Are you planning to travel to Coimbra, Portugal soon? Read our tips below on the things to do in Coimbra with suggested tours!

Photo by Leandro Neumann Ciuffo CC BY 2.0

Located in central Portugal, Coimbra is a riverfront city and was the former capital of the said country. It is blessed with a preserved medieval old town and historical university such as the University of Coimbra, this popular university is also well-known for its baroque library, the Biblioteca Joanina. If you’re the type of traveler who wants to explore cities that are not invaded by tourists, then Coimbra is the place for you. Plus it is easily accessible from Lisbon, Portugal’s capital.

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List of Best Things to do in Coimbra, Portugal

1. Biblioteca Joanina

10 Best Things to do in Coimbra, Portugal
Photo by Boris Kasimov CC BY 2.0

The Joanina Library is located within the premises of the University of Coimbra. A lot of wood and gold make up an inspiring architecture. It is a unique library with thousands and thousands of books, in a jaw-dropping Baroque style.

Suggested Tour: Full Day Coimbra’s Heritage and University Private Tour

2. University of Coimbra

10 Best Things to do in Coimbra, Portugal
Photo by Henrique Macedo on Unsplash

If you will visit the Joanina Library, of course, don’t miss out on the University of Coimbra. The University, founded on the 1st of March 1290 by King Dinis I of Portugal, is one of the oldest in the world, and still, in full operation. It is an ancient university and one of the most important in Portugal today. It’s interesting to walk through its faculties full of history.

Suggested Tour: University of Coimbra Walking Tour

3. Fado ao Centro

10 Best Things to do in Coimbra, Portugal
Photo by FlyingCrimsonPig CC BY 2.0

Fado ao Centro is the best place to discover Coimbra’s fado. For those who like to enjoy the local culture, this is a must. The presentation lasts about 50 minutes. In addition to the excellent musicians, there is also a video explaining the history and roots of this fado. After the end, you can even participate in a small Port wine tasting.

Suggested Tour: 2-Hour Private Guided Walking Tour Experience

4. Igreja e Mosteiro da Santa Cruz

A beautiful and well-maintained monastery. This is the place where the Kings Afonso Henriques and Sancho are buried. It keeps precious gems of sacred art inside and the walls covered with tile panels are just wonderful. It is worth the visit if you like art, architecture, and appreciate places like churches and monasteries.

5. Portugal dos Pequenitos

10 Best Things to do in Coimbra, Portugal
Photo by Anton Kukushin CC BY-SA 2.0

Ideal for those who want to explore a little of Portugal’s past up to the children and allow them to feel the atmosphere of a place that tries to reproduce their heritage in a pleasant and non-tiring way. There are several spaces dedicated to the little ones, with recreational and educational activities.

Suggested Tour: From Lisbon: Private Tour to Coimbra

6. Museu Nacional de Machado de Castro

10 Best Things to do in Coimbra, Portugal
Photo by Gabriel de Andrade Fernandes CC BY-SA 2.0

Certainly one of the best museums in Portugal. A large collection of historical pieces resulting from excavations makes it very interesting to circulate through the museum’s various floors. In this museum, you can see the ruins of the wall from the time of the Roman Empire. There is also a panoramic restaurant inside the museum, where you can have a good meal and with views of the University and downtown area.

7. Old Cathedral of Coimbra (Sé Velha de Coimbra)

10 Best Things to do in Coimbra, Portugal
Photo by Guillén Pérez CC BY-ND 2.0

For those who like architecture, history, and religion, this is an unmissable tour. You have to pay for a visit but totally worth it. The building itself is very beautiful and similar to several other Portuguese churches of the same era. See wonderful works of art and a cloister garden that yields great photo opportunities.

8. Jardim Botanico

10 Best Things to do in Coimbra, Portugal
Photo by Marco Varisco CC BY-SA 2.0

A quiet, calm, and great space to stroll, rest, and relax with friends, or enjoy a book. Jardin Botanico is a very nice place with many species of plants from different parts of the world. There is a small fair inside where you can buy some fruits and vegetables from local producers. For those who like plants, peace, and nature, this is highly recommended.

9. Mosteiro de Santa Clara-a-Velha

10 Best Things to do in Coimbra, Portugal
Photo by François Philipp CC BY 2.0

It is an unmissable place in Coimbra. This monastery ended up being abandoned because the river claimed its space. It was submerged for more than a century until they drained the place and discovered the monastery. The museum tells the whole history of the monastery and also tells how it got to the present day.

10. Chapel of St Michael

A small 16th-century chapel that was built to replace a private oratory. It has a beautiful, very delicate side portal, started by Marcos Pires and finished by Diogo de Castilho after his death. The altar is beautiful, all golden, and located above a stunning baroque organ, which is still in operation. All walls have typical Portuguese tiles with beautiful images. A must-see!

Where to stay in Coimbra, Portugal

Budget Hotel

Farol de Vida

10 Best Things to do in Coimbra, Portugal

Farol de Vida is situated in Coimbra in the Centro region. The rooms at the guest house are fitted with a seating area and a flat-screen TV. All rooms will provide guests with a microwave. Among the facilities at this property are a shared kitchen and a shared lounge.

Price: Starts at $30 per night for a Twin Room, includes taxes and charges, and it offers a free cancellation.

Luxury Hotel

Hotel Quinta das Lagrimas – Small Luxury Hotels

10 Best Things to do in Coimbra, Portugal

This recently renovated 5-star hotel is situated in a historic medieval palace. Quinta das Lágrimas offers 3 room types: Palace Rooms once accommodated the Duke of Wellington and Garden Rooms overlook the botanical garden. Spa Rooms include a hydrotherapy bathtub and boast stunning views of Quinta’s woods. The 2 restaurants at Hotel Quinta das Lágrima serve seasonal dishes prepared with fresh local ingredients grown on the estate.

Price: Starts at $141 per night for a Double Room, includes taxes and charges, free breakfast, and it offers a free cancellation.

These are the possible things you can do in Coimbra, Portugal. So if you are ready to have a fun and exciting trip, you know what to do and where to go! So pack your things now and prepare yourself for a wonderful adventure in Coimbra.

How to go to Coimbra, Portugal from London

Since Coimbra is a small city, you may need to use several modes of transportation before you can reach it. There’s an airport in Coimbra but flights are not very common. The best way is to travel from London to Lisbon.

Via EasyJet: (one way)

*From London Luton – Lisbon

Ticket Price: £64.85

Via Ryanair: (one way)

*From London Stansted – Lisbon

Ticket Price: £68.18

*Traveling from Lisbon to Coimbra

You can reach Coimbra from Lisbon either by train or bus. If you’ll travel by train, it can take around 2 hours to reach Coimbra. You can check here to see the schedule and ticket prices.

If by bus, just take the Rede Expressos. From the airport, travel to Sete Rios Station, then take the train to the bus station in Coimbra on Fernando de Magallanes Avenue. The journey can take between 2 hours to 4 hours depending if the bus will make stops.

*Prices are subject to change. You can visit Skyscanner for more details about the ticket prices.

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About the Writer

Fatima Turla2Hi there! I’m Fatima. My first major travel was in 2016 in the beautiful city of Cebu. After that, I got interested in traveling. Now I enjoy learning languages and other country’s cultures. My goal is to visit at least one country each year and to share my experiences with other people through writing or blogging. Witness my journey by following me on Instagram.​​​​​​​​​​​​



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