University of Coimbra
A visit to UNESCO’s World Heritage University of Coimbra must be one of the things to do in Coimbra! It is one of the oldest universities in Europe and was founded in Lisbon in 1290; it moved permanently to Coimbra in 1537. In the University, aside from the Joanina Library, you may discover S. Miguel Chapel, Academic and Medieval Prison, Arms Room, Capelos Room, Private Examination Room and the University Tower. Located at the oldest part of Coimbra and characterized as being a high region, the University of Coimbra is accompanied by the city museum as well as the New Cathedral (Sé Nova). You will need time to walk around the city in order to get to know all the details.
Joanina Library (Biblioteca Joanina)
Regarded as one of the most beautiful places in Coimbra, the Joanina Library has a peculiar architecture and an endless archive. Its construction began in 1717 and it is the most famous and beautiful Portuguese library, due to its unique style. The library is composed of three floors. In the upper floor, the library is composed of three rooms connected by polychrome wood arches. The walls are covered with red, dark green and black lacquered shelves with golden chinoiserie embellishments. The ceilings are in baroque style and are decorated with optical illusion embellishments. You will find more than 60 thousand volumes, dating from the 12th century until the 18th century, of which law, theology and philosophy books stand out.
Machado de Castro National Museum
Museum where the modern and the contemporary meet. Magnificent architecture, bringing to light the roman Cryptoporticus. In addition, it offers to visitors the best artwork and historical paintings.
Coimbra’s Old Cathedral
The Sé Velha was designed by French Master Robert in the 12th century. The central gateway has a clear islamic influence, while the side door shows an elegant Renaissance style. You should visit the church and its Gothic cloister from 1218.
Young People’s Portugal
(Portugal dos Pequenitos)
This park, the initiative of doctor Bissaya Barreto and designed by the architect Cassiano Branco, was opened in 1940. It is divided into 3 areas: miniature regional houses and traditional villages from various parts of Portugal; some significant Portuguese monuments; former Portuguese colonies. You will find the main Portuguese monuments in this park, the typical villages and the Portuguese discoveries’ theme but at a small scale. It is a world of beauty kept in a place with over 75 years of history and visiting it should be one of the things to do in Coimbra, specially if you have kids.
This was the main gateway of the medieval city wall. Its oldest part dates from the 9th century, and originally consisted of two turrets linked by an arch. The function of the Almedina Tower, erected over the Almedina Arch, was to surveil and protect the main gateway into the city.
Santa Cruz Church and Monastery
An enthralling church beginning with its architecture: Gothic style and a gateway remembering Coimbra fado. Constituted by side chapels, the Santa Cruz Church Monastery does justice to all the history it represents.