COIMBRA

Portugal

Coimbra is a city and a municipality in Portugal. The population at the 2011 census was 143,396, in an area of 319.40 square kilometres (123.3 sq mi). The fourth-largest urban centre in Portugal (after Lisbon, Porto and Braga), it is the largest city of the district of Coimbra, the Centro region and the Baixo Mondego subregion. About 460,000 people live in the Região de Coimbra, comprising 19 municipalities and extending into an area 4,336 square kilometres (1,674 sq mi).

Info Coimbra

introduction

Coimbra is a city and a municipality in Portugal. The population at the 2011 census was 143,396, in an area of 319.40 square kilometres (123.3 sq mi). The fourth-largest urban centre in Portugal (after Lisbon, Porto and Braga), it is the largest city of the district of Coimbra, the Centro region and the Baixo Mondego subregion. About 460,000 people live in the Região de Coimbra, comprising 19 municipalities and extending into an area 4,336 square kilometres (1,674 sq mi).

Among the many archaeological structures dating back to the Roman era, when Coimbra was the settlement of Aeminium, are its well-preserved aqueduct and cryptoporticus. Similarly, buildings from the period when Coimbra was the capital of Portugal (from 1131 to 1255) still remain. During the Late Middle Ages, with its decline as the political centre of the Kingdom of Portugal, Coimbra began to evolve into a major cultural centre. This was in large part helped by the establishment the University of Coimbra in 1290, the oldest academic institution in the Portuguese-speaking world. Apart from attracting many European and international students, the university is visited by many tourists for its monuments and history.

Its historical buildings were classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2013: "Coimbra offers an outstanding example of an integrated university city with a specific urban typology as well as its own ceremonial and cultural traditions that have been kept alive through the ages.

info
POPULATION : 143,396
FOUNDED : 
TIME ZONE : WET/WEST (UTC+0/+1)
LANGUAGE : Portuguese (official)
RELIGION :
AREA :  319.40 km2 (123.32 sq mi)
ELEVATION :Highest elevation 499 m (1,637 ft)
Lowest elevation 9 m (30 ft)
COORDINATES :40°12′40″N 8°25′45″W
SEX RATIO : Male: 48.45%
 Female: 51.55%
ETHNIC :
AREA CODE : 292
POSTAL CODE : 3000
DIALING CODE :  +351 239
WEBSITE : www.cm-coimbra.pt

Tourism

Coimbra is a historic city in Central Portugal, which serves as the regional capital and, with almost 150 000 inhabitants, is the largest municipality there and one of Portugal's four largest metropolises. An important urban and administrative centre since the birth of the Portuguese nation, the city has amassed vast cultural and architectural heritage and is the seat of one of world's oldest universities with a UNESCO-listed campus.

History

Early history

The city, located on a hill by the Mondego River, was called Aeminium in Roman times. It fell under the influence, administratively, of the larger Roman villa of Conímbriga (in Condeixa-a-Nova), until the latter was sacked by the Sueves and Visigoths between 569 and 589 and abandoned.  It became the seat of a diocesis, replacing Conímbriga. Although Conimbriga had been administratively important, Aeminium affirmed its position by being situated at the confluence of the north-south traffic that connected the Roman Bracara Augusta (later Braga) and Olisipo (later Lisbon) with its waterway, which enabled connections with the interior and coast. The limestone table on which the settlement grew has a dominant position overlooking the Mondego, circled by fertile lands irrigated by its waters. Vestiges of this early history include the cryptoporticus of the former Roman forum (now part of the Museu Nacional de Machado de Castro). The move of the settlement and bishopric of Conimbriga to Aeminium resulted in the name change to Conimbriga, evolving later to Colimbria.

During the Visigothic era (around the 8th century), the County of Coimbra was instituted by King Wittiza; a sub-county of his dominion, it was established as a fief for his son Prince Ardabast (or Sisebuto), with its seat in Emínio (the Visigothic name for Coimbra), which persisted until the Muslim invasion from the south.

