Coimbra in Portugal – 10 unmissable tips on what to do there

Here we have the best tips for you to enjoy writing down what to do in Coimbra in 2 or 3 days.

“Coimbra is a lesson, of dream and tradition…”. This is how fado begins “Coimbra” sung by Amália Rodrigues. The truth is that visiting Coimbra Portugal it's really a trip back in time, through the oldest traditions of the country. 

When to go to Coimbra Portugal?

The best time to visit Coimbra Portugal is in spring or summer. Temperatures vary between 20ºC and can reach 30ºC in August, and the sun is guaranteed. As this is a city to be visited on foot, it is best to avoid the rainiest winter months.

Another good reason to visit at this time is the “Burning of tapes”. The academic tradition is one of the biggest student parties, which begins in first Friday in May and lasts for eight days. In addition to the iconic procession of students in formal attire through the city's streets, other commemoration events take place around the “Queima”. From live music shows, serenades and parties, it's the liveliest week of the year in Coimbra Portugal.  

The liveliest week in Coimbra Portugal – Queima das Fitas

What is there to do in Coimbra Portugal?

Located at center of Portugal, Coimbra is a great stopping point during a trip across the country. It is worth staying there for at least two days, if you want to know the unmissable points calmly. Visiting the city is like taking a trip back in time to medieval times. Get lost in alleys and stairs, living the student atmosphere of University of Coimbra, crossing the Mondego River and exploring ruins. Will not miss what to do in Coimbra Portugal!

What to do in Coimbra in 2 days (mini itinerary)

  • Almedina Arch and Old Cathedral

Visiting Coimbra and not visiting the University is like going to Rome and not seeing the Pope. One of the oldest in Europe, the University of Coimbra is regarded as the heart of the city, at the top of the hill.

To get there, start your tour of the Arch of Almedina, the gateway that forms part of the wall that surrounded the ancient city. Take your time exploring the alleys that date back to the Arab occupation in the XNUMXth century and that retain their medieval features.

Follow the stairs to Rua de Quebra Costas until off the Old Cathedral. Here, take the opportunity to visit the monument – ​​the Sé Velha – which marks the choice of the city as the capital of Portugal at the time of D. Afonso Henriques.

The tour will take you to Se Velha – The most famous tourist spot in Coimbra Portugal – Photo:

Details of the Old Cathedral in Coimbra Portugal – Photo:

  • University of Coimbra

arriving at Courtyard of Schools, admire the view over the Mondego River before visiting the complex University of Coimbra. The ticket price is 12 euros and includes the visit to the Royal Palace, Chapel of São Miguel, Joanina Library, to the Chimico Laboratory e College of Jesus, Experimental Physics Gallery e Natural History Gallery. These points are worth visiting, but the Biblioteca Joanina is without a doubt the greatest treasure of them all. Built by King João V in the Baroque style, it is one of the most beautiful libraries in the country.

Coimbra is a student city and therefore it is interesting to visit during the week to get an idea of ​​the atmosphere that is lived there. Dressed in black capes, the students take over the streets of the upper city.

Courtyards of Schools at the University of Coimbra – Photo: Ido Ben Itzhak via Flickr

The famous students of the University of Coimbra, who served as inspiration for the Harry Potter films – Photo: JCassiano via Flickr

  • New Cathedral and Santa Cruz Monastery

Continue your tour through the University buildings, passing by the Medicine School and others of more modern architecture. visit Self Nova or the College of Eleven Thousand Virgins, built in the XNUMXth century. this would be the oldest Jesuit college in the world, before becoming the seat of the diocese of Coimbra after the expulsion of the Jesuits in the XNUMXth century.

Start your descent from Alta to the region Sofia, the name by which the Lower Coimbra. There, be sure to visit the Santa Cruz Monastery dating from the twelfth century. This monument gained the status of National Pantheon, as it is where the first two kings of Portugal are buried – D. Afonso Henriques and D. Sancho I. The later architectural changes are quite evident, with King D. Manuel I having the church restored in the Manueline style already in the XNUMXth century .

Sé Nova or Colégio das Onze Mil Virgens in Coimbra Portugal – Photo: Jorge Bastos via Flickr

Santa Cruz Monastery – Photo: Bosc d'Anjou via Flickr
  • Botanical Garden and S. Sebastião Aqueduct

In the second day, start your tour at the top of the Monumental Stairs that are on the side where the Aqueduct of S. Sebastião. Go down the street to Arcos do Jardim, in front of the Botanical Garden from the University of Coimbra. Stroll in the garden and discover tropical corners and flowery alleys. Admission is free and it is possible to book guided tours to get to know in depth all the species found here.

