seven daily departures and nine Monday to Friday. The number of departures is limited, but it is significantly cheaper than a taxi (€90) and more convenient than catching the metro to Porto and train to Guimarães. For the latest timetable and to purchase tickets please see the Get Bus website:
In Guimarães the Get Bus terminates in the bus station. This is part of the Guimarãe Shopping complex, to the west of the historic centre; the bus station GPS is 41.441177, -8.302778.