Image by villorejo Getty Images

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 das Escolas (Royal Palace), clock tower, Prisão Acadêmica (prison), Capela de São Miguel (chapel) and Biblioteca Joanina (library). Visitors to the library are admitted in small groups every 20 minutes. Buy your ticket at the university's visitor centre near the Porta Férrea. With the exception of the library, you can enter and explore on your own, or head off with a knowledgable university tour guide on one of three different tours (€12.50/15/20). These take place daily at 11am and 3pm.