Coimbra travel guide

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Introduction to Coimbra

Coimbra is known for attractions like Paço das Escolas, Santa Cruz Church, and Jardim Botânico da Universidade de Coimbra. Travelers who visit this municipality and city in Portugal are often fascinated by the rich history and interesting culture it offers. We recommend taking the time to explore this city in Portugal on foot and walk alongside the 143.4 thousand locals who live in Coimbra. For further insights into the city's events, traditions, and heritage, consult the official website of Coimbra.

Traveling to Coimbra is especially rewarding for anyone eager to connect with locals and learn more about their unique culture and traditions.

Easily accessible, Coimbra is the perfect base for a memorable and unique vacation in Portugal any time of the year. Before booking a flight to Coimbra, it's helpful to know that the city observes the UTC±00:00 time zone.

History of Coimbra

Coimbra, nestled in the heart of Portugal, boasts a history dating back over 2,000 years. It was once the capital of the country during the High Middle Ages, a period that left a rich cultural and architectural heritage.

This city is especially renowned for its ancient University of Coimbra, established in 1290, making it one of the oldest universities in continuous operation in the world. The University's historic buildings were classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2013.

In the 12th century, Coimbra served as the stage for the romance of Pedro and Inês, a story ingrained in Portuguese culture comparable to Romeo and Juliet. The Quinta das Lágrimas garden, where the tragic tale unfolded, is a poignant landmark.

The city has endured Roman, Moorish, and Christian rule, each leaving their distinct mark on its culture and architecture. Coimbra is a living museum, a testament to Portugal's rich and varied history.

Local culture and customs in Coimbra

Coimbra, often referred to as the 'city of students', is known for its rich academic culture and traditions, which are deeply ingrained in the city's identity. The University of Coimbra, one of the oldest in Europe, impacts the local culture significantly, with many customs revolving around student life. An example is the 'Queima das Fitas' or 'Burning of the Ribbons' ceremony, which marks the end of the academic year with a week-long celebration involving parades, concerts and other festivities.

Fado, a genre of music known for its mournful and melancholic tunes, is an integral part of Coimbra's culture. Coimbra Fado, performed exclusively by male university students, is distinct from the more commonly recognised Lisbon Fado.

Coimbra also maintains a strong tradition of oral storytelling. Observing local people in cafes and public squares, you'll often find them engaged in animated conversation, sharing stories and anecdotes. Engaging in these conversations can provide enriching insights into the local culture. However, remember that Portuguese people appreciate politeness and respect, so always approach these interactions with courtesy.

Currency information for travelers in Coimbra

The official currency in Coimbra, Portugal is the Euro (€). Credit cards are widely accepted in hotels, restaurants, and shops, with Visa and Mastercard being the most common. However, smaller establishments and market stalls might only accept cash, so it's advisable to keep some on hand. ATMs, known locally as Multibanco, are plentiful and offer a convenient way to withdraw cash. Keep in mind that foreign cards may be subject to fees. It's worth noting that tipping in Coimbra is customary but not mandatory, usually around 10% of the bill. As for budgeting, Coimbra is known for being more affordable than Portugal's larger cities like Lisbon and Porto, so your money tends to go further here.

Language tips for travelers in Coimbra.

The official language in Coimbra is Portuguese. While English is spoken in many tourist areas, it's recommended to learn a few basic Portuguese phrases. 'Bom dia' (Good morning), 'Por favor' (Please), and 'Obrigado' (Thank you) can go a long way in helping you interact with locals.

Moreover, understanding a few signs such as 'saída' (exit), 'entrada' (entry), 'aberto' (open), and 'fechado' (closed) can be helpful. Don't worry about perfect pronunciation, as locals appreciate any effort to speak their language. Lastly, remember that Portuguese in Portugal is different from Brazilian Portuguese, so it's best to learn European Portuguese phrases before your trip.