The first Muslim campaigns that occupied the Iberian peninsula occurred between 711 and 715, with Coimbra capitulating to Musa bin Nusair in 714. Although it was not a large settlement,Qulumriyah (Arabic: قُلُمْرِيَة‎‎), in the context of Al-Andalus, was the largest agglomerated centre along the northern Tagus valley, and its principal city boasted a walled enclosure of 10 hectares, supporting between 3000 and 5000 inhabitants. Remnants of this period include the beginnings of the Almedina, Arrabalde and the fortified palace used by the city's governor (which was later converted into the Royal Palace by the early Portuguese monarchs). The Christian Reconquista forced Muslim forces to abandon the region temporarily. Successively the Moors retook the castle in 987–1064 and again in 1116, capturing two castles constructed to protect the territory: in Miranda da Beira (where the garrison was slaughtered) and in Santa Eulália (where the governor rendered his forces rather than facing a similar massacre).


Middle Ages

The reconquest of the territory was attained in 1064 by King Ferdinand I of León and Castile, who appointed Dom Sisnando Davides to reorganize the economy and administer the lands encircling the city. The County of Portucale and the County of Coimbra were later integrated into one dominion under the stewardship of Henry of Burgandy by Alfonso VI of León and Castile in 1096, when Henry married Alfonso's illegitimate daughter Theresa. Henry expanded the frontiers of the County, confronting the Moorish forces, and upon his death (in 1112), Theresa, Countess of Portucale and Coimbra, unified her possessions. Their son, Afonso Henriques, who would take up residence in the ancient seat of the Christian County of Coimbra, sent expeditions to the south and west, consolidating a network of castles that included Leiria, Soure, Rabaçal,Alvorge and Ansião.

During the 12th century, Afonso Henriques administered an area of fertile lands with river access and protected by a fortified city, whose population exceeded 6000 inhabitants, including magnates, knights and high clergy. The young Infante encouraged the construction of his seat, funding the Santa Cruz Monastery (the most important Portuguese monastic institution at the time, founded in 1131 by Theotonius), promoted the construction of the Old Cathedral, reconstructed the original Roman bridge in 1132, recuperated fountains, kilns, roads and stone pavements, as well as renovating the walls of the old city. In order to confirm and reinforce the power of the concelho (municipality) he conceded a formal foral (charter) in 1179.

Already in the Middle Ages, Coimbra was divided into an upper city (Cidade Altaor Almedina), where the aristocracy and the clergy lived, and the merchant, artisan and labour centres in the lower city (Arrabalde or Cidade Baixa) by the Mondego River, in addition to the old and new Jewish quarters. The city was encircled by a fortified wall, of which some remnants are still visible like the Almedina Gate (Porta da Almedina). Meanwhile, on the periphery, the municipality began to grow in various agglomerations, notably around the monasteries and convents that developed in Celas, Santa Clara, Santo António dos Olivais. The most important work in Gothic style in the city is the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha, founded on the left side of the river Mondego by Queen Elizabeth of Portugal in the first half of the 14th century. It stood too close to the river, and frequent floods forced the nuns to abandon it in the 17th century, when the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Nova was built uphill. The Queen's magnificent Gothic tomb was also transferred to the new convent. The ruins of the old convent were excavated in the 2000s, and can be seen today in the left bank of the river.


Renaissance

In the 15th and 16th centuries, during the Age of Discovery, Coimbra was again one of the main artistic centres of Portugal thanks to both local and royal patronage. Coimbra bishops, religious orders and King Manuel I supported artists like Diogo Pires (father and son), Marcos Pires, João de Castilho, Diogo de Castilho and the Frenchmen, João de Ruão and Nicholas of Chanterene, among others, who left important Manueline and Renaissance works in the town. Dating from this period are the remodelling (in manueline style) of the Santa Cruz Monastery, including the tombs of Kings Afonso Henriques and Sancho I, the Renaissance Manga Fountain, the altarpieces and triumphal portal of the Old Cathedral, among other works.

The University of Coimbra, was founded as a Studium Generale in Lisbon in 1290 by King Dinis I. The University was relocated to Coimbra in 1308, but in 1338 the King D. Afonso IV make the University return to Lisbon. The University was definitively transferred to the premises of Coimbra Royal Palace in 1537 by King John III, and expanded by 1544 to occupy the Coimbra Royal Palace. Since then, city life has revolved around the state-run university. For many decades, several colleges (colégios) established by the religious orders provided an alternative to the official institution, but were gradually discontinued with the secularization of education in Portugal. Built in the 18th century, the Joanina Library (Biblioteca Joanina), a Baroque library, is other notable landmark of the ancient university. The Baroque University Tower (Torre da Universidade), from the school of the German architect Ludovice and built between 1728 and 1733, is the city's library.


