Attractions

Top Choice Museum in Coimbra

Museu Nacional de Machado de Castro

This great museum is a highlight of central Portugal. It's built over the Roman forum, the remains of which can be seen and cover several levels. Part of the visit takes you down to the vaulted, spooky and immensely…
Top Choice Museum in Coimbra

Museu da Ciência

This wonderful science museum occupies a centuries-old former monastery converted by Pombal into the university’s chemical engineering building. It features intriguing state-of-the-art interactive science displays c…
Top Choice University in Coimbra

Universidade de Coimbra

The city’s high point, the university nucleus, consists of a series of remarkable 16th- to 18th-century buildings, all set within and around the vast Páteo das Escolas ('patio' or courtyard). These include the Paço …
Top Choice Cathedral in Coimbra

Sé Velha

Coimbra's stunning 12th-century cathedral is one of Portugal's finest examples of Romanesque architecture. The main portal and facade are exceptionally striking. Its crenellated exterior and narrow, slit-like lower …
Library in Coimbra

Biblioteca Joanina

This extraordinary library, a gift from João V in the early 18th century, seems too extravagant and distracting for study, with its rosewood, ebony and jacaranda tables, elaborately frescoed ceilings and gilt chinoi…
Church in Coimbra

Capela de São Miguel

This extraordinarily beautiful, ornate baroque chapel has a brightly painted ceiling, ornate tilework, Manueline features and a gilded organ. It was reopened (in March 2016) after a year of renovation. Concerts stil…
Notable Building in Coimbra

Paço das Escolas

The Schools Palace, the original Royal Palace, houses the university's iconic salas. Here, important traditional academic ceremonies still take place. To visit the palace, from the courtyard gate take the stairway o…
Church in Coimbra

Igreja de Santa Cruz

From the trendy shops outside, this church plunges you back to Portugal's past. Step through the Renaissance porch and flamboyant 18th-century arch to discover some of the Coimbra School's finest work, including an …
Tower in Coimbra

Clock Tower

Another of the university's symbolic structures in Coimbra, the 18th-century tower – and its clock and bells – regulate academic life. Built between 1728 and 1733, on the premise that there could be no order without…
Gardens in Coimbra

Jardim Botânico

A serene place to catch your breath, the lovely university-run botanic garden sits in the shadow of the 16th-century Aqueduto de São Sebastião. Founded by the Marquês de Pombal, the garden combines formal flower bed…