Best time to visit Coimbra

The best time to explore Coimbra, Portugal is typically during the spring months between March and June or the fall months of September to November. During these times, the weather is pleasantly warm and sunny, with average temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C. Not only is the weather ideal, but these periods also see fewer tourists, making for a more relaxed and intimate travel experience. Spring in Coimbra is particularly enchanting as the city is adorned with blooming flowers, while fall offers beautiful hues of orange and brown. If you're keen on experiencing special events, consider visiting in May to attend Queima das Fitas, a traditional student festival that fills the city with vibrant parades, music, and festivities. Alternatively, the Coimbra Jazz Festival in November is a must for music lovers. Given Coimbra's popularity during the summer months, booking your accommodations in advance is recommended if you choose to visit outside the peak period.

Though winter, December to February, is cooler with temperatures between 8°C to 15°C, it offers a unique charm with fewer crowds and the possibility of lower rates. However, it's worth noting that rainfall is more common during these months.

Local tip for visiting Coimbra

While Coimbra is renowned for its historical sites and vibrant student life, the insider tip from locals is to explore the city's rich café culture. Portuguese are known for their love of coffee, and Coimbra is no exception. The city is dotted with charming cafés where you can enjoy a cup of bica (Portuguese espresso) while soaking in the local ambiance. Particularly, Café Santa Cruz, located in the heart of the city, offers not only a variety of coffees, but also a unique historical atmosphere as it's housed in a 16th-century chapel. However, the real gem is the pastel de Santa Cruz, a custard tart exclusive to this café. So, when in Coimbra, take a break from sightseeing, and indulge in its café culture to truly experience the local way of life.

Top services in Coimbra

On this page, you'll find all the top travel services in Coimbra, Portugal. Enjoy the convenience of planning and booking every detail of your trip to Coimbra, including flights, accommodations, activities, and more, in one place.

Discover the cheapest and most popular flights offered by a variety of airlines that fly to Portugal. Check out the best things to do in Coimbra by browsing over 112 top-rated tours available to you in the city. Compare the rates and services of the 5 types of places to stay and 2 car rental companies offering CDW insurance coverage. We make it easy for you to find and book every detail of your trip to Coimbra with this travel guide.

Experience the best of Coimbra with an expertly curated and fully customizable itinerary. Get answers to questions about the routes and services offered in Coimbra from our free 24/7 customer support.

Continue reading this Coimbra travel guide to learn how you can enjoy a stress-free and memorable vacation in the city of Coimbra!

Learn more about Portugal

With destinations such as Coimbra, a trip to Portugal needs no further explanation. Spanning over 92,225 square kilometers, Portugal is an expansive playground of discovery, offering a wealth of diverse landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and captivating experiences awaiting exploration. From bustling metropolises to historic towns and modern urban hubs, Portugal has something to enchant every traveler.

In Coimbra alone, travelers are spoiled for choice with an array of experiences and world-famous attractions such as Paço das Escolas, Santa Cruz Church, and Jardim Botânico da Universidade de Coimbra. Thus, a trip to Portugal becomes essential. Whether you're drawn to historical sites, natural wonders, or vibrant cultural experiences, Portugal offers an abundance of treasures waiting to be discovered. There's so much to explore and uncover in Portugal.

Click or tap the link below to discover more about Portugal and its offers.

What to see in Coimbra

Photo of Coimbra university in Portugal.

Expect an exhilarating journey through Coimbra, a haven brimming with attractions to suit every traveler’s taste. From historical landmarks to natural wonders, and delectable cuisine, Coimbra offers an abundance of experiences waiting to be discovered. Dive into this ultimate Coimbra travel guide to uncover must-visit spots and get the scoop on what makes the city so special.

Top attractions in Coimbra

With its blend of traditional and modern culture, Coimbra is more than just a wonderful city in Portugal. It's a hub for diverse experiences, boasting top attractions that range from historical landmarks to modern marvels, offering a glimpse into Portugal's rich heritage and innovative spirit.

One popular place to visit in Coimbra is the unforgettable Paço das Escolas. Considered one of the most well-known attractions in the city, a visit to this spectacular travel destination is something you shouldn't miss on your trip to Coimbra. This remarkable attraction is located at 3000-515 Coimbra, Portugal, and is open for visitors Monday - Sunday, between 09:00-19:00.

For more information about what you can expect during a vacation in Coimbra, check out our list of top attractions below. Discover the best places to visit in Coimbra, including the fascinating Paço das Escolas, Santa Cruz Church, Jardim Botânico da Universidade de Coimbra, Sé Velha - Coimbra, and Choupal National Forest.

