Best things to do in Coimbra
Find out more about those top places in Coimbra
Located halfway between Lisbon and Porto, Coimbra, once the medieval capital of Portugal, is often overshadowed by its larger neighbors. However, this hidden gem of a university city has a world-class collection of historic monuments and a unique local culture waiting to be explored. Rising steeply from the banks of the Rio Mondego, Coimbra’s premier attraction is the city’s medieval university, which was founded in the year 1290. Beyond the university’s gilded library and plush examinations hall, the city’s Moorish center and gothic cathedral complex are enchanting. What is more, Coimbra has a local culture like no other in Portugal with regional fado music and rebellious student activities bringing a youthful energy to the city that is hard to find in Portugal outwith its two largest metropolises.
One thing that makes the Sé Velha Cathedral stand out is its uncommon architecture. This fact alone attracts countless tourists to it every year. The Cathedral was built long ago in the year 1283, and because of its old age, it has much history to it.
It is not a common occurrence for a university to make the UNESCO list of world heritage sites but this university does. Being one of the oldest universities in Europe, most of the structures in the school have ancient themes. Some of these architectural structures include the Capelos Room, the Medieval and Academic Prison, the Arms Room, the Private Exam Room, and the University Tower.
Biblioteca Joanina, which is Portuguese for "Joanina Library", is clearly the most popular public library in the country. However, it isn't only the countless volumes of ancient books and scrolls that make the library as popular as it is. The unique structure of the library also makes it an interesting sight for the eyes.
This museum is an important museum in the country as it used to be many things before it was finally made into a museum. The museum exhibits objects of science and technological advancements, dating up to 300 years back. The architectural structures of this museum may not be as profound as many other museums in the country but the uniqueness of its design makes it stand out remarkably.
Three hundred years after the nuns who used to live in this monastery abandoned the place, the ruins of the monastery were excavated in the 20th century. The ruined monastery still stands tall today at Coimbra, and it serves as a very popular tourist attraction spot in the country.