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Guarda is located northeast of Portugal – some 140 miles southeast of Porto – specifically at Portugal’s largest mountain range, Serra da Estrela.It is the country’s highest city (1056 m) – and has a tradition as a popular health resort. The population is approx. 42,500 (2011).
Guarda was founded by military strategic reasons in 1199 as a fortress against the Moors. Around the town was erected high walls – which are largely preserved.
Guarda is a natural starting point for mountain hiking in the Sierra da Estrela. The mountain range attracts many tourists and is considered to be one of Portugal’s most popular destinations. The flora is diverse and mountainous. There are also several tourist places here – including Torre, where there is also a fantastic view. Large parts of the mountain region has status as a nature reserve.
In the Guarda are also a number of attractions. Among these must be the Gothic cathedral from the 1400’s and the castle from the 1200s mentioned. The cathedral is the city’s central square, and has a particularly beautifully decorated interiors. Nearby is another splendid building – Misericordia Church, known for its impressive portal.
A popular destination is also Guardia Museum, located in the old homestead – and that can show both exciting paintings and a number of archaeological artifacts from around the city.
The nearest airport is Covilho Airport, located 49 km southwest of Guarda.