Map of attractions

Take a closer look at the city map below for the exact locations of all the top attractions in Coimbra.

Things to do in Coimbra

Photo of fountain in Parque de Santa Cruz, Coimbra ,Portugal.

You've explored Coimbra's top attractions and marked them on your map. So now, it's time to delve deeper and discover the top things to do in Coimbra. These activities not only offer excitement and adventure but also provide unique insights into the city's culture and heritage. Take your experience to the next level by checking out the best sights with a knowledgeable guide, embarking on fun adventures unique to Coimbra, or learning more about the city's rich history and traditions.

Discover the most popular tours and experiences in the city below.

Most popular experiences in Coimbra

A visit to Coimbra gets more exciting with memorable experiences. And the city is just perfect for that, with plenty of fun activities. Historical Tours, Walking Tours, Bus Tours, and more are just some of the options you could explore to fully immerse yourself and make the most of your time.

In this travel guide, we've included some of the best things to do in Coimbra, adding a special touch to your journey in this vibrant city. Explore bustling markets, embark on scenic hikes, sample local delicacies, or immerse yourself in the rich history and heritage of Coimbra. Browse this diverse array of unforgettable experiences Coimbra offers and let your adventures begin!

Top tours & tickets starting in Coimbra

In Coimbra, travelers are spoiled for choice with a dazzling array of 13 categories of top-rated tours and tickets. But among this sea of options, one category reigns supreme: Trips & Excursions.

Trips & Excursions offer an unparalleled opportunity to immerse yourself in the heart and soul of Coimbra. For example, the fantastic An adventure through the Forest and Palace of Bussaco - Coimbra.

Coimbra also offers plenty of budget-friendly tours and activities that promise travelers a unique experience. Coimbra Scavenger Hunt and Best Landmarks Self-Guided Tour, for example, is the cheapest Nature & Wildlife Tour option in the city. This experience costs around 5 EUR.

Elevate your upcoming Coimbra adventure with unforgettable experiences by booking top-rated tours in the city. Uncover the finest tours, activities, and tickets awaiting you in Coimbra right below.


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Search for things to do in Coimbra

Discover the best things to do in Coimbra. Choose from 112 fantastic tours and activities available in the city.

Select your dates and number of travelers in the search bar below to receive the best recommendations for your vacation in Coimbra. Click the green button to view your options and discover a variety of exciting things to do in Coimbra.

What to eat in Coimbra

Coimbra, Portugal, is a city steeped in history and culinary traditions. The best places to eat in Coimbra range from the bustling street food markets to the refined high-end restaurants. The city center, especially the Baixa district, offers a multitude of dining options where you can sample the city's traditional dishes. The most revered is Leitão à Bairrada, succulent roast piglet often paired with sparkling white wine from the region. Another must-try is Chanfana, a hearty goat stew cooked in a traditional black clay pot. For those with a sweet tooth, the Pastel de Tentúgal, a puff pastry filled with sweet egg cream, is a local delicacy not to miss. The riverfront area of Coimbra is also known for its fresh seafood, served in a variety of ways. Try the arroz de marisco, a flavorful seafood rice dish, or the caldeirada, a fish stew. For a dining experience with a view, head to the restaurants lining the Mondego River. Here you can enjoy traditional Portuguese cuisine while overlooking the beautiful cityscape.

Best Shopping in Coimbra

Experience the charm of shopping in Coimbra, where traditional craft meets contemporary fashion. The best place to go shopping in Coimbra is Baixa, the heart of the city. Wander along the pedestrian-friendly streets lined with a blend of modern shops and quaint boutiques. Don't miss Rua Ferreira Borges and Rua Visconde da Luz, well-known for their diverse range of stores. Forum Coimbra, the city's largest shopping center, is another must-visit, offering a wealth of local and international brands.

