Coimbra's Best: Essential Things to Do & Visit

Egor Kunovsky, Unsplash
January 9
Written by Elena Kostas

Discover the top attractions to visit in Coimbra and enjoy an unforgettable experience in this fascinating city. Find here a complete guide with all the must-see places to explore.

Coimbra, a charming city in central Portugal, awaits you with a wide range of tourist attractions that you can't miss. Whether you're interested in its rich history, impressive architecture, or vibrant student life, Coimbra has something for everyone.

Discover the top points of interest, such as the University of Coimbra, one of the oldest in Europe, the impressive Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha with its beautiful gardens, and the lively Republic Square, filled with bars and restaurants.

Don't miss the chance to explore the old town with its narrow cobbled streets and colorful houses. Enjoy a leisurely walk along the Mondego River and admire the breathtaking views from Mirador do Vale do Inferno.

Coimbra is also famous for its traditional fado music, so make sure to enjoy a unique evening of music in one of the traditional venues.

1. University of Coimbra

Historical Monuments and Architecture
brown concrete building
University of Coimbra / Miriam Pereira, Unsplash

The University of Coimbra, an architectural gem located in the city of Coimbra, Portugal, is a must-visit for history and culture enthusiasts. Founded in 1290, this institution is one of the oldest universities in the world and has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The University of Coimbra houses beautiful historical buildings, such as the Joanina Library and the stunning Jesuit College. It also offers an impressive panoramic view of the city from its Clock Tower. If you're visiting Coimbra, this place is a must-stop to learn about the region's history and culture.

Don't miss the opportunity to stroll through the ancient cloisters and gardens of the university, as well as to admire the rich collection of ancient books in the Joanina Library. The University of Coimbra is a cultural treasure that you shouldn't miss during your visit to the city.

2. Republic Square

Historical Monuments and Architecture

Republic Square, also known as Praça da República in Portuguese, is one of the most iconic places in Coimbra. Located in the heart of the city, this historic square stands out for its impressive architecture and vibrant atmosphere.

One of the highlights of Republic Square is the University of Coimbra, which is right next to it. This prestigious institution of higher education is a must-visit for history and culture enthusiasts. Don't miss the Joanina Library, an architectural gem filled with centuries-old books.

In addition to the university, Republic Square is home to a variety of cafes, restaurants, and shops. It's the perfect place to sit on a terrace and enjoy a coffee while admiring the beauty of the surrounding buildings.

3. Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha

Historical Monuments and Architecture

The Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha is one of the most impressive places to visit in Coimbra. This ancient monastery, built in the 14th century, offers visitors a fascinating insight into the city's history.

The architecture of the monastery is truly stunning. From its Gothic facade to its beautiful cloisters, there is much to admire. The interior of the monastery features a beautifully decorated church with religious artwork and an intriguing crypt.

In addition to the architecture, the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha also offers a stunning view of the Mondego River. Strolling through the monastery's gardens and enjoying the tranquility of the surroundings is an unforgettable experience.

4. Mondego River of Coimbra

Natural Spaces and Parks
white bridge near houses
Mondego River of Coimbra / Antonio Sessa, Unsplash

The Mondego River in Coimbra is one of the city's main tourist attractions. Known for its natural beauty and charming landscapes, the river offers a variety of activities for all tastes and ages.

Enjoy boat tours on the Mondego River and discover its hidden wonders. Take in the views of Coimbra's old town from a unique perspective while you relax and enjoy the scenery.

Make the most of water sports such as kayaking or paddleboarding. The Mondego River provides the perfect setting for adrenaline and fun amidst an incomparable natural environment.

5. Mirador do Vale do Inferno de Coimbra

Natural Spaces and Parks

The Mirador do Vale do Inferno in Coimbra is a breathtaking place that offers panoramic views of the valley. It is one of the most visited places in the city and undoubtedly a must-see when in Coimbra.

From this viewpoint, you can enjoy the natural landscapes of the region and admire the beauty of the valley. Moreover, it's a perfect spot to relax and experience the tranquility it offers.

Don't miss the opportunity to visit this incredible viewpoint during your stay in Coimbra. We assure you that you'll be amazed by the views and natural beauty you'll find here.

6. Traditional Fado Music in Coimbra

Entertainment and Pop Culture

Discover Traditional Fado Music in Coimbra

Traditional Fado music has been an integral part of Portuguese culture for centuries, and Coimbra takes pride in being the birthplace of this beautiful art form. Coimbra's Fado differs from Lisbon's Fado in style and theme, focusing on student life, love, and nostalgia.

Coimbra is located in the heart of Portugal, and its University, founded in 1290, is one of the oldest in Europe. Fado music is an inseparable part of student life in the city, with serenades and concerts filling the air with emotive and passionate melodies.

If you visit Coimbra, you must immerse yourself in the Fado experience. Enjoy a concert in a traditional venue, let yourself be carried away by the profound lyrics and Portuguese guitar chords, and be enveloped by the emotion that only Fado music can offer.