A Day Trip to Coimbra: How to Make the Most of Your Time?

What do you know about Coimbra? Read this.

Coimbra is a city located in central Portugal, known for its rich history and culture. It is home to the University of Coimbra, which is one of the oldest universities in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city’s historic center is home to the Sé Velha, a Romanesque cathedral, as well as a number of charming streets and squares filled with restaurants, bars, and shops. Coimbra is also home to a number of museums and galleries, including the Museu Nacional de Machado de Castro, which houses a collection of Roman, Gothic, and Baroque art. In addition to its cultural attractions, Coimbra is also home to a number of beautiful parks and gardens, including the Jardim da Sereia, which features a pond, sculptures, and a playground for kids. Overall, Coimbra is a vibrant and exciting city with plenty to see and do.

Do you want to make the most of your time when visiting Coimbra in one day? Give this tips a check:

1. Start your day with a visit to the University of Coimbra

2. Head to the historic center of Coimbra to see the Sé Velha

3. Stop for lunch at one of Coimbra’s many traditional Portuguese restaurants

4. Take a leisurely stroll through the Jardim da Sereia

5. Visit the Museu Nacional de Machado de Castro

6. Take a chance on a trail with Explorial

7. Take a walk along the Mondego River

8. Go shopping


1. Start your day with a visit to the University of Coimbra

The Universidade de Coimbra (University of Coimbra) is a prestigious institution of higher education located in the city of Coimbra, Portugal. Founded in 1290, it is one of the oldest universities in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The university is known for its beautiful Baroque architecture, including the iconic Joanina Library, which houses a collection of rare books and manuscripts. The university also has a rich history of academic excellence, and has produced many notable graduates, including several Portuguese presidents and prime ministers.

In addition to its academic programs, the University of Coimbra also offers a range of extracurricular activities for students. These include sports teams, music and theater groups, and cultural organizations. The university also hosts a number of events and conferences throughout the year, attracting students and scholars from around the world.

Overall, the University of Coimbra is a vital part of the city of Coimbra and a major contributor to Portugal’s cultural and intellectual life. It is a must-see destination for anyone visiting the city.

2. Head to the historic center of Coimbra to see the Sé Velha

The Sé Velha (Old Cathedral) is a Romanesque cathedral located in the historic center of Coimbra, Portugal. It is one of the city’s most important landmarks and a must-see destination for history buffs.

It was built in the 12th century, is an excellent example of Romanesque architecture and features a stunning façade, with intricate carvings and decorations, and a beautiful bell tower. Inside, the cathedral is equally impressive, with a high, arched ceiling, stained glass windows, and a number of important works of art.

The Sé Velha has a long and fascinating history. It was originally built as a mosque during the Moorish occupation of Coimbra, and was later converted into a cathedral after the Christian reconquest of the city. It has undergone a number of renovations and restorations over the years, and is now a well-preserved piece of history.

Today, this place is an important religious and cultural center in Coimbra. It is open to the public and hosts a number of events throughout the year, including concerts and exhibitions. Whether you’re interested in history or just want to see a beautiful piece of architecture, the Sé Velha is a must-see destination in Coimbra.

3. Stop for lunch at one of Coimbra’s many traditional Portuguese restaurants

Coimbra is home to a number of traditional Portuguese restaurants, offering delicious and authentic dishes that are sure to satisfy your appetite. Here are a few examples of the types of dishes you might find at these restaurants:

  1. Caldo verde: This hearty kale soup is a traditional Portuguese dish, often served as a starter or a light meal. It is made with potatoes, onions, and kale, and is often flavored with chorizo sausage.
  2. Bacalhau: Cod is a staple of Portuguese cuisine, and there are many different ways to prepare it. Some popular dishes include bacalhau à brás (cod with potatoes and eggs) and bacalhau com natas (cod with cream).
  3. Feijoada: This hearty stew is made with beans, vegetables, and various types of meat, such as pork, beef, and sausage. It is a popular dish in many parts of Portugal, and is often served with rice or potatoes.
  4. Arroz de pato: Duck rice is another popular dish in Coimbra, made with diced duck, onions, and rice. It is often served with a side of vegetables or a salad.
  5. Pastel de nata: These small, sweet tarts are a popular dessert in Portugal. They are made with a flaky pastry crust and a filling of creamy custard and cinnamon.

