2012 European Capitals Of Cultures

HELD BY ISTANBUL IN 2010, THE TITLE WAS AWARDED THIS YEAR TO TWO INTRIGUING CITIES: GUIMARÃES IN PORTUGAL AND MARIBOR IN SLOVENIA.

MEDITERRANEAN FROM PAST TO PRESENT: GUIMARÃES
One of Portugal’s oldest cities, Guimarães more than deserves the title European Capital of Culture for combining the old-time Mediterranean texture with modern elements. Largo da Oliviera, the old square of this city four hours by train from Lisbon Airport, is surrounded by cafes whose lights burn into the wee hours. Ensconced in an 18th century palace, Vila Flor Cultural Center is the best venue for getting to know the arts of Portugal starting with music, theater and cinema. Those seeking an alternative prefer the Center for Arts & Architecture on the Rua Padre, the city’s former industrial zone. And the Citânia de Briteiros, a settlement dating back to the Iron Age, is just the spot for those seeking to find vestiges of the city’s deep-rooted history. Seafood, game meats and cheeses are also well worth trying in the restaurants of this city that boasts a rich cuisine.

DON’T MISS
•  Palace of the Dukes of Braganza
•  Vila Flor Gardens
• Martins Sarmento
  Archaeological Museum

TIP
Guimarães also offers extensive shopping opportunities. Everything from handmade soaps and traditional pottery to work-of-art pastries and sweets await you. www.guimaraes2012.pt