Coimbra is renowned for its unique ceramics and pottery, exquisite silverware, and vibrant embroidered linens. Look out for these locally-made items as they make perfect souvenirs. The city also takes pride in its fashion scene, with local designers showcasing their creations in various boutiques. Remember to check the opening hours as many shops close for a siesta in the afternoon. Additionally, enjoy the weekly markets like the Mercado D. Pedro V, where you can find fresh produce, flowers, and local crafts. Shopping in Coimbra provides a delightful mix of the old and the new, making it a memorable part of your Portuguese adventure.

Best Free Things to Do in Coimbra

Experience the magic of Coimbra, Portugal without breaking the bank! The best free things to do in Coimbra range from strolling through the charming streets to exploring historical landmarks. Start with a visit to the University of Coimbra, one of the oldest universities in the world. Wander through its ancient corridors and marvel at the stunning architecture. Don't miss the Joanina Library, an 18th-century Baroque library that's a masterpiece in itself. From there, take a leisurely walk along Mondego River, offering splendid views of the city and its iconic red-roofed houses. Next, step into the serene green oasis of the Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra, a perfect spot for a picnic or leisurely stroll. History buffs should not miss the Old Cathedral of Coimbra (Sé Velha), a Romanesque relic that's a testament to the city's rich history. Finally, enjoy a vibrant sunset from the Santa Clara Bridge, ending your day with a breathtaking panorama of Coimbra. Each of these free activities offers a unique window into the soul of this enchanting city, making your visit unforgettable.

Vacation packages in Coimbra

Photo of Joaquim Antonio de Aguiar monument at Largo da Portagem in Coimbra, Portugal.

Booking a vacation package to Coimbra means spending less time planning and more time enjoying your vacation. A vacation package includes everything from flight tickets, accommodation, and a rental car to 24/7 personal travel support and a carefully planned travel itinerary. You can also take your vacation in Coimbra to the next level by adding tours, tickets, and activities to each day of your trip.

Apart from providing everything you need to travel comfortably, travel packages to Coimbra also offer full customization. In other words, you can add or remove services at your own convenience to create the perfect vacation for you and your travel companions.

Continue to the next section of this complete Coimbra travel guide to explore further details about the vacation options available for your trip to the city.

Popular types of vacations in Coimbra

The most popular way to experience Coimbra is by visiting the city as part of a road trip across multiple destinations in Portugal. However, it is also common for travelers to go on holiday to Coimbra on both shorter and longer getaways to get a break from everyday life, relax, and experience something new.

With Guide to Europe, you can find road trips, city breaks, and weekend getaways in Portugal, ranging from budget to luxury. Whether you’re planning a multi-day road trip across Portugal, or you just want to enjoy a few days exploring Coimbra, there is a vacation package for you.

Explore the popular types of travel packages to Coimbra below. Click on any to delve into the details and effortlessly plan your dream getaway.

Top vacation packages in Coimbra

Top-rated travel packages to Rome allow you to experience a memorable journey. These packages offer customizable features, ensuring you're guaranteed to have an immersive exploration through the heart of Rome and beyond. Browse a couple of options to uncover the finest ways to explore the city of Rome with ease and excitement.

Get more Coimbra vacation ideas by continuing to read this Coimbra travel guide and discover the greatest selection of travel packages in Europe. Scroll down to find the best vacation packages in Portugal that match your needs and budget.


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Find vacation packages in Coimbra

Explore and compare vacation packages, each offering unforgettable journeys to the wonderful city of Coimbra. Be sure to act swiftly, as the best flights, hotels, and activities in Coimbra tend to fill up quickly. Use the search tool below to find the best travel deals in Portugal. Your customized holiday package to Coimbra is only a few clicks away!

How to get to Coimbra

From the arrival airport, travelers can choose from various public and private transfer options to Coimbra.

For those seeking the best flight ticket deals to Coimbra, knowing the cheapest travel times and which airlines offer the most affordable flights is helpful. Luckily, we provide this information to help you discover the cheapest and most popular flights to Coimbra.

Find cheap flights to Coimbra

Photo of the New Cathedral of Coimbra (Se Nova de Coimbra) in Portugal.

Booking budget-friendly flights to Coimbra is a crucial part of planning your trip to the city. This section will guide you through the process, helping you find the best deals for your journey.

Booking in advance is a smart move when traveling to Coimbra. Airlines release their best deals months ahead of departure, so early birds catch the lower fares. Consider flexible travel dates while planning your visit to the city. Mid-week and off-peak seasons often offer more wallet-friendly options.

