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6 Fantastic Things to Do in Coimbra

Mondego River Coimbra PortugalWhat To Do In Coimbra

Everybody knows the Portuguese capital is Lisbon. But that is not the first capital of this old country!

When was Coimbra the capital of Portugal?

It all started in Guimarães, the birthplace of Portugal. Then the capital moved on to Coimbra. This city became Portugal’s capital until 1255. In that year, D. Afonso III moved the entire court to Lisbon, which had become a prosperous city.

Here are a few tips on the ultimate things to do in Coimbra.



Read more: Best Time to Visit Portugal.

How much time do I need in Coimbra?

We recommend a least one full day of sightseeing, but two days are mandatory to discover this city.

How do you pronounce Coimbra?

To help you pronounce the Portuguese cities. We chose this fantastic video made by the Portuguese Lab.

Where is Coimbra in Portugal? How far is Lisbon to Coimbra?

It is located in central Portugal. It is a riverfront city. the Mondego River is the longest river within Portuguese territory. It starts in Serra da Estrela, the highest mountain range in Portugal. It finishes in the Atlantic Ocean next to Figueira da Foz.

Coimbra is 205 kilometers (127 miles) north of Lisbon. And it is 125 km (77 miles) from Porto.

Read more: How can I get to Portugal?

How To Get To Coimbra From Lisbon

We recommend the train from Lisbon to Coimbra. But, this may not be very obvious to someone visiting Coimbra for the first time. Because this city has two train stations – Coimbra A and Coimbra B. After taking the second train. You need to walk 1.25 miles (2 km) to the city center or take a taxi.

Our Self-guided Tours in Portugal include a stop in Coimbra. Where you can explore this medieval city and important university.

How far is Coimbra from the coast?

No, it is not on the coast. There are no beaches in this city. The beach closest to Coimbra is about 45 minutes by car.

What to visit in Coimbra

1 – University of Coimbra, Portugal

This University was classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is one of the oldest universities in Europe. The university was founded in Lisbon in 1290, and it only transferred to Coimbra in 1537. It’s located where Portugal’s first king had taken up a house.

What is the University of Coimbra famous for?

a group of people walking in front of University of Coimbra PortugalOne of the points of interest not to be missed when visiting the University is, without a doubt, the Joanina Library. Considered one of the most beautiful places in Coimbra. The Joanina Library has peculiar architecture and a pervasive collection.

The library is divided into three salons. You will find more than 60,000 volumes distributed from the 12th to the 18th century. With examples mainly dealing with areas such as law, theology, and philosophy.

The library has a small colony of bats living there to avoid insects that would damage the books.

In addition to the Joanina Library, you will be able to discover within the university St. Michael’s Chapel, the Academic Prison, the Royal Palace, and the University Tower.

Read more: Best Things to Eat in Portugal?

How old is the University of Coimbra?

This University has 731 years old.

How much does it cost to get into the University?

You can visit the University with this complete program, including the Palace of Schools (Baroque Library, St. Michael’s Chapel, Academic Prison, and the Royal Palace) and the Chemistry Lab (the Science Museum). Fare Singular – Base:
Adult [from 19 to 64 years old]: 12,50 €
Senior [65 years old or above]: 10,00 €
Student [from 19 to 25 years old]: 10,00 €
Youth [from 13 to 18 years old]: 6,25 €
Child [from 3 to 13 years old]: 0,00 €

2 – Old Cathedral (Se Velha)

The French Master Roberto designed the Old Cathedral in the 12th century. The central portal is decorated with an evident Islamic influence. While the side door reveals an elegant Renaissance decoration.

You can admire the church’s interior, and the Gothic cloister was begun in 1218.

During Queima das Fitas (Burning of the Ribbons), the traditional Coimbra Fado serenade is in front of the Old Cathedral. Queima das Fitas is a ceremony to bring their university days to an end.

3 – Arco de Almedina

Al medina in Arabic means Town. This arch is the original gateway to the old city. It was restored in the 12th century to include the Torre de Anto, built above the arch and replete with Renaissance windows.

4 – Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha

The Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Nova is also known as the Convent of Queen Saint Isabel, the widow of King Dinis. The building served as a retreat for the Queen.

It was founded in 1283. But, this site was abandoned in the 1600s when the nuns moved to higher ground. After consistent flooding undermined the convent’s foundations, the nuns founded the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Nova.

5 – Portugal dos Pequenitos

things to do near coimbra portugalIt has been the first theme park in the country. You will find the greatest monuments in Portugal, the typical villages, and an allusion to Portuguese discoveries. All on a reduced scale! It is the best place for all the family. There are many beauties stored in an environment that has been in existence for over 75 years.

6 – Fado

Don’t miss the Fado ao Centro! You will listen to the best Portuguese music there.

The group is formed by students and former students of the University of Coimbra. Open every day at 6 p.m.

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