Baroque and modern

In 1772, the Marquis of Pombal, prime minister of King José I, undertook a profound reform of the university, where the study of the sciences assumed vast importance. The collections of scientific instruments and material acquired then are nowadays gathered in the Science Museum of the University of Coimbra, and constitute one of the most important historical science collections in Europe.

The first half of the 19th century was a difficult period for Coimbra, being invaded by French troops under the command of Andoche Junot and André Masséna during the Peninsular War. A force of 4,000 Portuguese militia led by Nicholas Trant dealt Masséna a heavy blow when it recaptured the city on 6 October 1810. In March 1811, the militia successfully held the place against the retreating French army. The city recovered in the second half of the 19th century with infrastructure improvements like the telegraph, gas light, the railway system, a railway bridge over the Mondego River and the renovation of the Portela bridge, in addition to the broadening of roads and expansion of the city into the Quinta de Santa Cruz.

By 1854, with the expulsion of the religious orders and municipal reforms, the need to reorganize the municipality of Coimbra forced some changes in the existing structure of the administrative divisions. Consequently, documents were sent (on 20 January 1854) to the Ministries of Ecclesiastical Affairs (Portuguese:Ministério dos Negócios Eclesiásticos) and Justice (Portuguese: Ministério de Justiça) urging the identification by the Civil Governor and Archbishop of Coimbra (Manuel Bento Rodrigues) of the number of civil parishes to preserve, their limits, the political organs to be retained, a local census and other statistics to justify the demarcation of the territory. A commission of five members, that included João Maria Baptista Callixto, António dos Santos Pereira Jardim, Roque Joaquim Fernandes Thomás, João Correia Ayres de Campos and António Egypcio Quaresma Lopes de Carvalho e Vasconcelos, were appointed to produce a plan to reduce, suppress, demarcate and establish civil parishes in the city of Coimbra and its suburbs.


Republic

On 1 January 1911, electric tramways were inaugurated to connect the old quarter with its expanding periphery, that included the residential areas of Celas, Olivais, Penedo da Saudade and Calhabé, all of these located in the civil parish of Santo António dos Olivais. This was only the initiation of the municipality growth. Civil construction projects throughout the region marked the economic activity of the territory, with new areas such as Montes Claros, Arregaça, Cumeada and Calhabé growing in the shadow of the city. Even projects that had been planned at the end of the 19th century gained new initiative, including the expansion of the Santa Cruz neighbourhood (bairro), the demolition of the residential area of the Alta de Coimbra (1940–50) to expand the University, and construction or expansion of the bairros of Celas, Sete Fontes and Marechal Carmona (now the bairro of Norton de Matos).

Climate

Coimbra has a mild Mediterranean climate (Csb) according to the Köppen climate classification. In winter, temperatures range between 15 °C (59 °F) at day and 5 °C (41 °F) at night in the coldest month and some times could drop below 0 °C (32 °F), while summer temperatures range between 29 °C (84 °F) at day and 16 °C (61 °F) at night and can reach 40 °C (104 °F) or more. The highest and lowest temperatures recorded in Coimbra are −7.8 °C (18.0 °F) and 42.5 °C (108.5 °F) in 1941 and 1943. The average of days in a year with minimum temperature less than 0 °C (32 °F) is 10.5 and with maximum temperature above 30 °C (86 °F) is 32.2.

Climate data for Coimbra

MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)23.5
(74.3)
25.5
(77.9)
30.2
(86.4)
33.0
(91.4)
37.5
(99.5)
41.6
(106.9)
40.2
(104.4)
40.5
(104.9)
40.0
(104)
34.6
(94.3)
27.6
(81.7)
25.2
(77.4)
41.6
(106.9)
Average high °C (°F)14.8
(58.6)
16.2
(61.2)
18.9
(66)
19.9
(67.8)
22.4
(72.3)
26.2
(79.2)
28.4
(83.1)
28.7
(83.7)
27.3
(81.1)
22.7
(72.9)
18.0
(64.4)
15.4
(59.7)
21.58
(70.83)
Daily mean °C (°F)9.9
(49.8)
11.0
(51.8)
13.3
(55.9)
14.5
(58.1)
16.9
(62.4)
20.3
(68.5)
21.9
(71.4)
21.9
(71.4)
20.7
(69.3)
17.2
(63)
13.3
(55.9)
11.0
(51.8)
15.99
(60.77)
Average low °C (°F)5.0
(41)
5.8
(42.4)
7.6
(45.7)
9.1
(48.4)
11.4
(52.5)
14.3
(57.7)
15.6
(60.1)
15.1
(59.2)
14.1
(57.4)
11.8
(53.2)
8.6
(47.5)
6.5
(43.7)
10.41
(50.73)
Record low °C (°F)−4.9
(23.2)
−4.0
(24.8)
−3.3
(26.1)
−1.5
(29.3)
2.0
(35.6)
4.1
(39.4)
6.8
(44.2)
6.0
(42.8)
2.0
(35.6)
−2.6
(27.3)
−3.1
(26.4)
−2.8
(27)
−4.9
(23.2)
              
Source #1: Instituto de Meteorologia (1981–2010 climatology)
Source #2: NOAA (sun, 1961–1990)

Geography

One of the nation's important crossroads, Coimbra was historically at a junction between the Braga and Lisbon, and its river access (the Mondego flows through the municipality) provided a route between the interior communities and the coastal towns (including the seaside city of Figueira da Foz, 40 km (25 mi) west of Coimbra). The historic city of Coimbra is located in centrally within the municipality, connected to Lisbon (197 km (122 mi)) and Porto (116 km (72 mi)) by the IC2, IP3 and A1 motorways.

The municipality is circled by several of its neighbouring municipalities in the Baixo Mondego region, which include Penacova (in the northeast), Vila Nova de Poiares (to the east), Miranda do Corvo (to the southeast), Condeixa-a-Nova (to the south and southwest), Montemor-o-Velho (to the west), Cantanhede (to the northwest) and Mealhada (in the north and northeast). Just outside the municipality, there are also several picturesque mountain towns such as Lousã and Penacova, while spa towns and villages, such as Luso, Buçaco and Curia are commonplace.

Although it ceased in the 13th century to serve as the capital of Portugal, Coimbra retains considerable importance as the centre of the former Beira province, now designated the Centro region. It is considered alongside Braga one of the two most important regional centres in Portugal outside the Lisbon and Portos metropoles, the centre for the whole middle region of the country. With a dense urban grid, the municipality is known primarily for the city of Coimbra, itself famous for its monuments, churches, libraries, museums, parks, nightlife, healthcare and shopping facilities. Above all, its cultural life, oriented around the University of Coimbra, has historically attracted the nation's notable writers, artists, academics and aristocracy, securing its reputation as the Lusa-Atenas (Lusitanian Athens).

Economy

The wealth of the city rests mostly on its University of Coimbra with about 20,000 students – the city has a total of 35,000 higher education students considering the other higher education institutions based there – but also in shopping, technology and health sciences industry, administrative offices, financial services, law firms and specialized medical care. The city has many private clinics, medical offices and two large independent state hospital centres: the H.U.C. – Hospitais da Universidade de Coimbra, which is a university hospital, and the C.H.C. – Centro Hospitalar de Coimbra, which includes a general hospital. Coimbra has also the regional branch of the national cancer hospital – the I.P.O. – Instituto Português de Oncologia, as well as a military hospital. The Instituto Nacional de Medicina Legal, the state-run forensic science institute of Portugal, is headquartered in Coimbra.

Notable companies based in the municipality of Coimbra include software companies Critical Software and Ciberbit which have their global headquarters in the city, mechanical and electronics engineering company Active Space Technologies, telemetry and Machine to Machine company ISA, Cimpor's cement factory in Souselas (CIMPOR Souselas), the pan-European service facility of Olympus Corporation, the pharmaceuticals companies Bluepharma and BASI, the iron foundry Fucoli-Somepal and several ceramics, food processing (Probar produces cold meat products and Dan Cake produces sponge cakes and swiss rolls), textiles, wine, civil and engineering construction, architecture, public works and housing construction firms. Handicraft industry is well represented by traditional tapestry and pottery manufacture, and the surroundings of the city have besides forestry, dynamic horticulture production, vineyards and livestock raising. The Instituto Pedro Nunes (Pedro Nunes Institute), a business incubator, dynamically hosts several start-ups which are usually dedicated to technology-related businesses and became independent spin-off companies headquartered across the whole region. There is a move by municipal authorities to bring in more innovation and high-technology businesses, through initiatives such as the Coimbra Innovation Park (construction concluded in 2010), with the objective of promoting innovation and companies that promote research and development (such as nanotechnology company Innovnano, a subsidiary of Companhia União Fabril).

