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Why Visit Coimbra, Portugal

Once holding the throne as the capital of Portugal, Coimbra is now among the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Situated along the Mondego River, the lovely city is famous for its authentic medieval old town, the oldest university in Portugal, and the renowned baroque library. It might seem small at first, but will make you fall in love with the first steps you take on its cobbled streets.

The landmark of the city and the best place to start your Coimbra tour is the University of Coimbra, listed among the UNESCO World Heritage sites. Founded in 1290, it is the oldest one in the country, maintaining its traditions to this day. The site of the university also includes the beautiful Chapel of São Miguel and a tower, overlooking the whole of the city, so make sure to battle those stairs as the views are really worth it! It is also home to the world-known Joanine Library, with imposing gilt-covered bookcases, attracting huge numbers of visitors each day.

Make your way down Coimbra's cobbled streets to find that the old town of the city is just a few minutes away. Stroll along the beautiful narrow pathways, admire the authentic architecture or stop for a coffee and a pastel de nata, a delicious local pastry made according to a deeply rooted tradition. Talking about tradition, don't miss the chance to listen to fado, a music style which is an inseparable part of the history of Coimbra and Portugal on the whole.

Some of the other monuments worth including to your Coimbra itinerary are the Monastery of Santa Cruz, the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha, the Old Cathedral, the Machado de Castro National Museum, among others. It is also a good idea to visit the Botanical Gardens at Quinta das Lagrimas and the for the little ones, make sure to show them around the miniature park Portugal dos Pequenitos.

Coimbra is undoubtedly one of the loveliest places in Portugal, full of history, authenticity, and bustling student life. It has plenty to offer to any traveler and will leave you wanting to extend your stay for sure."

Best Things to Do in Coimbra, Portugal

  • Explore the old University of Coimbra and see its Owl Tower and outstanding old library
  • Step back in time as you enjoy the historic Igreja de Santa Cruz Monastery
  • Listen to the traditional Coimbra-style Fado singing
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