Coimbra is located about 160 km north of Lisbon and is essentially known for its university, history and culture. Not being very big, the stay can be short and still enjoy all its charms. Coimbra is also an ideal destination for exploring the natural beauties of the Centro region.
All our visits to Coimbra were short and we managed to enjoy what the city has to offer. From walks along the river to visit the university, this blog will try to indicate the best that the city has to offer the visitor.
Don’t Miss in Coimbra
Old Town and university
Our visit to Coimbra started by the river, passing by the Santa Clara Bridge. Then we cross Ferreira Borges Street to Barbacã Door. Here we follow the direction of Sé Velha church, already located almost at the top of the hill where the monumental buildings of the University of Coimbra are located.
This is one of the oldest universities in Europe, founded in 1290 by King Dinis I. Although the university’s buildings are spread across several locations in Coimbra, these are the ones we consider not to be missed.
Some of the oldest buildings of the University are located in this area, including the Joanina Library, a baroque library with an ornate interior, frescoes on the ceiling and thousands of books inside. You can complement the visit to the library with a visit to some parts of the Faculty of Law buildings.
To end your visit to this area of Coimbra, you cannot miss the Monumental Staircase and a visit to the Botanical Garden.
Portugal dos Pequenitos and Quinta das Lágrimas
Portugal dos pequenitos is a theme park in Coimbra that represents, in miniatures of typical houses, monuments from all regions of Portugal, as well as from Portuguese-speaking countries. The park opened in 1940 and if you are travelling as a family it is a popular attraction. This way you can learn about the culture and history of Portugal in a playful way.
On the same side of the river, you can also visit the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha and the gardens of Quinta das Lágrimas.
Quinta das Lágrimas is currently a luxury hotel but you can visit its gardens. The farm was originally built in the 14th century and became famous for being the place where Prince D. Pedro and his lover Inês de Castro secretly met in the 14th century. The story goes that Pedro’s father, King Afonso IV, disapproved of the relationship, and ordered to kill the Inês de Castro in 1355.
Where to eat in Coimbra
In Coimbra, you can try several restaurants serving everything from fish to meat dishes, something common in all traditional Portuguese cuisine. From Codfish to grilled sardines and meat, there is plenty to choose from. Next to the river and in the old part of the city, there is an immense variety and you will certainly find one that will satisfy you.
Where to stay in Coimbra
Coimbra is one of the biggest cities in Portugal and due to its history and University, Coimbra has a wide variety of accommodations, including hostels to luxury hotels. Not wanting to influence your choice, we’ve already stayed in hotels very close to the river, at an excellent price.
How to get to know Coimbra
Although Coimbra is a large city, most touristic area is small and can be explored on foot, by bicycle or by bus.
Walking is really the way we choose to explore the city. There are some parks and gardens that can be easily reached on foot, such as the Botanical Garden of Coimbra, the Parque Florestal de Santa Clara-a-Nova and the Jardim da Cordoaria Nacional.
Find everything you need to visit Coimbra
What to see near Coimbra
If you travel to Coimbra with time to get to know the whole area near Coimbra, take advantage of it because it is quite interesting. The beaches of Figueira da Foz are just a short drive away and there are guided walks that can take you through some nearby towns and villages. You can visit Fátima, which is very popular for religious reasons, Serra do Luso or Lousã.
Plan your trip using the following tools and/or website
Using the following links and tools on the website you are helping to maintain Scannertrip. This use is the same for you and you do not pay more for it. For Scannertrip it makes all the difference!!
- To find the best stays use Booking. It is one of the best websites for booking stays and always with some promotions on some destinations. The reliability and ease of booking and cancelling make it even the most popular.
- Transfers to and from the airport can be purchased via the website kiwitaxi. So you don’t need to get in touch with the different companies in your destination looking for the best price.
- If you choose to rent a car, also use the price comparators. The autoeurope website compares prices from different rental companies.
Do you like this city? Are you willing to visit it? You will certainly find reasons to visit the city for more days than suggested, but we hope that this small two-day guide will be useful to you. Enjoy and also discover the surroundings of the city. If you are curious, you can read other articles about the central region of Portugal.