Coimbra has a fresh produce open-air market on every 7th and 23rd days of the month at Feira dos 7 e dos 23, and a large fresh produce market in downtown at Mercado D. Pedro V. The Baixa (downtown) of Coimbra has many coffeehouses and bakeries, and features several specialty shops selling all kind of products in typical old-fashioned architectural surroundings. Large commercial facilities with car park, include a medium-sized shopping center (CoimbraShopping); two larger shopping centers with hypermarket, restaurants, movie theaters and several shops with a selection of some of Portugal's and the world's most famous and stylish international brands include "Dolce Vita Coimbra" designed by the American planning and design firm, Suttle Mindlin and Forum Coimbra; and two retail parks found on the fringes of the city, offering an alternative to the busy city centre (Retail Park Mondego in Taveiro, and Coimbra Retail Park in Eiras). Dolce Vita Coimbra was the recipient of the 2006 MIPIM International Design Award; the 2006 ICSC International Design Award; and the 2006 ICSC European Design Award proving that Portugal and Coimbra offer both historical and thoroughly modern shopping experiences.

Subdivisions

Administratively, the municipality is divided into 18 civil parishes (freguesias):

  • Almalaguês
  • Antuzede e Vil de Matos
  • Assafarge e Antanhol
  • Brasfemes
  • Ceira
  • Cernache
  • Coimbra (Sé Nova, Santa Cruz, Almedina e São Bartolomeu)
  • Eiras e São Paulo de Frades
  • São João do Campo
  • São Martinho da Árvore e Lamarosa
  • São Martinho do Bispo e Ribeira de Frades
  • São Silvestre
  • Souselas e Botão
  • Santa Clara e Castelo Viegas
  • Santo António dos Olivais
  • Taveiro, Ameal e Arzila
  • Torres do Mondego
  • Trouxemil e Torre de Vilela

Prices in Coimbra

PRICES LIST - EUR

MARKET / SUPERMARKET

Milk1 liter€0.60
Tomatoes1 kg€1.25
Cheese0.5 kg€4.00
Apples1 kg€1.20
Oranges1 kg€0.85
Beer (domestic)0.5 l€1.00
Bottle of Wine1 bottle€3.50
Coca-Cola2 liters€1.75
Bread1 piece€0.90
Water1.5 l€0.32

PRICES LIST - EUR

RESTAURANTS

Dinner (Low-range)for 2€16.00
Dinner (Mid-range)for 2€30.00
Dinner (High-range)for 2
Mac Meal or similar1 meal€5.50
Water0.33 l€0.83
Cappuccino1 cup€1.25
Beer (Imported)0.33 l€1.30
Beer (domestic)0.5 l€1.30
Coca-Cola0.33 l€1.05
Coctail drink1 drink€5.80

PRICES LIST - EUR

ENTERTAINMENT

Cinema2 tickets€13.00
Gym1 month€34.00
Men’s Haircut1 haircut€9.00
Theatar2 tickets€36.00
Mobile (prepaid)1 min.€0.14
Pack of Marlboro1 pack€4.50

PRICES LIST - EUR

PERSONAL CARE

Antibiotics1 pack€6.00
Tampons32 pieces€3.50
Deodorant50 ml.€3.00
Shampoo400 ml.€4.00
Toilet paper4 rolls€1.25
Toothpaste1 tube€2.00

PRICES LIST - EUR

CLOTHES / SHOES

Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)1 €78.00
Dress summer (Zara, H&M )1 €30.00
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas )1 €64.00
Leather shoes1 €93.00

PRICES LIST - EUR

TRANSPORTATION

Gasoline1 liter€1.39
TaxiStart€3.00
Taxi1 km€0.50
Local Transport1 ticket€1.60

Tourist (Backpacker)  

48 € per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • meals in cheap restaurant
  • public transport
  • cheap hotel

Tourist (business/regular)  

118 € per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • mid-range meals and drinks
  • transportation
  • hotel

Transportation - Get In

Transportation - Get In

By plane

The most convenient airports for Coimbra are (in order of distance):

Transportation - Get In

By Train

Coimbra has two main train stations:

  • Coimbra-A. is a historic train station built near the riverbank close to the medieval city centre. It is a terminus station only served by local trains.
  • Coimbra-B. is a through station on the Lisbon-Porto line, served by high-speed long-distance Alfa Pendular trains. It is quite remotely located, and the best you can do when arriving on an Alfa is to change to a local train to Coimbra-A, as all local trains serve both stations and your long-distance ticket will cover this stretch as well.

