Coimbra is a historic city in Central Portugal, which serves as the regional capital. With almost 150,000 inhabitants, it is the largest municipality there and one of Portugal's four largest metropolises. An important urban and administrative centre since the birth of the Portuguese nation, the city has amassed vast cultural and architectural heritage and is the seat of one of world's oldest universities with a UNESCO-listed campus.
Coimbra (koo-EEM-bruh, /ku.ˈĩ.bɾɐ/)
The most convenient airports for Coimbra are (in order of distance):
Coimbra has two main train stations:
- 1 Coimbra railway station (Coimbra-A, Coimbra-Cidade, Estação Nova), Largo da Ameias / Rua António Granjo, ☏ . Coimbra-A is a historic train station built near the riverbank close to the medieval city centre. It is a terminus station only served by local trains.
- 2 Coimbra-B railway station (Estação Velha), Rua do Padrão - Eiras, ☏ . Coimbra-B is a through station on the Lisbon-Porto line, served by high-speed long-distance Alfa Pendular trains. It is quite remotely located, and the best you can do when arriving on an Alfa is to change to a local train to Coimbra-A, as all local trains serve both stations and your long-distance ticket will cover this stretch as well. Travel time to Coimbra-B is about 1 hr from Porto and about 1 hr 45 min from Lisbon. Train times (from any location) can be found on the CP National Rail site.
The best way to drive to Coimbra is using the A1 Highway. Take any exit to Coimbra and you will be about 10 min away from the city centre.
The bus station is located at Av. Fernão de Magalhães and is easily reached by local bus or on foot (a 10-minute walk from the city centre). It has destinations for the whole of Portugal (with changes for some far away destinations), and it's faster and fares are normally cheaper than the train.
Coimbra is a hard city to drive in as it was built around medieval structures. Also, finding a parking spot can be difficult. The best option for visiting Coimbra is to find a hotel with parking or to park near the city centre and then walk around. The main attractions are in the city centre and within walking distance of each other.
Coimbra Baixa is the lower city (downtown). Alta is the highest part of the city, which is also difficult to drive around.
Most of the things to see and do in Coimbra, and most of the places to eat, drink and sleep are within reasonable walking distance of each other and of the rail station, in Baixa. There are several hotels, residencias, pensions, restaurants, cafes, pastry shops, and nightclubs.
Most monuments are in Baixa and Santa Clara (across the Mondego river).
Smaller shops, restaurants and hotels are mostly in Baixa and Santa Clara.
Major shopping malls are in Alta, by Solum and near the municipal stadium/pool.
By electric bus
The "Pantufinhas" or Blue Line provides transport in the historical city centre, and a link between the lower and upper town.
There's an elevator ("Elevador do Mercado") that connects Rua Padre António Vieira with Rua Olímpio Nicolau Rui Fernandes (next to Mercado Municipal D Pedro V). A valid SMTUC ticket is necessary to gain access.
- 1 University of Coimbra. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2013 - the famous old library shuts at 19:00.
- 2 Medieval Downtown (Sao Tiago, Sao Bartolomeu).
- 3 Quinta das Lagrimas. It has a tragic story of love.
- 4 Estádio Cidade de Coimbra (Eurostadium Cidade de Coimbra). One of the Euro 2004 sites.
- 5 Old Cathedral (Sé Velha).
- 6 New Cathedral of Coimbra (Sé Nova).
- 7 Igreja de Santa Cruz. A church in Baixa.
- 8 Sta. Clara-a-Velha Convent.
- 9 Memorial da Irmã Lúcia (Sister Lúcia's Memorial), Carmelo de S. Teresa, Rua de Santa Teresa 16, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 15:00–18:00, M closed. Dedicated to Sister Lúcia, one of three shepherd children who the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to at Fátima in 1917. She later became a Carmelite sister. €1.50, children under 12 free.
Parks and gardens
- 10 Botanical Garden (Jardim Botânico da Universidade de Coimbra).
- 11 Parque Manuel Braga.
- 12 Parque Verde do Mondego. City park by the Mondego River.
