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24 Hours in Coimbra

Nestled in the heart of Portugal, Coimbra is a city that exudes a distinctive charm and character. Steeped in history, culture, and art, Coimbra is a fascinating destination that offers an authentic Portuguese experience to visitors. From its picturesque streets and alleys to its stunning architecture and lively student community, Coimbra is a city that captivates the senses and leaves a lasting impression on all who visit. Here are some suggestions on how to spend 24 hours in Coimbra.

Where to Stay

Solar Antigo Luxury Hotel

Rua Couraça dos Apostolos nº 13-15-17, 66, Coimbra, 3000-431/2

Tel: +351 969 374 875 | +351 239 161 449 | Email: solarantigo@gmail.com

Where to Eat

Sete

I ordered the fresh vegetables with a raisin vinegar dressing (it was more like a gigantic salad) as a starter, and then the salmon with zucchini and carrots paired with squid ink couscous. The meal was delicious and the service was 10/10. 

Zé Manel dos Ossos

This 5-6 table restaurant, tucked away in a small alley, with no frills (not even a bathroom), compensates with delicious authentic Portuguese food and smiling service. The walls are decorated with notes left from past customers, and the small size of the place made me feel cozy. I ordered the small white wine (which was more like half a bottle) and Pork with greens and potatoes. The whole meal came to 15 euros. 

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What to Do

Honestly, I came to Coimbra for my SEF residency appointment, which didn’t leave a ton of time to explore, however, these were the places that caught my eye and I’d recommend you visit.

The University

The University of Coimbra was originally located in Lisbon in 1290 but moved to Coimbra in 1537, and is a symbol of Portuguese research and higher education. As one of the oldest universities in the world, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2013. It’s a great place to walk around to admire the architecture of the different buildings and take in the views of Coimbra from the hill.

Jardim Botânico da Universidade de Coimbra

Attached to the University, the Botanical Garden was created in 1772, and includes many different areas and hosts different events throughout the year. I got to explore the garden on a perfect sunny day, and there were students enjoying, kids playing, and older tourists exploring. It’s a place for everyone and since it’s attached to the university, there are informational plaques around so you can learn about the plants and trees.

Joanina Library

I was recommended to go see the library but what I failed to research was that tickets are required to be bought in advance and the library only has certain times that it is open. I’d recommend buying tickets ahead of time and planning your day so that you can enjoy this marvelous building. I’ll try again next time I come to Coimbra. 

Coimbra is a charming city in central Portugal that’s steeped in history and culture. With just 24 hours to explore, visitors can still experience some of the city’s highlights, such as the stunning hilltop University of Coimbra and its impressive Baroque library. Other must-see attractions include the ornate Sé Velha cathedral, the picturesque Mondego River, and the lively streets of the Baixa district, where visitors can sample traditional Portuguese cuisine and soak up the local atmosphere. Despite its compact size, Coimbra has plenty to offer visitors, making it a perfect destination for a day trip or a short stay.

aperkins

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