Travel time to Coimbra-B is about 1h from Porto and about 1h 45m from Lisbon. Train times (from any location) can be found on the National Rail - CP

Transportation - Get In

By Bus

The bus station is located at Av. Fernão de Magalhães and is easily reached by local bus or on foot (a 10 minute walk from the city center). It has destinations for the whole of Portugal (with changes for some far away destinations), and it's faster and fares are normally cheaper than the train.

Coimbra is a hard city to drive in as it was built around medieval structures. Also, finding a parking spot can be difficult. The best option for visiting Coimbra is to find a hotel with parking or to park near the city center and then walk around. The main attractions are in the city center and within walking distance of each other. Coimbra Baixa is the lower city (downtown). Alta is the highest part of the city, which is also difficult to drive around.

Transportation - Get In

By Car

The best way to drive to Coimbra is using the A1 Highway. Take any exit to Coimbra and you will be about 10 min away from the city center.

  • About 1 hour from Porto
  • About 2 hours from Lisbon


Transportation - Get Around

Transportation - Get Around

By foot

Most of the things to see and do in Coimbra, and most of the places to eat, drink and sleep are within reasonable walking distance of each other and of the rail station, in Baixa. There are several hotels, residencias, pensions, restaurants, cafes, pastry shops, and nightclubs.

Most monuments are in Baixa and Santa Clara (across the Mondego river).

Smaller shops, restaurants and hotels are mostly in Baixa and Santa Clara.

Major shopping malls are in Alta, by Solum and near the municipal stadium/pool.

Transportation - Get Around

By bus

The SMTUC operates bus lines in and around Coimbra. See a map here.

Transportation - Get Around

By electric bus

The "Pantufinhas" or Blue Line provides transport in the historical city center, and a link between the lower and upper town.

Transportation - Get Around

By elevator

There's an elevator ("Elevador do Mercado") that connects Rua Padre António Vieira with Rua Olímpio Nicolau Rui Fernandes (next to Mercado Municipal D Pedro V). A valid SMTUC ticket is necessary to gain access.

Hotels

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Hotels

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Shopping

The medieval center of Coimbra is unusual in retaining a number of independent bookshops, boutiques, toyshops, galleries, antique and foodshops.There are several bookstores,cafes,restaurants,esplanadas. In Alta/Olivais:

  • Coimbra Shopping
  • Dolce Vita
  • Forum Coimbra

If you are even just a bit into pottery, the traditional pottery is a must.

Restaurants

Having a meal is not really a problem in Coimbra, since the city has a lots of restaurants, some featuring regional cuisine, in the old city (Baixa).


Budget

Three reasonably big shopping centers serve the standard fast food meals you can find everywhere. They are located in key places in the city, but not necessarily close to the tourist attractions of the city.

  • Menu Verde (inside the Galerias Topázio, Loja 3, go up to the 2nd floor),  +351 239-840-207. Open Mon-Fri 9AM-5PM. Delicious ovo-lacto vegetarian food. €1.50 for soup and 5.50 a main dish (July 2012).