- 13 Jardim da Sereia (Mermaid's Garden aka Jardim de Santa Cruz).
- 14 Penedo da Saudade. A beautiful garden.
Have a walk up to the top of University Hill from the Mondego river (one of the three great rivers of Portugal), a gorgeous view.
There are two kinds of fado in Portugal: fado from Lisbon and fado from Coimbra, neither should be missed (fados are nostalgic songs accompanied by Portuguese guitar).
There is always a lot going on in the student community, go and find out what's up. There are two student festivals held every year:
- Festa das Latas
- Queima das Fitas
The centre of Coimbra is a great place to get lost, Coimbra is a small city but it is full of interesting spots, such as museums (Machado de Castro), Torre d`Anto, etc.
The mediaeval centre of Coimbra is unusual in retaining a number of independent bookshops, boutiques, toyshops, galleries, antique and foodshops. There are several bookstores, cafes, restaurants, esplanadas. In Alta/Olivais:
- 1 Alma Shopping, Rua General Humberto Delgado 207, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Su–Th 08:30–23:00, Fr Sa & holiday eves 08:30–00:00.
- 2 Coimbra Shopping, Avenida Mendes Silva, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M–F 08:00–20:00, Sa Su 08:00–17:00.
- 3 Forum Coimbra, Avenida José Bonifácio de Andrade e Silva 1, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Su–Th & holidays 10:00–23:00, Fr Sa & before holidays 10:00–00:00.
If you are even just a bit into pottery, the traditional pottery is a must.
Having a meal is not really a problem in Coimbra, since the city has a lots of restaurants, some featuring regional cuisine, in the old city (Baixa). Rua de Azeiteiras, a street in Baixa, has lots of nice traditional restaurants.
Three reasonably big shopping centres serve the standard fast food meals you can find everywhere. They are located in key places in the city, but not necessarily close to the tourist attractions of the city.
- 1 Molho de Brocolos, Avenida Sa da Bandeira 33/35 (around to the right and at the back of the 2nd floor of Galerias Avenida). Organic vegan food. Location isn't great tucked away at the back of the 2nd floor of a slightly run-down shopping centre, but the food and the staff totally make up for it. €5-8 mains.
- 2 Fangas Mercearia Bar, Rua Fernandes Tomas 45–49, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M–W 19:00–23:00, Th F 19:00–23:30, Sa 12:30–15:30 & 19:00–23:30, Su 12:30–15:30 & 19:00–23:00. Small but tasty dishes, rich in flavour mainly because they use local products, good vegetarian even vegan choice, nice selection of Portuguese wines, surprising(ly good) desserts.
- 3 Itália, Parque Doutor Manuel Braga s/n, ☏ . Tu–Su 11:30–23:30, M closed. The Italian restaurant in the city park and over the river, very close to the Santa Clara bridge (very popular with tourists). You have a lot of outside tables, if the weather permits, and the food is prepared by Italian cooks. It's not very expensive either.
- 4 Zé Manel dos Ossos, Beco do Forno 12, ☏ . M–Sa 12:30–15:00 & 19:30–22:00, Su closed. A unique atmosphere inside the restaurant is responsible for this fame, but the food is good too. The walls of the restaurant are filled with small pieces of paper, with writings from clients. Be aware that it is quite a small space, so there's a big probability that you won't find a table. Generous portions and a charcoal grill that makes a big difference compared with the electric ones. Try the bone marrow stew (from which the restaurant takes its name) or the grilled seabass or a great dish of stewed octopus and potatoes.
- 5 Restaurante Vitória, Rua da Sota 9, ☏ . Restaurante Vitória is in the city centre and has traditional dishes suchs as "cozido à portuguesa", "bacalhau assado na brasa", "chafana". Nice and quiet restaurant.
- 6 Salão Brasil, Largo do Poço 3, 1st floor (up one flight), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tu–Sa 18:00–02:00, Su M closed. In the "baixinha" (downtown) centre. A unique room, with huge windows and very spacious, invites for a relaxed meal. The food is great with some unique dishes from around the country - like "Vitela Maronesa" and "Secretos de Porco preto". Vegetarian meals. During the weekends there is jazz, folk and fado concerts - most of them for free. It's great to finish your meal - you have plenty of time, Portuguese are always late - and get a concert right there. Sometimes they get very crowded.
