In this article, we have made a selection of 10 beautiful places to visit in Coimbra, because it can be even 20 or 30 places. Coimbra, a city in central Portugal, is known for being a university city.
Coimbra is one of the Portuguese destinations with the richest historical heritage in the country. You can check Google Maps location. But the charms of Coimbra are not lost only in student revelry and university life. Bathed by the Mondego River, this is a historic city, with amazing highlights, many beautiful things to do, and places to visit, once the scene of one of the most beautiful Portuguese love stories. Coimbra has a mystique of its own, the result of a past full of history – it was the second capital of Portugal (the first was Guimarães) until 1255 when the capital became Lisbon.
Coimbra is in the memories of many thousands of Portuguese who, even today, spread across the country or across borders, remember the youthful years spent here, when they attended University, times normally of carefree, animation, and hope.
Walking around the city, it is common to see a series of historic buildings of beautiful architecture, monuments, and Roman ruins. In the lower part, the streets are full of shops, good restaurants, and cafes, with their traditional sweets, such as Santa Clara and Tentúgal pastries.
Let’s explore best 10 places to visit in Coimbra
1. University of Coimbra
The University of Coimbra is the oldest in Portugal, founded in 1290. Housed in historic buildings, it still maintains some ancient traditions. When visiting the place, it is common to pass by students dressed in their traditional black capes. Visitation to the central patio is free, however, the main attractions are located inside. Tickets to visit the interior of the university are sold in the library building.
2. New Cathedral (That’s one of the beautiful places to visit in Coimbra)
Just look at the picture and you will understand that this is one of beautiful places to visit in Coimbra. Construction began on Colégio das Onze Mil Virgens in 1598, however, the church incorporated into it was inaugurated only in 1698. The Jesuits occupied the building until 1759, and in 1772 it became the seat of the Church of Santa Maria (Sé Velha ).
The façade of the New Cathedral has a Jesuit architectural style. Its interior has a single nave, with its chancel decorated with magnificent gilded altarpieces, built between the 17th and 18th centuries.
Located a few minutes (by car) from the center of Coimbra , where important Roman ruins are concentrated. An important archeological centre, here you can find archaeological evidence that Coimbra was first inhabited between the 9th century BC and the 7th-8th centuries.
Classified as a “National Monument” since 1910, in Conímbriga the city walls, the river systems, the thermal baths, the mosaics, and even a museum that compiles the objects found during the excavations, are some of the places to visit.
4. Quinta das Lágrimas
A setting for romance and tragedy, Quinta das Lágrimas was the scene of the fateful love story between Dom Pedro de Portugal and D. Inês de Castro, still present in the popular imagination.
Located on the other side of the Mondego, to get to know Quinta das Lágrimas better, you shouldn’t miss exploring the Neolithic ruins, the 19th-century palace, and the famous Fonte das Lágrimas, where Inês de Castro was executed.
5. Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha
Founded in 1330, the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha is a Gothic-style church. Located on the left bank of the Mondego River, this church has been submerged in the mud since the 17th century due to river floods. It recently underwent renovations that lasted 20 years.
It is currently open to visitors, along with the museum, which exhibits its pieces and archaeological findings. In 1677 a new monastery was built, more sheltered from the banks of the river, which became known as Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Nova.
6. Botanical Garden (That’s one of the best places to visit in Coimbra)
The Coimbra Botanical Garden is located next to the São Sebastião Aqueduct and the Department of Life Sciences of the Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of Coimbra.
It was founded in 1772, as an integral part of the “Museum of Natural History” for university studies. It has a large collection with collections of various species of plants. São Sebastião Aqueduct, also known as “Arcos do Jardim”, was built in 1570. It is 1 km long and had the objective of supplying water to some parts of the city.
7. Portugal dos Pequenitos
Portugal dos Pequenitos is a must-see. Founded in 1940, it is a pedagogical park aimed mainly at the little ones, which reflects the most striking characteristics of Portugal, both culturally and architecturally. The miniature houses portray the architecture of different areas of Portugal and also of Portuguese-speaking countries, such as Brazil, and Angola.
8. Old Cathedral of Coimbra
Visit the Cathedral and former Igreja da Sé in Coimbra, one of the oldest and main tourist attractions in Coimbra that you must visit in the city. Built in 1139, during the reign of D. Afonso Henriques, it is an imposing building that resembles a small castle and that brings together three different architectural styles: Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance.
Located in the heart of the historic center of the city of Coimbra, every year, the staircase of the Sé Velha hosts one of the main Portuguese student traditions: the Monumental Serenata that marks the beginning of the week of the burning of student ribbons, a moment not to be missed in Coimbra.
9. Santa Cruz Church
The church of Santa Cruz is one of the oldest churches in Portugal. Located in the heart of the Historic Center of Coimbra, it was founded in 1131, with D. Afonso Henriques being the main beneficiary. With an imposing entrance, during medieval times, it welcomed the elites of power and the intelligentsia. Here lie D. Afonso Henriques and his son, D. Sancho I.
10. Arch and Tower of Almedina
The Arco de Almedina was the main gate of the medieval wall. The oldest part of the door is attributed to the 9th century. The Tower of Almedina, built over the Arch of Almedina, had the function of guarding and defending the main access door to the interior of the wall. This is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Coimbra Portugal.