After the Botanical Garden, continue walking towards the Mondego River to cross over there. The ideal is to go to the Mondego Green Park and walk through Pedro and Inês Pedestrian Bridge.

São Sebastião Aqueduct in Coimbra Portugal – Photo: Mariana Machado via Flickr

Spend an afternoon at Parque Verde de Mondego and enjoy the view! Photo: Júlia Gervásio via Flickr

Pedro and Inês Pedestrian Bridge


Travel Insurance: Europe

UA 40 SPECIAL WORLD Medical assistance USD 40.000 Lost luggage USD 1.200 (SUPPLEMENTARY) R$ 21/is*

AC 35 EUROPE Medical assistance EUR 35.000 Lost luggage EUR 1.200 (SUPPLEMENTARY) R$ 26/is*

GTA 60 SLIM EUROPE Medical assistance USD 60.000 Lost luggage USD 1.200 (SUPPLEMENTARY) R$ 17/is*

*Value for 7 days of travel. Select the desired plan!

  • Santa Clara Monastery

On the other side of the river, go to the Santa Clara Monastery. This tourist spot is great for framing the importance of religion in the city, where several religious orders were installed. In this case, it is possible to visit the interpretive center to understand what life was like for the nuns who lived there in confinement.

On the other hand, it is also possible to witness the result of various floods over the centuries. They left a large part of the complex, enhanced for many years by Queen Santa Isabel, in ruins.

Santa Clara Monastery in Coimbra Portugal
  • Portugal of the little children

The most unusual tourist spot in the whole city is undoubtedly the Portugal of the little children. This is a park totally dedicated to Portuguese life for the children to enjoy. It's just that there, all the monuments and typical houses of the various regions of the country were replicated in a small perspective. In addition to the architecture, it is also possible to discover the traditional clothes of the period in Costume Museum, which is part of the park. Tickets for children cost 5,95 euros and for adults 9,95 euros.

What to do in Coimbra in 3 days (mini itinerary)

On the third day, add more locations to your itinerary:

  • Quinta das Tears

Another place you need to know is the Quinta das Tears. Today, the XNUMXth century palace has been transformed into a luxury hotel, but it is possible to visit the romantic gardens for 2 euros. It was there that the love story between D. Pedro, the future king of Portugal, and the Galician noblewoman D. Inês de Castro took place. stroll through the gardens is to travel back in time, passing through neo-gothic ruins, century-old trees and the emblematic Fonte dos Amores and Fonte das Lágrimas.

Hotel Quinta das Tears


  • Conimbriga

A 20-minute drive from the center of Coimbra is Conimbriga, the largest complex of Roman ruins in the country. It is possible to visit the impressive archaeological excavations but also the Artifacts Museum found. Ceramics and agricultural instruments are among the objects dating back to the XNUMXth century BC.

And the most incredible thing is that several mosaics from the floor of the millennial houses are still in excellent condition. Without a doubt a place not to be missed, the ticket costs 4,5 euros and includes a visit to the ruins and the museum.

Conímbriga, the largest complex of Roman ruins in the country

What to do in Coimbra at night

At night starts early in Coimbra Portugal, with a pocket show at Fado to the Center 18 hours. It is worth going to this cultural center to hear the Coimbra fado and understand its story told daily around here. Another place where you can listen to fado in Coimbra is in At Chapel, a bar established in an old chapel that is now deactivated.

It is common for students to gather in the region of Old Cathedral ou na Republic square, to “drink a few glasses” (Portuguese expression used to say have drinks or beers) and talk until the wee hours of the morning. For those who like to go clubbing, there is a bar Here Tango Base and a disco long nights, close to Praça da República.

À Capella – Photo: @aCapella.Coimbra via Facebook

Where to eat in Coimbra

O Cafe Santa Cruz is one of the most emblematic places to eat in Coimbra Portugal. Established in an old church that was part of the Santa Cruz Monastery, it is a A must-see for anyone visiting the city. Meetings were held here between Portuguese intellectuals and literary and artistic events are held to this day. Café Santa Cruz is ideal for a mid-afternoon snack, where you can't miss tasting the famous local pastries called "cross".

For lunch, we recommend one of the most traditional taverns in town, the Zé Manel dos Ossos. Here you will taste a very special starter with a bizarre but delicious name, the bones. then taste the pork belly accompanied by rice and beans and a glass of house red wine.

The Machado de Castro National Museum restaurant, called Loggia, which is next to Sé Nova, is a more sophisticated alternative. It is one of the restaurants in Coimbra with city ​​view, to Rio Mondego and to the University, and serves buffet lunch for 9,50 euros. For dinner, the menu is created by the chef of Quinta das Lágrimas and on Sundays there is a full brunch for 15,50 euros.

