What to see?
Guarda was founded by King Sancho 1 in 1199 and is the highest point in continental Portugal. It was a strategic city in terms of defence and carries much of its historical charm through to modern-day. The main attraction in Guarda is Se-Catedral da Guarda. A beautiful example of a gothic, medieval cathedral. The cathedral is located centrally in the old town of Guarda and is surrounded by labyrinth like streets filled with bars, shops,cafes and restaurants to keep you occupied all day. If you’ve had enough culture for one day you can visit La Vie shopping arcade which is full of shops, places to eat and even a cinema. Perfect if you arrive a little late in the year, being the highest town in Portugal means Guarda can get cold!
Se-Catedral da Guarda
Where to stay?
I have only been to Guarda once but I feel I would be cheating by not giving you my recommendation, it was a great place to stay so..
Guesthouse da Sé is a beautiful place to stay, it is a literal stone throw away from the cathedral and has everything you could want for an enjoyable stay in Guarda. All rooms are equipped with a private bathroom including a shower, there is free WiFi and all guests have access to the communal kitchen to prepare any meals, although if you visit Guarda in the season I’m not sure why you would want to eat in.
Guesthouse da Sé
Where to eat?
A Floresta is a particularly pleasant Portuguese restaurant located in the middle of the old town, a short walk from the cathedral. We had the menu of the day which consisted of 3 courses, coffee and wine for around 12 euros each (2014). The staff were very friendly, the food was great and the overall experience fantastic.
For a light bite try Domvs Vini, it has a nice relaxed atmosphere and has a great choice in tapas and wine.
Where to drink?
For a coffee with a view try one of the cafes opposite the cathedral, the prices here are a little more expensive than others just around the corner but it is a very pleasant place to while away an hour. If you are after something stronger I would highly recommend the previously mentioned Domvs Vini or just trust your judgement and take a punt on one of the many little bars available to you.
Don’t get lost! The old town of Guarda is like a labyrinth, so many different twists and turns, its great fun to explore but remember the way back! Go for a walk in the surrounding countryside, it’s great. If you take the coach from Lisbon some of the views on the way up the hills and mountains are beautiful, keep your camera handy.
*It’s been a good few years since I was in Guarda, the places mentioned above are all still open but there now seems to be a huge range of new restaurants and bars available to any potential visitors to Guarda, have a look on tripadvisor and book your tickets on the coach!