Mid-range

  • Molho de Brocolos, Avenida Sa da Bandeira 33/35 (Around to the right and at the back of the 2nd floor of Galerias Avenida). Organic vegan food. Location isn't great tucked away at the back of the 2nd floor of a slightly run-down shopping centre, but the food and the staff totally make up for it. €5-8 mains.
  • Fangas Mercearia BarRua Fernandes Tomas, 45-49,  +351 93 409 36 36. Tue - Thu: 12:00-01:00, Fri - Sat: 12:00-02:00. Small but tasty dishes, rich in flavour mainly because they use local products, good vegetarian even vegan choice, nice selection of Portuguese wines, surprising(ly good) desserts.
  • Italia, the Italian restaurant in the city park and over the river, very close to the Santa Clara bridge (very popular with tourists). You have a lot of outside tables, if the weather permits, and the food is prepared by Italian cooks. It's not very expensive either.
  • Zé Manel dos Ossos Beco do Forno, 12. A unique atmosphere inside the restaurant is responsible for this fame, but the food is good too. The walls of the restaurant are filled with small pieces of paper, with writings from clients. Be aware that it is quite a small space, so there's a big probability that you won't find a table. Generous portions and a charcoal grill that makes a big difference compared with the electric ones. Try the bone marrow stew (from which the restaurant takes its name) or the grilled seabass or a great dish of stewed octopus and potatoes.
  • Restaurante Vitória is in the city centre and has traditional dishes suchs as "cozido à portuguesa", "bacalhau assado na brasa", "chafana". Nice and quiet restaurant.
  • Salão Brasil in the "baixinha" (downtown) center. A unique room, with huge windows and very spacious, invites for a relaxed meal. The food is great with some unique dishes from around the country - like "Vitela Maronesa" and "Secretos de Porco preto". Vegetarian meals.
During the weekends there is jazz, folk and fado concerts - most of them for free. It's great to finish your meal - you have plenty of time, Portuguese are always late - and get a concert right there. Sometimes they get very crowded.
  • Taberna. If you want to try 'chanfana', one of the most famous dishes of the region, you should definitely go to this restaurant, close to the football stadium. This restaurant is specialized in a limited amount of dishes, but the quality of the food is just amazing. Go there at night, and try the 'chanfana', even though you may not have a clue about what this is. This is the place for those who really appreciate good food. Don't go too late at night, because it can be a little crowded. The restaurant is very good, and it's located in the most densely populated area of the city.
  • Toscana is another very popular Italian restaurant, close to the new bridge. The decoration is great, with a lot of pictures from Florence, Venice, Rome. The quality of the food is quite high. It's definitely not your standard pizza...
  • O Telheiro, Rua do Padrao. On the downside, it is very hard to get a table (but you will get one if you wait) and it is out of the center of Coimbra (approx. 5 mins from Coimbra B train station).
  • Wok - oriental cuisine of very good level on the opposite side of the river, between the new (Santa Isabel) and pedestrian (Pedro e Ines) briges.
  • Farinha de Milho in Anca, a beautiful restaurant in a beautiful setting with beautiful traditional Portuguese food. This restaurant is in an old water mill in a small village just 10 minutes drive from Coimbra.
  • Rua de Azeiteiras (a street in Baixa) has lots of nice traditional restaurants.
  • Joao do Leitoes one of the most typical restaurants of the city. Its main dish is a roasted piglet served whole with potatoes and salad.

Splurge

  • Quinta das Lágrimas hotel's restaurant may be the best restaurant in the city. It's the most expensive place in the city though... Be sure to wear your best clothes if you go there. It's a very fancy place.
  • Gengibre is modern and elegant restaurant near the Santo Antonio dos Olivais church

Coffe & Drink

  • There is a lot of quality wine production in the regions surrounding Coimbra, try some "Bairrada" wine.
  • Don't miss the "licor beirao", a national sweet liquor drink born and made in the region.
  • Try the different varieties of firewater "Agua-Ardente". One is made only from grapes while the other is made from mixed fruit. Each have a unique and different after taste.

Cafes

  • Cafe de Santa Cruz is a historical cafe next to the "Igreja de Santa Cruz" (Saint Cross Church).
  • The bars in the new City Park are open all day long.

Sights & Landmarks


Secular monuments

  • University of Coimbra. On the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2013 - the famous old library shuts at 7PM.
  • Medieval Downtown (Sao Tiago, Sao Bartolomeu). 
  • Quinta das Lagrimas. and its tragic story of love
  • Eurostadium Cidade de Coimbra. one of the Euro 2004 stages

Religious monuments

  • Old Cathedral (Se Velha).
  • New Cathedral of Coimbra(Se Nova).
  • Igreja de Santa Cruz. church in Baixa
  • Sta. Clara-a-Velha Convent.
  • Sta. Clara-a-Nova Convent.
  • Sister Lucia of Jesus Memorial.

Parks and gardens

  • Botanical Garden (Jardim Botânico da Universidade de Coimbra).
  • Parque Manuel Braga.
  • Parque Verde do Mondego.City park by the Mondego River
  • Jardim da Sereia (Mermaid's Garden aka Jardim de Santa Cruz).
  • Penedo da Saudade. a beautiful garden

Museums & Galleries

  • Portugal dos Pequenitos(Portugal of the little ones).