To help you find cheap flights to Coimbra, you can use the powerful booking widget below. Enter your departure city, choose between round trip or one-way, pick your fare class, select travel dates, and specify the number of travelers. Click "Search, " and the widget will do the rest. You'll see a list of flights matching your criteria, making your trip to Coimbra even more convenient.

Fine-tune your search with filters to sort by price, airline, layovers, and more. Once you've found your ideal flight, click "Book, " and you'll be redirected to the booking page to complete your reservation. Enter your payment details and receive a confirmation – it's that simple!

Remember to book ahead, stay flexible, and utilize the widget's features to make your journey to Coimbra both affordable and unforgettable.

Where to stay in Coimbra

Photo of beautiful Jardim da Manga at Coimbra, Portugal.

An essential factor to consider when traveling to a new place or country is accommodation. While visiting a city as fantastic as Coimbra is always exciting, any avid traveler knows that accommodations often make or break the vacation experience. The best place to stay in Coimbra usually depends on travelers' needs and preferences. However, booking accommodations in central Coimbra offers a ton of benefits.

Staying in the heart of the city allows you to easily walk to many of the top sights and dining areas in Coimbra and cut down on your travel expenses. Centrally located accommodations are also an excellent choice for travelers in Coimbra planning to go on a quick tour or drive to the neighboring regions.

In Coimbra, you'll find 5 different types of places to stay, catering to every taste, budget, and reason for travel. For example, honeymooners or travelers on a romantic getaway in Portugal can experience the ultimate relaxation at one of the 5-star or 4-star hotels in Coimbra. Travelers whose purpose is sightseeing can also find plenty of mid-range and budget-friendly hotels in the city, allowing access to many of the top attractions in Coimbra.

Learn more about the most popular places to stay and the top-rated hotels in Coimbra in the following sections.

Popular types of accommodation in Coimbra

A trip to Coimbra means opportunities to relax at any of the 5 different types of places to stay in the city. While each type offers varying amenities and rates, there is no denying that Coimbra provides a great selection of lodging options ready to cater to every kind of guest.

Among all the choices available in the city, ibis Coimbra Centro is one of the top picks of travelers in Coimbra. Ibis Coimbra Centro is a 2-star stay with an average rating of 6090 stars out of 5 from 4 guests. The hotel is located at Avenida Emidio Navarro, 70 and boasts many great utilities, including air conditioning, bar, and restaurant.

Budget accommodations are also incredibly popular among travelers in Coimbra. Cheaper alternatives allow travelers to save on accommodation costs and have more to spend on other experiences.

In Coimbra, travelers looking for an economical yet top-rated place to stay usually choose Olive Street House. For approximately 33 EUR, guests can book a comfortable Double Room at this popular hostel, which also offers free wi-fi, terrace, and more.

Below is a list of all 5 different types of places to stay in Coimbra. Select the type you prefer to compare options under each category and find the best accommodation.

Top hotels in Coimbra

Hotels are travelers' go-to accommodations in Coimbra for the unique experience they provide. Besides offering basic amenities, many hotels in Coimbra provide meals and extras, such as shuttle services, spa facilities, tour desks, and other services. But because not all hotels in Coimbra are created equal, finding the best in the city often requires careful research. For your convenience, we've done all the research to make it easier for you to check out all the top hotels in Coimbra.

Quinta Das Lagrimas offers the most luxurious rooms and is perfect for travelers looking for the ultimate 5-star hotel experience in Coimbra. If comfort, convenience, and affordability are your non-negotiables, check out Tivoli Coimbra, the top 4-star hotel in the city. When all you need is a pleasant place to rest and sleep in between your activities in Coimbra, the highest-rated 3-star hotel, Oslo, is for you.

Below is our hand-picked list of the best hotels in Coimbra. Travelers are encouraged to book early, as these hotels quickly reach capacity. Click the arrows or swipe the list to see each hotel's ratings, reviews, locations, rates, and more. You can read detailed descriptions of each hotel in Coimbra by clicking the cards.


