The beautifully preserved medieval city of Coimbra, Portugal used to be the country’s capital before Lisbon stepped in. Coimbra is known for its university, which is the oldest in Portugal, and one of the oldest in Europe. But the school isn’t what attracted me to visit this city, I was falling for its architecture way before I even arrived.
Many people do a day trip to Coimbra on their way to either Porto or Lisbon, which is doable, but I recommend at least one night to really experience its charm.
Where to Stay in Coimbra
We spent 2 nights in Coimbra and stayed right in the heart of the old town at Living Santa Cruz. We booked through Airbnb and really enjoyed our stay at this well-decorated Bed and Breakfast. The location was perfect and within walking distance to everything we wanted to explore. I especially liked the view from our room, and the host’s hospitality from the moment we walked in.
Where to Eat in Coimbra
Tapas nas Costas– A great place for tapas!
A Loja dos Pastéis de Chaves– This place is near the train station and I stopped in for something quick. They had savory croissant-like sandwiches that were a lot yummier than I expected! Good place for a cheap bite.
Café Santa Cruz– This cafe used to be a church back in the 1500s, the bathrooms used to be confessionals! We stopped by for some coffee. My cappuccino was nothing special, but Jorge really liked his espresso. Cool place to visit in general.
Weeel Frozen Yogurt- Frozen yogurt near the university that’s perfect for a warm day!
Passaporte Lounge Terrace– I recommend watching the sunset over the water from this terrace! The drinks were good and not badly priced.
What to do in Coimbra
Walk the Old Town- I loved exploring Coimbra’s old town, it was a nice mix of medieval doors and colorful homes.
Visit the University of Coimbra- Probably the most popular thing to do while in Coimbra. I never care about stuff like this but they have a gorgeous library (that’s covered in gold and bats live in it!) And they also had a great terrace to see the city. Worth a visit in my opinion. Note: They don’t allow you to take photos of the library.
See the city from different angles- We were pleasantly surprised to wander into some of the prettiest viewpoints in Coimbra. They were all near or around the Old Town or near the bridge, plus the one above is from the university.
Will you be adding Coimbra to your Portugal list? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
pin for later