With castles, gardens and centuries-old monasteries, the city in central Portugal holds important stories about the country's development since the medieval era.

Located about 200 km from the capital Lisbon, Coimbra is known as the “student city” for having the oldest university in Portugal, the University of Coimbra, created in 1290. However, the region is surrounded by beautiful mountains and beaches that offer activities for all tastes.

This historic city has many buildings considered World Heritage Sites by UNESCO and which are mandatory stops on the trip, including the Monastery of Santa Maria da Vitória, the Convent of Christ and the University of Coimbra itself. Other highlights for a tour of the region's past are the Sé Velha, the Joanina Library, the Alcobaça Monastery, the Quinta das Lágrimas Garden and the former Colégio de São Pedro.

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the nature that surrounds Coimbra with mountains, rivers and sea is also an attraction and invites visitors to practice adventure sports such as diving, surfing, sailing, hiking, cycling and golf. In addition, the city maintains spaces for the preservation of rare animals that can be seen face to face in the Paul do Taipal and Paul da Madriz Special Protection Zones.

What to do in Coimbra

Photo: Diego Delso / Wikimedia Commons

Coimbra University

Built in 1290, it is the oldest university in the country. The headquarters building today was built in 1537 and is considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Over the centuries, the demand for students has increased, as well as the offer of courses, which has resulted in the increase of the structure, so it is possible to identify different architectural styles on the facades.

Botanical Garden

This space has 13 hectares and belongs to the University. Walking through the garden, visitors find different species of plants outdoors, in the hot and cold greenhouses. The initial objective was to create a space to complement the studies of the Medicine course.

Convent of Christ

The space was built in the 14th century and today reflects Roman and Muslim influences, being considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The site is next to the castle, which dates from the year 1160, and together they occupy an area of 54,000m².

Monastery of Santa Maria da Vitória

Also called the Batalha Monastery, the place was built between the 14th and 15th centuries by order of Dom João to honor Santa Maria in gratitude for having won the Battle of Aljubarrota, which granted him the throne. It is considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and has beautiful stained glass windows, columns and adornments.


The city has different beach options, whether the long stretches of sand at Figueira da Foz and Praia de Quiaios or the good structure of Praia Artificial das Rocas, bathed by the Mondego River.

Other places to visit in Coimbra:

  • Joanine Library
  • Chapel of San Miguel
  • Latin Way
  • St. Peter's College
  • Old Cathedral
  • Alcobaça Monastery
  • Portuguese Way to Santiago
  • Santa Clara Monastery
  • Quinta das Lágrimas Garden
  • Buçaco National Forest
  • shale villages
  • Exploratory Ciência Viva Coimbra
  • Mondego River
  • Serra do Açor
  • Paul do Taipal and Paul da Madriz Special Protection Zones

How to get to Coimbra

Photo: Ho seen nina volare / Wikimedia Commons

The city does not have its own airport, but there are two main options that will facilitate your arrival:

from Lisbon

The Portuguese capital receives direct flights from Brazil, is 200 km from Coimbra and offers transport options by train or bus to the final destination.

from Porto

The city is a little closer, about 120 km, and, arriving at the airport, it is possible to choose between train and bus to reach Coimbra.

Best time to visit Coimbra

Photo: François Philipp / Flickr Wikimedia Commons

The region has mild temperatures in winter, when thermometers register between 10°C and 20°C, but summer is well marked and can reach 40°C.

As it is a city with many university students, Coimbra is busy every month of the year, but in August the students are replaced by tourists, as it is the month of school holidays in Europe.

Where to stay in Coimbra

Photo: Leandro Neumann Ciuffo / Flickr Wikimedia Commons

Find accommodation in Coimbra here.

» 6 day trip ideas from Lisbon
» 30 destinations to visit in Portugal
» 14 Super Charming Medieval Towns to Visit in Portugal
» Best hotels in downtown Lisbon

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