Things to do in
Coimbra

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Our most recommended things to do in Coimbra

Fátima and Coimbra Full-Day Tour from Porto

1. Fátima and Coimbra Full-Day Tour from Porto

Discover the religious and learned centers of Portugal on a 10-hour guided tour of Fátima and Coimbra from Porto, and see the nation’s most important pilgrimage destination, and one of the oldest university cities in Europe. Fátima supposedly owes its name to the Moors. But the city is best known for its apparitions of the Virgin Mary to 3 children tending sheep in 1917. Since the miracle was recognized by the Vatican in 1930, 3 different popes have been to Fátima on 5 separate occasions. Visit the stunning Neoclassical Basilica and Sanctuary, and can even attend mass in the Sanctuary if you desire. There will also be some free time for lunch in the bustling city center, full of modern-day pilgrims of retail therapy. Then, continue to Coimbra and discover Portugal’s only university city until the early 20th century. Founded in the 13th century, the hilltop college is one of the oldest in Europe, and provides a beautiful backdrop to a panoramic tour of the city’s narrow streets, full of young students. Visit the Sé Nova Cathedral to see the only church in Portugal to survive the Reconquista almost intact. During the visit in Coimbra's historical center you can walk through the Quebra - Costas, Arco da Almedina, Porta do Barbacã and Rua Ferreira Borges. End at the University in the former buildings of the medieval Royal Palace. Among the highlights is the stunning Joanine Library with baroque details of red and green lacquer and trompe-l’oeil features.

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Coimbra: Private World Heritage Site Tour

2. Coimbra: Private World Heritage Site Tour

Explore the medieval streets of Coimbra throughout an overview of the city complemented by its many gorgeous geographical details. As you learn about the lifestyle, history, and culture, you'll also receive useful tips on how to best spend the remainder of your time in the city. Your tour will help you feel like a local as you take the panoramic lift to discover the highlights of Coimbra on foot. From there, explore the main squares of the city before proceeding onward to the Old Cathedral, the Almedina Tower, and the Monastery of Santa Cruz, among other sites. Your itinerary later includes the oldest university in Portugal, the "Joanina" Library, the Chapel of Saint Michael, the Arms Room, the Yellow Room, the "Capelos" Room, the Private Examination Room, and the Academic Prison. Your experience finally concludes with a tasting of a typical pastry.

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Coimbra: Live Fado Show with Port Wine Tasting

3. Coimbra: Live Fado Show with Port Wine Tasting

Casa Fado ao Centro is a cultural project created in Coimbra in 2010. All of the musicians and collaborators are or were university students in Coimbra. Decorated with the belongings of the musicians, the walls are lined with history. The concerts are cultural events. In an intimate setting, you will embark on a journey through the unique sound of Fado de Coimbra, and through the most important moments in the city's history. At the end, enjoy a Port wine tasting with the musicians to interact with them and learn about their craft.

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From Porto: Fátima and Coimbra Full-Day Private Tour

4. From Porto: Fátima and Coimbra Full-Day Private Tour

This trip begins in Porto and then onto Coimbra, the city of students and the oldest university in the country (from the 12th century) and also one of the oldest in the world. Take the time to visit the Joanina Library with its collection of over 300,000 books and some of the rarest manuscripts in the entire country. Visit the old Romanesque style cathedral (Sé Velha). Cross the river to visit the Santa Clara Convent and the Quinta das Lágrimas (Estate of Tears), where the love between Pedro and Inês blossomed. Then have lunch at one of the taverns downtown where you can find the most delicious snacks. Afterwards, head towards Fátima, where Our Lady of Fátima appeared to the three shepherd children in 1917. Here, you will visit the Basilica where Francisco, Jacinta Marto, and Lúcia are buried, the Igreja da Santíssima Trindade (Church of the Holy Trinity), and the largest Catholic sanctuary in Portugal. There will also be time to see the Capela das Aparições (Chapel of Apparitions), a small temple built at the request of Our Lady of Fátima when she appeared to the three shepherd children, and Azinheira Grande, the tree that Jacinta, Lúcia, and Francisco passed before seeing the saint. The tour can be adjusted to include the Candle Procession that takes place every day from April 17 to October 31 between 9:30 PM and 11:00 PM.

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From Lisbon: Aveiro, Moliceiro Boat and Coimbra Tour

5. From Lisbon: Aveiro, Moliceiro Boat and Coimbra Tour

First you will visit one of the most beautiful places in Portugal, Aveiro. Discover the city's many canals and bridges as you take a ride on a Moliceiro, a small boat typical of the local area. By taking a trip on a Moliceiro you will be able to enjoy the city's beautiful Art Nouveau buildings and bridges from the water. Next, stroll through Aveiro's historic center on a walking tour. See the Convent of Santa Joana, Aveiro Cathedral, Chapel of St. Gonçalinho, and the Misericordia Church. Try the famous Ovos Moles de Aveiro, a sweet pastry typical of Aveiro. You'll then explore one of the city's must-see attractions, the Costa Nova Beach. Pose for photos in front of the beach's famous striped and colorful houses. Next, continue towards Coimbra, a city full of history and tradition, with the Mondego River passing through it. Visit the narrow and steep streets of the University of Coimbra, the oldest in Portugal. Finally, discover the Sé Velha (Old Cathedral), the riverside area, and of course the Convent of Santa Clara.