- 7 A Taberna, Rua dos Combatentes da Grande Guerra 86, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 12:30–15:00 & 19:30–22:30, closed Su dinner & M lunch. If you want to try 'chanfana', one of the most famous dishes of the region, you should definitely go to this restaurant, close to the football stadium. This restaurant is specialized in a limited amount of dishes, but the quality of the food is just amazing. Go there at night, and try the 'chanfana', even though you may not have a clue about what this is. This is the place for those who really appreciate good food. Don't go too late at night, because it can be a little crowded. The restaurant is very good, and it's located in the most densely populated area of the city.
- 8 Toscana, Avenida Urbano Duarte 6, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M 19:00–22:30, Tu–Sa 12:00–15:00 & 19:00–22:30, Su closed. Another very popular Italian restaurant, close to the new bridge. The decoration is great, with a lot of pictures from Florence, Venice, Rome. The quality of the food is quite high. It's definitely not your standard pizza.
- 9 O Telheiro, Rua do Padrão 262, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Sa 12:00–15:00 & 19:00–23:00, Su M closed. On the downside, it is very hard to get a table (but you will get one if you wait) and it is out of the centre of Coimbra (approx. 5 min from Coimbra B train station). €10–€25.
- 10 João dos Leitões, Rua da Gala 45, ☏ . M–F 09:00–19:00, Sa 09:00–15:00, Su closed. One of the most typical restaurants of the city. Its main dish is a roasted piglet served whole with potatoes and salad. €5–€18.
- There is a lot of quality wine production in the regions surrounding Coimbra, try some Bairrada wine.
- Don't miss the licor beirao, a national sweet liquor drink created and made in the region.
- Try the different varieties of firewater agua ardente. One is made only from grapes while the other is made from mixed fruit. Each have a unique and different after taste.
- 1 Café Santa Cruz, Praça 8 de Maio, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M–W F 07:00–00:00, Th Sa Su 08:00–00:00. A historical cafe next to the "Igreja de Santa Cruz" (Holy Cross Church).
- The bars in the City Park are open all day long.
The bars in the Parque Verde do Mondego are a good place to go for a drink during spring and summer. The bars around the Praça da República are full of the spirit of the students of the University, mainly during weekdays in autumn, winter and spring.
A warning: the students in this town seem to prefer Tuesday or Thursday night to go out. On weekends, this city is sleepy as many students go home to their families.
- 2 àCapella, Rua Corpo de Deus–Largo da Vitória, Capela Nossa Srª da Victória, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 19:00–02:00. A bar where you can find yourself surrounded by Portuguese guitar tunes and Fado de Coimbra. Get a grip of this so traditional local culture.
- 3 Bar Diligência, Rua Nova 30. M–Sa 20:00–02:00, Su closed. The oldest Fado House in Coimbra. Typical night bar where you'll find Fado de Coimbra and all kinds of Portuguese traditional music.
- 4 Salão Brazil, Largo do Poço 3, 1st floor (1 flight up), ☏ . A restaurant but also a bar, most worthy during weekends, with - mostly - free jazz, folk and fado concerts.
- 5 Bar AAC (Bar Associação Académica de Coimbra), Rua Padre António Vieira 1, ✉ email@example.com. M–F 10:00–04:00, Sa Su 15:00–04:00. Coimbra University academic association bar. Entrance sometimes limited to University students.
- 6 Quebra (Bar Quebra Costas), Rua Quebra Costas 45, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Nice location on the stairs leading to Se Velha. Open air concerts.
- 7 NB Club Coimbra, Rua Venâncio Rodrigues 9, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tu–Sa 00:00–06:00, Su M closed. Disco near Praça da República.
- 8 Noites Longas, Rua Almeida Garrett 11, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu Th–Sa 19:00–07:00, M W Su closed. Disco near Praça da República, alternative sounding (metal, rock).
There are several cheap hostels around the city centre.
- 1 HI-Coimbra Pousada de Juventude, Rua Dr. Henriques Seco 14, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 18:00–00:00, check-out: 08:00–12:00. Youth hostel.
- 2 Residencial Gouveia, Rua João de Ruão 21, 1st floor (one flight up) (in the heart of downtown Coimbra), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 14:30–21:00, check-out: 08:00–11:00. It is an excellent compromise between comfortable and economical price. It offers rooms with free Wi-Fi and air conditioning (optional) and allows you to make reservations at the official site. It does not include meals. €22–€32.
- 3 Hotel Domus, Rua Adelino Veiga 62, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. They have cheaper rooms in another building just opposite. €39–€50.
- 4 Residencia Aeminium Coimbra, Av. Fernão de Magalhães 17, ☏ . Great location near transportations and all main attractions. Good alternative to hotels or hostels with a good quality-price ratio.
- 5 Hotel Ibis Coimbra, Avenida Emidio Navarro n°70 Edificio Topazio, ☏ . It's a modern looking hotel with amazing features.
- 6 Tryp Coimbra, Alameda Armando Gonsalves 20, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. €53–€66.
- 7 Oslo Hotel Coimbra, Avenida Fernão de Magalhães 25, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Near the train station and all main attractions. The staff are helpful and the view is nice. €67–€123.
- 8 Quinta das Lágrimas, Quinta das Lágrimas, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. The best and most expensive hotel in Coimbra. The hotel itself is a historical site. The hotel's restaurant may be the best restaurant in the city. It's the most expensive place in the city though... Be sure to wear your best clothes if you go there. It's a very fancy place. €104–€245.
- Conímbriga, the largest Roman ruins in Portugal, about 15 km away, to the south. There are also some hiking routes of varying length starting from the ravine-side of the ruins, with maps and direction markers provided. In the autumn you may also sample the fruits of the wild strawberry trees growing along the hiking paths. Getting there by bus is possible with the bus run by the company Transdev. It leaves from the southern exit of the Coimbra railway station (not Coimbra-B), on the river side of Av. Emidio Navarro. There are many bus stands there. It's one of the stands closest to the train station - look for a white bus with red Transdev branding, with a sign it's going towards Condeixa or Conímbriga. Keep in mind the bus may be late, so don't walk away after 5 minutes waiting. The bus takes 45 minutes and will drop you right at the ruins, for a cost of €2.60 one-way, to be paid to the bus driver directly. Conímbriga is the last station of the line, so you can't really miss it. The schedule is quite complex. The bus leaves from Coimbra at 09:00 (working days only), 09:30, 12:30, 15:00 (only Sundays and public holidays) and 15:30 (only Saturdays, except if the Saturday is a public holiday). The bus back from Conímbriga leaves at 12:55 (working days only), 13:25 (only Saturdays, except if the Saturday is also a public holiday), 13:55 (only Sundays and public holidays), 16:25 (working days only), 17:55 (working days only, but this requires a connection or something in Condeixa), 17:55 (working days only) and finally 18:25 (only on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays). The schedule and prices are provided for September 2019. Ask at the Coimbra tourist office for an updated schedule, as neither the bus stand nor the Transdev website seems to display it anywhere. For the tourist office walk about 300 m from the train station South following the river - the office is on the left side of the road, just after you pass the bridge on your right.
- Castle of Montemor-o-Velho, about 30 km away. Have a cup of tea and don't forget tasting the local sweets: "espigas de Montemor", "pastéis de Tentúgal", "queijadas de Tentúgal" - mostly eggs and sugar in delicious and extremely-caloric combinations.
- Figueira da Foz is about 40 km away. Beaches and casino.
- Eat "Leitão" in Mealhada
- Eat "Chanfana" in Miranda do Corvo
- Lousã, mountain town.
- Luso/Buçaco (spa)
- Curia village (garden/park and lagoon/)
- Penela (Castle)
- Pombal (Castle)
- Penacova, a town by the Mondego river.
Also within an hour:
|Routes through Coimbra|
|Porto ← Mealhada ←||N S||→ Leiria → Lisbon|