The medieval city of Guimarães touts itself as the birthplace of Portugal, where early settlers marked their territory and where countless battles for land were won. Located just a few hours north of Porto and easily accessible by train or car, the charming village of Guimarães is an ideal daytrip from the city.
If visiting by train, the medieval city center is a 10-minute walk away, where visitors will find cozy cafés, cobblestone streets and wooden beams that hark to a period of centuries gone by.
For breakfast or lunch, dip into Coconuts café, located in one of the town’s central squares. Sandwiches and salads don the casual menu while a stunning display of azulejos (characteristic Portuguese white-and-blue tiles) coat one of the walls, paying homage to a decades-old tradition.
Head across the square to the imposing Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira (), where free entry takes you on the ground of a property that dates to the 10th century. Marvel in the Gothic architecture and the freshly preened courtyards, as well as the cloisters that jut right into the center of the square.
After a pit stop, walk north through Old Town to the hilltop Guimarães Castle. The views from the top make it worth the short climb, but a brief pause at the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza (entrance fee $5.66) serves as a formidable detour. Once at the castle, there’s a modest entry fee of $2.26.
With a restored appetite, head back down the hill to the Old Town once again for a filling dinner at Xisko Restaurant, complete with vegan and vegetarian options.
Dining is an art, and now that applies to both on the ground and at 35,000 feet thanks to Hainan Airlines’ “Hai Chef” Inflight Artistic Chinese cuisine series, a collaboration with Dong Zhenxiang, a Chinese culinary master also known as Dadong.
For most of us, time in the car is “me time.” You can listen to that podcast you’re captivated by, blast that pop song and sing along at the top of your lungs or listen to the next chapter in that biography e-book you’re almost finished. A road trip only amplifies those opportunities. So, next time you’re traveling by road, take the wheel and take control. Opt for a rental car on your next vacation, rather than a rideshare, taxi or public transportation, and enjoy the open road on your own terms.
One of Georgia’s greatest cultural gifts might be coming to an end. The Redneck Games, which began in 1996, have seen a dip in attendance in recent years. A lack of sponsors means many of us might never know the joys of “bug zapping by spitball” unless an influx of travelers can help revive the event.