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 which can be seen in the maze of spooky tunnels under the building – the cryptoporticus. Once you emerge from this, you can start on the fascinating art collection, which runs the gamut from Gothic religious sculpture to 16th-century Flemish painting and ornately crafted furniture.
Particularly spectacular is the vast recreation of a chapel from the Convento de São Domingos, but highlights abound. These include a section of the delicate cloister of São João de Almedina and some exquisite alabaster pieces from England. Sculptural works trace the development of Portuguese sculpture from the 11th century, showing how the arrival of Renaissance masters from across Europe paved the way for a distinctive Coimbra tradition.
You can admire terracotta figures from a 16th-century Last Supper by the mysterious French artist Hodart and some stunning panels by the Flemish painter Quentin Metsys. A collection of gold monstrances, furniture and Moorish-influenced pieces is almost too much by the time you reach it.