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Coimbra: Mondego River Kayaking Tour

6. Coimbra: Mondego River Kayaking Tour

After meeting your tour guide, you will be provided with the kayaking equipment and some instructions. Then, set off from the Carvoeira dam on a kayaking tour with a total length of 18 km (11 miles).  You'll be kayaking through the natural Mondego river valley, surrounded by extensive forests. As you travel downriver, you will pass by the small villages of Ronqueira, Rebordosa, Louredo, Foz do Caneiro and Casal. This part of the river is full of small beaches where you can stop for a picnic or go to go for a swim. On the river beach of Palheiros, you'll find a small bar where you can buy an ice cream or a cold beer. The river usually has a light current, which makes the kayaking easy and accessible to all ages. Finish in Torres do Mondego, after 3-4 hours of kayaking and breaks along the way.

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Coimbra Fado Concert

7. Coimbra Fado Concert

Coimbra's fado is sung by students or former students of Coimbra. The songs are sung in Portuguese. The explanations will be in Portuguese and / or English. Did you know that Coimbra's fado is only sung by men? Come and discover the solution. The concert lasts between 45 to 50 minutes, at the end of the concert, a glass of port wine will be served. A very popular place, when booking, we guarantee your place for the 6 pm session. People are advised to arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled time, in order to choose the best place.

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University of Coimbra Walking Tour

8. University of Coimbra Walking Tour

Visit one of the oldest universities in the world (and the oldest university in Portugal). Founded originally in 1290, the University of Coimbra has occupied its spot in the city of Coimbra since 1537. Accompany your knowledgeable guide to the Royal Palace, Chapel of St. Michael, Joanina Library, Academic Prison, and other highlights. Go deeper than the average tourist with stops at the university.

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Oporto, Braga, or Guimarães: Coimbra and Aveiro Private Tour

9. Oporto, Braga, or Guimarães: Coimbra and Aveiro Private Tour

This full-day premium tour onboard a comfortable minivan is escorted by a certified guide who will personalize your experience to the fullest. You will visit both Coimbra, the city of the students and ancient capital of Portugal, as well as Aveiro, the Venice of Portugal. You will start the day by visiting the oldest Portuguese University, the University of Coimbra. Here you will find the world-renowned Joanina Library and the Royal Palace. During this guided visit your knowledgeable and friendly tour guide will take you back in time to explain the important role of this city and Portuguese Independence. Learn about the history of the university and how students celebrate their 500-year-old traditions. Be enchanted by a Fado performance, played and sung by students Following your time at the university, you will go through the old Moorish town to discover the old cathedral’s facade, the narrow alleys, and stairways that will lead you to the commercial street of the city center. Enjoy the town at your own pace, absorb the local atmosphere, and listen as your guide informs you of all of your surroundings. After your walk have lunch in a local restaurant. In the afternoon, you will visit the unique city of Aveiro which is considered Portugal's Venice. Cruise along the canals in a traditional Moliceiro boat. Admire the Art Nouveau buildings and the interesting fishermen's architecture. Witness the place where the Ria and Ocean meet as your tour concludes.

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From Lisbon: Town-Hopping Transfer to Porto

10. From Lisbon: Town-Hopping Transfer to Porto

Portugal is a country rich in history and culture, and this is your chance to explore some of the most beautiful and intriguing places to grace its lands. Stop by the medieval village of Obidos for a trip back in time, where you can wander through the narrow streets full of traditional shops and white-painted houses. Discover the Sanctuary of Fatima and take an optional mass at the Chapel of the Apparitions, explore the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary built in a Neo Baroque style and see the grand, modern Basilica of Santissima Trindade. Continue on to Coimbra for a visit to the oldest university in Europe. Coimbra´s University is home to the 18th century Joanine library and is one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. Take a stroll to Coimbra´s charming downtown district where countless cafes, pastry shops and restaurants await your discovery. If you feel so inclined, choose to stop at the restaurant Mealhada where you can taste one of Portugal's most famous dishes, “Leitao da Bairrada," a slow-roasted suckling pork. Next, visit Aveiro where you can take a Moliceiro boat to see the 3 km of canals that flow through the city or take a stroll through the Aveiro market.  After a brief stop in the old fishing town of Costa Nova, your transfer will conclude in Porto.

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What people are saying about Coimbra

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 235 reviews

Incredibly beautiful route. We were lucky enough to be almost alone on the Rio Mondego in October when the weather was very nice. The 18 km were easy to manage, even though it was our first kayak tour. The guide explained everything very well. Really worth it!

Highly recommend Faro Centre small quaint the artist draw yiu into to the story telling of the Rick history of Fado you will be surprised as you learn (I won’t spoil it for you) but it’s was a delight. Have fun !

What a wonderful kayak trip on the Mondego today. Beautiful setting really enjoyed it. Nice stop for lunch. Nice guidance. Next time we are here we will go again! (Family with 3 children: 12,12 and 17 years).

Excellent and informative tour. Transferred in a comfortable mercedes van and Isabel, the tourleader/driver, was very knowledgable. Lunch was a buffet in a four star hotel. Could.t be any better

The trip was great and the guide Isabella is awesome !