Wandering Through Historic Coimbra, Portugal

  • Bunnik Tours
  • 01 Aug 23

Upon walking through Coimbra, Portugal, you will immediately be struck by its mediaeval architecture. As a former Portuguese capital, the city is still abundant with history and tradition. The most famous attraction is the Coimbra University, which is one of the oldest in the world and now a UNESCO World Heritage site in Portugal.

If you’re interested in learning all about what you can expect from a visit to the historic parts of Coimbra, Portugal on a tour, then read on! For more information, contact our friendly team about our Portugal tours



Things to see in historic Coimbra, Portugal


Coimbra University

Founded in 1290, Coimbra University is the oldest University in Portugal. First established in Lisbon, the university now overlooks the rest of Coimbra, including the magnificent Mondego River. The historic buildings of the University are set around the main courtyard, and include a former Royal Palace, a grand 12th century Cathedral and the notable Johannine Library – known as ‘Biblioteca Joanina’ in Portuguese.

coimbra, portugal - coimbra university

Coimbra University

Johannine Library

Built in the Baroque style, the Johannine Library is adorned in ornate wood and paintings, and it houses a variety of important books dating back to the 16th century. Today, it is very well preserved, so much so that the staff even release a colony of bats inside every night to protect the books from insects. It is fascinating and well worth the visit!

coimbra, portugal - johannine library exterior

Johannine Library Exterior

coimbra, portugal - johannine library inside

Johannine Library Interior

Coimbra Old Town

Take a short stroll on from the University and you can pass through a 12th century archway, known as the ‘Arco de Almedina’. Here, you will find yourself in the heart of the old-town, which was formerly a Jewish quarter. An afternoon can easily be spent here discovering more historic cathedrals, towers, museums, and even a nearby monastery.

The recommended way to spend an evening is to visit a Fado show. Believed to have originated from University students, it is now performed by men in traditional black shawls singing with guitars. The music is powerful and melancholic, and is a memorable way to end your stay in Coimbra.

coimbra portugal - old town

Coimbra Old Town


Visit Coimbra, Portugal on a small group tour with Bunnik

The intriguing history, mediaeval architecture and picturesque views are among some of the reasons why tourists are drawn to this vibrant city. If you’re interested in planning a trip to Coimbra, now is the perfect time to book a small group tour with Bunnik! Book your Europe tour online or contact one of our experienced Travel Specialists today.


Coimbra, Portugal: FAQs

Is it worth going to Coimbra, Portugal?

Yes! Although Coimbra is often not the first city on the list for many travellers, it’s certainly worth the visit. Here you can explore century-old, mediaeval-style architecture, whilst learning about their intriguing history.  Plus, you can also pay a visit to one of the oldest universities in the world!

What is the closest beach to Coimbra, Portugal?

If you’re interested in planning a trip to the beach whilst you’re in Coimbra, there are two beautiful beaches that are nearby. These include the Praia da Costa de Lavos and the Praia da Figueira da Foz. 

Is one day enough for Coimbra, Portugal?

Yes! You can easily explore the best sites that Coimbra has to offer in one day, especially on a day trip between Porto and Lisbon. You can tour the various churches and cathedrals, museums, the University, visit the Portugal Dos Pequenitos theme park and take a relaxing walk through the many botanical gardens throughout the city, including the famous Parque Verde Do Mondego. 

Is English widely spoken in Coimbra, Portugal?

As Coimbra is one of Europe’s most famous University cities, many people here do in fact speak English. Coimbra is one of the main cities in Portugal that has a large English speaking population. 


People also read: