Every now and then we give you a suggestion on where to go after you finish your visit in Porto.
This time, our tip is Coimbra!
Located 120 km south of Porto, Coimbra is known for its University – which was the first in Portugal and is one of the oldest in Europe, founded in 1290. The students are very found to the traditions and it’s pretty easy to recognize them: just look for the young people wearing black capes! This uniform – called “traje” – is a reason of pride among the students and dates back to the 18th century. Take a walk through the University building’s and feel the atmosphere of this place full of history!
Besides the gorgeous University buildings, there’s more history in Coimbra. The city of narrow and hilly streets was the birthplace of six kings of Portugal! D. Afonso Henriques, the first King of Portugal, was born here and in 1129 made Coimbra the capital of the county.
Our suggestion to known Coimbra is very simple: just walk around! Get lost on its medieval streets and let yourself be surprised by its wonders. To make your visit easier, here are our personal tips on where to go and what to see there:
Gardens, parks and places to relax
Coimbra is crossed by the Mondego River and the green park next to the water is a place of choice among locals to sit on the grass and read a book. You can also discover the Jardim da Sereia (“Mermaid Garden”) next to Praça da República. But the most beautiful green place in Coimbra is the Botanic Garden, located near the University. If the weather is good you cannot miss it!
Like any other Portuguese city, Coimbra has amazing churches. At the University area you can find the Old and the New Sé, both worth a visit. At the Baixa area there’s the São Tiago – one of the oldests in town – and Santa Cruz church.
Going to Coimbra and not visit the Joanina Library is a sin! Near there you can also fin the Patio das Escolas, with its the famous tower, and the Machado de Castro Museum, one of the most importants in the country.
Where to eat
For a big, typical and delicious lunch, look for Zé Manel dos Ossos. There will the a line, but it’s worth the wait! For dinner go to Fangas, a small and charming restaurant with great tapas and wine selection.
Coimbra has its own version of Fado, the most popular Portuguese music genre. The Fado de Coimbra is all about the student life: young love, the pride of being part of this university and the sad feeling that comes when you leave the city! To see a concert, go to Fado ao Centro or À Capella.
Enjoy our tips and go explore Portugal! And when in Porto, send us a message and book a tour to learn everything about the city :)