The University is the oldest in the country and one of the oldest in Europe and it is what converted Coimbra to the "Students' Town". However, in historical terms, the city is home to one of the most beautiful and tragic love stories of our monarchy. The romantic encounters between king D. Pedro and D. Inês are part of the Portuguese history and are linked to sights such as the Quinta das Lágrimas or the Sé Velha (old cathedral). The Mondego river is the town's companion, which reveals medieval streets and historical corners, as the Arco de Almedina arch - a very well preserved structure of the ancient wall. The Queima das Fitas (Burning of the Faculty Ribbons) is one of the most emblematic feasts of the city, in which students come out into the street in celebration, parading and followed by floats that satirize current themes. The student spirit can be discovered and felt in every corner where they meet, wearing dark clothes, and perform serenades. It is also very typical and common to hear fado coimbrão in the most typical cafés and restaurants or even on the streets of the city. A visit to the historic center reveals Baixinha, where the traditional trade is located. Pastéis de Santa Clara (sweets with egg and almond filling) and capelos (doctoral cap-shaped sweets with egg and fruit filling) are the most traditional sweets and they can be tasted in the citys' pastry shops. In addition to the Sé Nova and the Sé Velha, there are many more monuments that Coimbra hosts, such as the convents of Santa Clara-a-Nova and Santa Clara-a-Velha. Recently awarded as one of the best European museums, it is in this town that the Museu da Ciência da Universidade de Coimbra (Museum of Science of the University of Coimbra) has been built. One of the unavoidable sites, and especially for those travelling with children, is the Portugal dos Pequenitos.
What to do in Coimbra
Miradouro do Penedo da Saudade
A belvedere filled with commemorative plaques in marble with parts of poems by famous Portuguese authors who studied in Coimbra. There is also an area, named "Retiro dos Poetas" (Poets' Corner) with effigies of authors such as Eça de Queiroz, António Nobre and João de Deus. The belvedere has magnificent town views.
Mosteiro de Santa Clara-a-Velha
The monastic set (church, cloister, and bowery) has great cultural and architectonic value. The church is an exemplar of the mendicant Gothic. Worthy of notice are the notable Hispanic Arabian glazed tiles panels, the rose-window at the occidental front and the magnificent renaissance arch that comes into view under the arch of the epistle nave.
Mosteiro de Santa Cruz
Monastic set with an emblematic portal. Inside are worthy of notice the manueline arched roof, the main-chapel, the sacristy, the Sala do Capítulo, the S. Teotónio Chapel and the cloister of Silence.
Edifício da Universidade de Coimbra
From the set stand out: the Porta Férrea, the Via Latina, the building of the former S. Pedro College, The Joanina Library, The S. Miguel Chapel, The Sala dos Capelos, the Sala de Exame Privado, the tower, the Gerais, and the Religious Art Museum.
Quinta das Lágrimas
The importance of this place is mainly connected to the history of Pedro and Inês. The Quinta has a romantic beauty, with some botanic exemplars, the gothic window and the fountain (pointed out as being the “Fonte dos Amores” sang by Camões.
Portugal dos Pequenitos
This space features miniatures of typical houses, monuments and traditional and colonial architectural examples. The space also comprises the Clothes Museum, the Navy Museum and the Furniture Museum. A special note to the Pavilion of Brazil, with several temporary exhibitions, as well.
Sé Velha de Coimbra
It is one of the most beautiful Romanic Portuguese monuments, with the exterior look of a church-fortress. The Cloister, from the XIII century, was the first gothic style work done in Portugal, after the Mosteiro de Alcobaça. Worthy of notice are the Especiosa Doorway, the Sacramento Chapel, both by João de Ruão, not forgetting the gothic tombs nucleus and the …
XVIII century work with a magnificent baroque portal standing out. The front’s simplicity opposes to the decorative abundance inside, where the ceilings painted by the Lisbon artists António Simões and Vicente Nunes are worthy of note, as a well as a huge painting portraying D. João V, by Domenico Duprá.
Parque do Choupal
The Choupal Woods is one of the loveliest spots in town, with quite unique plant and animal species in Portugal. The Horse Riding Centre of Coimbra is located here.
Mosteiro de Santa Clara-a-Nova
Work done between the second half of the XVII century and the first half of the XVIII century. The church has a choir and a main chapel. The primitive tomb of the Rainha Santa, made by Mestre Pêro, is one …
Sé Nova de Coimbra
Magnificent Jesuit temple begun in 1598. The main front, austere but elegant has two bodies from two distinct styles: classic and baroque. Inside are worthy of note the several baroque golden woodcarving altars, the organs placed on the lateral walls …
Parque Verde do Mondego / Parque Doutor Manuel Braga
One of the loveliest city parks in Portugal, filled with gardens and luxurious trees. Located by the Mondego river, there are some statues and a nice bandstand by the architect Silva Pinto.
Jardim Botânico da Universidade de Coimbra
The Bottanical Gardens were created by the Marquis of Pombal in Coimbra. It is rather lovely and has thousand of scientifically interesting species, bothe local and exotic, besides decorative elements such as tanks and fountains. The guided tours include a …
Arco e Torre de Almedina
The Almedina arch was part of the medieval walls, going back to the XI century, as the Arabian toponym that means “the city” indicates. Nowadays it is the entrance to the ancient Coimbra, where you may observe a sculpture from …
Up to date tourist information about the city's top attractions
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