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9 Things to Do and See in Coimbra, Portugal

Ishwari Pamu Aug 31, 2019
A beautiful medieval city with a rich history and culture, Coimbra, has a lot to offer to its visitors. Monasteries, cathedrals and the University of Coimbra are some of the prominent tourist attractions here.

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University of Coimbra

The oldest university in Portugal sits atop a hill.

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Tour the grounds to learn about the history and events it has witnessed or climb the 180 stairs to get to the top of the tower and enjoy unbeatable views of the city.

Biblioteca Joanina

The most exceptional library you’ll ever set foot in, and the best place for bibliophiles.
It holds over 250,000 volumes on law, history, medicine, science and more; the collection includes books which date back to the 1500s and the 1700s.

Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha

A 14th century monastery, after being repeatedly flooded by the River Mondego, was abandoned in the 17th century. Today only the ruins remain.
Queen Elizabeth (wife of King Denis of Portugal) was entombed here.

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Major Seminary of Coimbra

Not known by many tourists visiting the city, this building is over 250 years old.

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The Episcopal Chambers, the church, the spiral staircase and the library which houses more than 8000 books from the 16th to the 18th century are definitely worth visiting.


Pasteis de Tentugal are special Portuguese cakes that have a thin crispy covering stuffed with egg custard. When in Coimbra, you should savor this delicacy.

Egg Tarts

Egg tarts are flaky and crumbly on the outside and creamy on the inside. They are the most favorite delicacies to binge-eat in Portugal.

Botanical Garden

Established in 1772, it is spread over 13 hectares and was used by the famous Avelar Brotero during the 1800s. It was originally founded for the study of natural history and medicine.

Santa Cruz Monastery

Although the monastery was founded in the 12th century, the elaborate Manueline facade was sculpted during the 16th century.
The first two monarchs of Portugal, Afonso Henriques and Sancho I, were buried here.

Sé Velha

Although this 12th century cathedral has a conservative and an almost fort-like appearance, the interiors tell a different story with the ornate late-Gothic altar and the opulent altarpiece.

New Cathedral

Located near the University of Coimbra, this cathedral is the bishopric seat of the city.
A few pieces like the choir stalls and the baptismal font were brought from the Old Cathedral to the New Cathedral.
Coimbra has a rich history and a vibrant culture, several historical monuments worth visiting and great food, which makes this city a traveler's delight.