Where to stay in Coimbra Portugal

Check out where to stay in Coimbra Portugal for our hotel recommendations, ranging from luxury to the best hostels in the region.  

  • Luxury Hotels

The most exquisite option of lodging in Coimbra is the Hotel at Quinta das Lágrimas, already an ex-libris of the city. Established in the middle of the XNUMXth century palace, it offers rooms with romantic gardens view by D. Inês de Castro. In the restaurant, dishes are made with regional products and sometimes even from the farm itself, as is the case with aromatic herbs and fruits.

Another option is the Vila Gale Coimbra. This hotel has rooms and an outdoor pool with view of the Mondego River, plus a full spa and gym. The decor is modern and it is a 15-minute walk from Arco de Almedina, the gateway to the old town.

More luxury hotel recommendations Wisdom Boutique Hotel (4 stars from 130 euros) and Pousada Condeixa Coimbra – from 78 euros


  • Good value hotels

For those looking for options with more affordable prices but keeping the charm, a good tip can be to stay in apartments equipped with kitchen. the apartments Orpheus, are next to the Arco de Almedina, and are perfect for those who likes to feel at home while you are travelling.

A House of São Bento It is also a good alternative for those who family travel. The charming house is an old renovated school, with apartments with kitchenette, which is next to the Botanical Garden.

More good value hotel recommendations, Hotel Oslo (3 stars from 70 euros), Houses of Joy (from 96 euros) and Comedy Houses (from 69 euros)


  • budget hotels

If você power of attorney where to stay in Coimbra cheap, then take a look at our hostel tips. At the Hostel Olive Street House you can book a bed in a shared room from 14 euros. It also has private rooms and it is possible to use the kitchen in the common area. The hostel is in the downtown area, but very near Arco de Almedina.

Located on the side of Sé Velha is the Serenata Hostel, with an incredible decoration. A bed in a dormitory and shared bathroom costs 15 euros, with breakfast included. Another cozy and affordable option for couples is the Guest House Santa Clara. A double room is from 40 euros, with bathroom and private parking.

More budget hotel recommendations, Hostel Sé Velha (from 14 euros), Penedo da Saudade Suites & Hostel (from 16 euros). 


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Take a look at this video with more tips on places to visit in Coimbra Portugal. The city is beautiful!

Did you know that it is mandatory to take out insurance when traveling to Europe?

If you were thinking about traveling to Europe without travel insurance, be aware that this can become a problem at the time of immigration. So it is good to note a very important tip for those who are planning a trip there: Travel Insurance for any destination in Europe is mandatory.

The reason? It is the Schengen Treaty, which establishes free movement and mandatory travel insurance in 26 European countries. Since we plan so much for the holidays, we create expectations, we invest money, it's not worth risking any setback that could ruin it all. You can check out the stories of our columnists who tell why it is worth taking out travel insurance.

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Travel Insurance: Europe

UA 40 SPECIAL WORLD Medical assistance USD 40.000 Lost luggage USD 1.200 (SUPPLEMENTARY) R$ 21/is*

AC 35 EUROPE Medical assistance EUR 35.000 Lost luggage EUR 1.200 (SUPPLEMENTARY) R$ 26/is*

GTA 60 SLIM EUROPE Medical assistance USD 60.000 Lost luggage USD 1.200 (SUPPLEMENTARY) R$ 17/is*

*Value for 7 days of travel. Select the desired plan!

Receive a SIM card at your home in España and use unlimited Internet in Portugal and throughout Europe

Are you also tired of only being able to use your cell phone at points that you find Wi-Fi free during the trip? And having to pay per day to be able to use a GPS in the rental car on the trip?

So we discovered one of the best solutions to end this problem, that you will no longer have to spend hours of travel in phone stores in the country, speaking an unknown language to get a SIM card. This is one of the tips we love to give our readers: America Chip.

Write it down: The company sends an international Chip to your home in Spain. When you're on the plane, just change your Brazilian SIM card for this international one. You will arrive in Portugal with unlimited internet, using your cell phone at will, as you use in España.

Read more:

  • What to do in Portugal – 7 to 20 day itinerary around the country
  • Cell Phone Chip in Portugal – Where to Buy?
  • Portugal Tour – 13 Places You Need to Know
  • Cities in Portugal that you need to know or live in - one day
  • Travel to Portugal – The COMPLETE guide for Brazilians
  • Best time to go to Portugal – Travel tips for each season
  • Europe Travel Insurance – What you NEED to know before hiring
  • Is it worth taking out International Travel Insurance?
  • Aveiro Portugal – Tips for getting to know the best of the city
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