Car & Van Hire in Guimaraes

Enterprise car hire locations in Guimaraes

You can easily get to Guimarães from Porto Airport, which is approximately 39 km away. Head straight to the Enterprise Rent-a-Car desk when you land and drive away in your rental car.

What to do and see in Guimaraes

Guimarães is known as the birthplace of Portugal, as the country's first king was born here. Its historic centre has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it has a wealth of palaces and castles to explore. Even if you don't have a particular plan in mind, you'll be amazed by just wandering the streets of the old town and letting your imagination drift away into bygone days.

Start your journey in Guimarães Castle. To truly appreciate it, you'll have to understand some of the background information. In the 10th century, this corner of the Iberian Peninsula was under constant threat. The Moors controlled most of the surrounding land and waged regular attacks. To make matters worse, raiding parties of Vikings would come ashore to plunder the area from the Atlantic Coast. The castle was built for defence. In 1109, Afonso Henriques was born here. He would later become the first king of Portugal, and the castle today has many exhibits dedicated to his long-lasting legacy.

Another interesting place to visit is the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza. Dating back to the 15th century, this was built after the need for fortification had passed. It is a palace rather than a castle, with an emphasis on luxury. You'll be awed by the stunning architecture, with elaborate arches and incredibly detailed tapestries.

With your car hire in Guimarães, you can also go much further back in time. Drive out to Citânia de Briteiros, where you will see some of the best examples of castros: ancient Iron Age settlements that date back to the 9th century BC. Incredibly, some castros were still occupied through the days of the Roman Empire and even until the Middle Ages. Citânia de Briteiros is a remarkable site, both for its sheer size and its level of preservation. While here, make sure you take the time to gaze upon the Pedra Formosa, a monolith covered with intricate, ancient carvings. This stone seems to have had religious importance for the first inhabitants.

Car and van hire in Guimarães also allows you to visit other nearby cities. Top of the list has to be Porto, the large port city that attracts visitors from all around the world. You can admire the beautiful old cathedral and the incredible bridges, which are true feats of engineering. If you're feeling hungry, try a francesinha. This local delicacy is a sandwich - but just any sandwich. You'll find a door-stopper of meat and bread covered in a thick cheese sauce. This is definitely not a meal for calorie counters!

Driving in Guimaraes

The historic centre of Guimarães cannot be entered by car. There is a large car park on Rua de Santo António. Leave your vehicle here and continue your journey on foot through the narrow, winding streets. There is also some on-street parking available, but this can be a little more complicated. Locals in Portuguese towns tend to park wherever they feel like it, including in some dangerous and downright illegal spots. Always search for a designated parking space to avoid potential fines.

When driving on the roads between Guimarães and other cities, you may come across tolls. In Portugal, there are two kinds of tolls. Motorways in the north generally use a more modern, electronic system, while those in the central region and south have traditional toll booths. This can cause all kinds of headaches if you're planning a long, cross-country road trip. You can pay with cash or card at an old-fashioned toll booth, but electronic tolls are more complicated. Either make sure your car is fitted with a transponder for automatic payment or be prepared to pay after passing through tolls. You can do this at the post office, with a particular window for payment that starts 48 hours after you crossed the toll line and lasts five days.

If you'd rather avoid the question of tolls altogether, there are always alternative routes. Be advised that Portugal's country roads are often in poor condition. Signage may be missing in some places, and in the nearby Douro Valley, there is no lighting whatsoever. On the plus side, you'll skip the tolls, but it might take you longer to reach your destination. You're also quite likely to encounter tractors and other agricultural vehicles. Overtaking can be difficult on these narrow roads, so just enjoy the adventure!

In Guimarães, as in many towns in the north of Portugal, you are likely to see a large number of pedestrians, usually with backpacks. A popular route of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage runs through the town. In many areas, the Camino does not have a designated footpath, so pilgrims walk along the side of the road. Keep an eye out for them and try to give them a wide berth, as country roads are often narrow. Bear in mind that hot summer temperatures mean that some pilgrims start their daily walk very early when visibility is not great.

Car and van hire in Portugal with Enterprise

Enterprise Portugal offers a range of car and van hire services including one-way, long-term and short-term vehicle hire. Commercial clients can speak to our award-winning business rental team who will tailor a mobility solution for your needs and budget.

We are part of the Enterprise group, the largest transportation solutions provider in the world. Our global network covers more than 90 countries and over 9,500 locations, allowing us to serve your mobility needs, wherever you’re going.

We are committed to providing the best service possible and exceeding our customers’ expectations for quality and value.

Car hire in Guimaraes

If you are travelling with your family or in a big group, you may find a 7-seater or a people carrier will give you more space to travel comfortably with your luggage. For a city trip, a handy hatchback that’s easy to park may suit you better. For business trips or long drives an executive car will combine comfort and performance.

Whether you prefer automatic to manual transmission, no problem. If you want a petrol, diesel or hybrid engine, we’ve got you covered. You may also need GPS, a child seat or want to add another driver to the contract, let us know and we’ll arrange it for you.

Van hire in Guimaraes

Should you need to hire a van while you’re in Guimaraes, all our vans can be driven on a standard licence and are modern, clean and easy to drive. Just ask and one of our branch team will happily show you around your hire van to make sure you are comfortable with it before you head off.