Coimbra is located in Central Portugal and although it served as the capital during the High Middle Ages, it is better known for its university, which is one of the oldest in Europe.
How to get to Coimbra
Coimbra has several railway stations and is located on the main line between Porto and Lisbon, which means it’s very easy to get here from either town. Also, the motorway connecting Lisbon to Porto passes by Coimbra, so you can easily get here by bus or rental car, as well.
The closest airport is Francisco Sa Carneiro Airport in Porto but Portela Airport in Lisbon can also serve as a good gateway into Coimbra, depending on which offers cheaper flights.
Coimbra’s weather is mild, due to being close to the Atlantic. Winter months tend to be rainy, though. Spring and early Fall are some of the best times to visit. If you look for both warm weather and festivals, then come here in June. September is also a warm month but with less crowds. If you must travel during summer, expect hot temperatures.
Jan avg high 13C / avg low 5C
Aug avg high 29C / avg low 15C
>>read more about Weather in Portugal
Where to stay
Coimbra doesn’t lack accommodation options. You can stay in a camping, choose a bed in one of the cheap hostels or stay in one of the charming downtown hotels . Make sure to book everything in advance if you plan to visit Coimbra during summer.
Things to do
Coimbra is a heaven for those who enjoy visiting Roman ruins. The well-preserved aqueduct and cryptoporticus date from the Roman era, when Coimbra was known as the settlement of Aeminium.
Buildings from the period when it served as the capital still remain and are much appreciated by the travelers. The Medieval Downtown is picturesque an offers plenty of interesting places to check out and photograph.
Also, although youngsters come here to study at the university, the education center is also visited because of its monuments and history. And while you are here, don’t miss the Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra, the fifth oldest in the world. Walk up to the top of the University Hill for some lovely views of the city and surrounding area.
The Old Cathedral, the New Cathedral as well as the Igreja de Santa Cruz are also worth your time.
You can also rent a car and take a drive outside the city to visit the picturesque mountain towns such as Lousã and Penacova or the spa towns and villages such as Luso, Buçaco and Curia.
Castle of Montemor-o-Velho is about 30 km from the city and can be a lovely day trip option. Try the local sweets along with a cup of tea. Then walk off the calories when you explore the surrounding area.