Things to do

Have a walk up to the top of University Hill from the Mondego river (one of the three great rivers of Portugal), a gorgeous view.


Fado

There are two kinds of fado in Portugal: Fado from Lisbon and Fado from Coimbra, neither should be missed (fados are nostalgic songs accompanied by Portuguese guitar).


Student life

There is always a lot going on in the student community, go and find out what's up. There are two student festivals held every year:

  • Festa das Latas
  • Queima das Fitas

Get lost

The center of Coimbra is a great place to get lost, Coimbra is a small city but it is full of interesting spots, such as museums (Machado de Castro), Torre d`Anto, etc.

Festivals and events


Student festivals

Coimbra is also known for its university students' festivals. Two are held every year. The first one,Latada or Festa das Latas ("The Tin Can Parade") is a homecoming parade that occurs at the beginning of the academic year, and is a welcome to the new university students (Caloiros).

The Festa das Latas goes back to the 19th century when the Coimbra students felt the need to express their joy at finishing the school year in as loud a way as possible, using everything at their disposal that would make noise, namely tin cans. The highlight of this festival, which now takes place at the beginning of the academic year (November) is the special parade known as the Latada. After marching through the streets of the city the new students are "baptized" in the Mondego River thus entering into the Coimbra academic fraternity. The students from the penultimate year, normally the 3rd year's students, are awarded their Grelos (a small ribbon). The Grelo is a small, woollen ribbon with the color(s) of the student's faculty that is attached to a student's briefcase. Previous to this, at the morning the students must have visited the Dom Pedro V market where they must get a turnip to sustain the Caloirosduring the day's festivities. Besides the tin cans they have tied to their legs, the new students wear all kinds of costumes made up according to the creativity and imagination of their godmothers or godfathers who are older students. They also carry placards with ironic criticisms alluding to certain teachers, the educational system, national events and leaders.

The second one, Queima das Fitas ("The Burning of the Ribbons"), takes place at the end of the second semester (usually in the beginning of May) and it is one of the biggest student parties in all Europe. It lasts for 8 days, one for each University of Coimbra's Faculty: Letras (Humanities), Direito(Law), Medicina (Medicine), Ciências e Tecnologia (Sciences and Technology), Farmácia (Pharmacy), Economia (Economics), Psicologia e Ciências da Educação (Psychology and Education Sciences) and Ciências do Desporto e Educação Física (Sports Sciences and Physical Education).

Although being University of Coimbra's festivals, other higher education students of Coimbra such as the polytechnic's students or private institution's students, are invited every year by the University of Coimbra students who manage and organise this events, to participate in the Tin Can Parade and also in the Burning of the Ribbons. The academic festivities are opened to the entire city community and attract a large number of national and international tourists as well.

Nightlife

A warning, the students in this town seem to prefer Tuesday or Thursday night to go out. On weekends, this city is sleepy as many students go home to their families.

  • a Capela bar, were you can find yourself surrounded by Portuguese guitar tunes and "Fado de Coimbra" get a grip of this so traditional local culture.
  • Diligencia Bar - The oldest Fado House in Coimbra. Typical night bar were you'll find Fado de Coimbra and all kind of Portuguese traditional music.
  • Salao Brazil - A restaurant but also a bar, most worthy during weekends, with - mostly - free jazz, folk and fado concerts.
  • Bar AAC - Academic Association Bar, entrance sometimes limited to University students.
  • The bars in the "Parque Verde do Mondego" are a good place to go for a drink during Spring and Summer.
  • The bars around the "Praca da Republica" are full of the spirit of the students of the University, mainly during weekdays in Autumn, Winter and Spring.
  • Bar Quebra Costas, R. Quebra Costas 45, 3000 Coimbra, Portugal. Nice location on the stairs leading to Se Velha. Open air concerts.

Clubs

  • NB - Disco near Praca da Republica.
  • Theatrix - Disco in Av. Sa da Bandeira.
  • Noites Longas - Disco near Praca da Republica, alternative sounding (metal, rock).

Safety in Coimbra

 

Very High / 9.8

Safety (Walking alone - day)

High / 7.9

Safety (Walking alone - night)

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