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Search for accommodation in Coimbra

Finding the perfect stay for your visit to Coimbra is made easy with our search tool. With just a few clicks, explore a range of available hotels and accommodations, complete with prices and amenities for easy comparison. Simply input your check-in and check-out dates, along with the number of guests and rooms needed. Start planning your trip to Coimbra effortlessly now!

Transportation in Coimbra

Navigating Coimbra, Portugal's charming university city, is a breeze thanks to its efficient public transportation system. The SMTUC buses cover the city extensively, making it convenient to get around. For shorter distances, the city is very walkable.

For more personalized travel or when public transit isn't readily available, taxis are a reliable option. There are several taxi stands throughout the city and the service is generally prompt. Car rental services are also available for those who prefer to self-drive. However, keep in mind that parking in the city can be challenging at times due to its narrow streets and limited parking spaces.

For a unique local transportation experience, hop on the century-old funicular, known as the Elevador do Mercado, which links the upper and lower parts of the city. This funicular ride offers a scenic view of the city and the Mondego River. It's not just a means of transportation, but also a charming experience itself.

Car rentals in Coimbra

Gothic romanesque cloister of old Coimbra Cathedral and dome. Se Velha de Coimbra, is one of most important romanesque buildings in Portugal and landmark in Coimbra, north of Portugal.

To navigate Coimbra effortlessly, renting a car is an excellent choice. With your own wheels, you can explore every nook and cranny of the destination without relying on public transportation and even venture off the beaten path. On our website, you'll discover a selection of over 2 car rental companies in Coimbra, ready to provide you with the perfect vehicle for your travels.

If you prefer driving a manual car, you'll find multiple options for rent in Coimbra, starting at 18 EUR per day or 123 EUR per week. The cheapest manual rental car is an Económico.

Learn more about the different types of cars you can rent in Coimbra, Portugal below.

Popular types of cars for rent in Coimbra

Renting a car in Coimbra is a popular choice among travelers who want to explore the city at their own pace.

A wide variety of popular car rentals are available to choose from in Coimbra, ensuring you find the best car for your travel plans. All car rentals come with CDW insurance for added protection throughout your trip.

Check out all the options available and book your car rental in Coimbra for your upcoming adventures in Portugal below.

Search for car rentals in Coimbra

Get ready to hit the road and explore the beautiful city of Coimbra. Find the best deals on a variety of popular car rentals in Coimbra, Portugal, or any other destination in Europe by using the search tool below.

Enter your pick-up and drop-off location, driver's age, and dates. Click the green button to view your options.

Popular destinations to visit after Coimbra

Santa Catarina Fort and lighthouse. It was built at the end of the century. XVI to reinforce the defense of the mouth of Mondego river. Figueira da Foz, Portugal

The city of Coimbra is just one of the many unique and scenic destinations you can visit in Portugal. So if you're itching for another cultural adventure, a relaxing road trip, an action-filled city break, or a memorable weekend getaway, know that Portugal has it all.

Each destination in Portugal offers something unique to experience! Take the opportunity to visit other captivating places in Portugal that are as magical as the city of Coimbra. The most popular travel destinations in Portugal are listed below. Click on the name of the place you want to explore next to learn more about it.

All the best destinations in Portugal

When unsure about where to go next, use the map below. This map shows the locations of all the best destinations in Portugal. Use the map to plan your trip and find the best routes.

Domestic flights from Coimbra

Coimbra, Portugal -University of Coimbra - one of the oldest universities in Europe, Portugal

Experience the authentic charm of Portugal by expanding your travels beyond the boundaries of Coimbra. Explore other destinations around Portugal with a domestic flight. A domestic flight is typically a short-haul flight, with the longest duration not exceeding two hours. To find the best flights from Coimbra to other amazing locations in Portugal, add the required details below and select 'Search' to view the best domestic flights in Portugal for your chosen dates. You can also jump to the last section of this travel guide to find the most popular domestic flights from Coimbra.

Search domestic flights from Coimbra

Traveling to another city or region in Portugal? Use the flight search tool below to quickly find the cheapest one-way or round-trip flights from Coimbra to different local destinations.

Enter all the necessary information and click or tap on the Search button to see a list of the available domestic flights in Portugal on the selected dates.

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