Museu da Ciência

Top choice in Coimbra

Coimbra's science museum is wonderful, with everything from kid-friendly interactive machines to early scientific instruments, fossils and skeletons. The eclectic collection is spread over three sections in two buildings: the chemistry labs where the ticket office is, and, over the road, the physics and natural history galleries. Highlights include a section on light and matter and a riveting display of exquisitely crafted physics apparatus, many dating from the 17th to 19th centuries.

We particularly love the centaur used to measure the direction and velocity of an arrow.

After the physics displays, the natural history section takes you back to the Victorian era with cabinets crammed with stuffed animals, jars of preserved specimens and huge skeletons, including one of a baleia comum (common whale).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Coimbra attractions

1. Sé Nova

0.06 MILES

The landmark 'new' cathedral, started by the Jesuits in 1598 and completed a century later, dominates the square of the same name high in the old town…

2. Museu Nacional de Machado de Castro

0.11 MILES

This great museum is a highlight of central Portugal. Housed in a 12th-century bishop's palace, it stands over the city's ancient Roman forum, remains of…

3. Porta Férrea


The university's main entrance is the Iron Gate, a 17th-century confection designed by architect António Tavares in 1634 on the orders of Rector D Álvaro…

4. Paço das Escolas


Housed in a former royal palace, this is the historic heart of the university, where traditional academic ceremonies are still held. The main ceremonial…

5. Sé Velha

0.21 MILES

Coimbra's 12th-century cathedral is one of Portugal's finest examples of Romanesque architecture. The main portal and facade are particularly striking,…

6. Torre da Universidade

0.22 MILES

Another of the university's signature landmarks, this 18th-century tower – and its clock and bells – regulates academic life. Built between 1728 and 1733,…

7. Universidade de Coimbra

0.23 MILES

Coimbra's Unesco-listed university, one of the world's oldest, was originally founded in Lisbon in 1290. It was subsequently relocated several times…

8. Jardim da Manga

0.23 MILES

This small square, formerly part of the cloister of the Mosteiro de Santa Cruz, is dominated by its monumental centrepiece: a lemon-yellow, four…