Here are 5 restaurants you should visit in Coimbra:

  1. O Cálice de Ouro: Located in the heart of Coimbra, O Cálice de Ouro is a famous and traditional restaurant known for its delicious Portuguese cuisine. Specialties include bacalhau à brás (cod with potatoes and eggs) and arroz de pato (duck rice).
  2. Casa do Alentejo: This restaurant is located in a historic building in Coimbra, and is known for its delicious Portuguese dishes and its beautiful surroundings. Specialties include caldo verde (kale soup) and feijoada (meat and bean stew).
  3. Tágide: Located in a beautiful old mansion in Coimbra, Tágide is a popular restaurant known for its traditional Portuguese dishes and its elegant atmosphere. Specialties include cozido à portuguesa (a traditional Portuguese stew) and arroz de tamboril (monkfish rice).
  4. Rui’s: This popular restaurant, located in a historic building in Coimbra, is known for its delicious Portuguese dishes and its friendly atmosphere. Specialties include arroz de polvo (octopus rice) and frango assado (roast chicken).
  5. Sol e Mar: Located in a beautiful old mansion in Coimbra, Sol e Mar is a popular restaurant known for its delicious Portuguese dishes and its charming atmosphere. Specialties include arroz de caril (curry rice) and bacalhau com natas (cod with cream).

4. Take a leisurely stroll through the Jardim da Sereia

Jardim da Sereia (Siren’s Garden) is a public garden located in the city of Coimbra, Portugal and it is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike to relax and enjoy the outdoors.

The garden is named after a sculpture of a mermaid, which is its most prominent feature. It is located on the banks of the Mondego River, and offers beautiful views of the river and the city. The garden is well-maintained and has a variety of plants, trees, and flowers, as well as a number of benches and paths for visitors to explore. It is a popular spot for picnics and outdoor events, and is a great place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of the city. In addition to the sculpture of the mermaid, the garden also has a number of other sculptures and works of art on display. Overall, Jardim da Sereia is a beautiful and peaceful place to spend an afternoon in Coimbra.

5. Visit the Museu Nacional de Machado de Castro

The Museu Nacional de Machado de Castro is a museum located in Coimbra, Portugal. It is named after the Portuguese sculptor Joaquim Machado de Castro, and is one of the country’s most important museums of art and archaeology. The museum is located in a former bishop’s palace, which dates back to the 18th century. It is a beautiful and historic building that is worth a visit in its own right.

The museum’s collection includes a wide variety of art and artifacts from the ancient world, including Greek and Roman sculptures, ceramics, and coins. It also has a large collection of Portuguese art, ranging from the Middle Ages to the modern day. Some of the highlights of the museum’s collection include the “Treasure of Coimbra,” a collection of gold and silver objects from the 9th to 11th centuries, and the “Ceramics Collection,” which includes a number of beautiful and ornate ceramics from the 14th to 19th centuries.

In addition to its permanent collection, the Museu Nacional de Machado de Castro also hosts a number of temporary exhibitions throughout the year. These exhibitions showcase a variety of subjects, including art, archaeology, and history. Overall, the Museu Nacional de Machado de Castro is a must-see attraction for anyone interested in art and history, and is a great place to learn about the rich cultural heritage of Portugal.

6. Take a chance on a trail with Explorial

Explorial is an interactive and challenging game in which the objective is to collect as many points as possible as a group. You explore the city on foot and get points for solving different types of tasks.

Whether you know your way around the city or are just visiting, with Explorial you are guaranteed to get to know the city in a new way.

So, with this app, you’ll be able to explore Coimbra with small effort and lots of fun! It gives you the chance to see the main attractions of the city and in a dynamic way. Go for it, you won’t regret it!

7. Take a walk along the Mondego River

The Mondego River is a river that runs through the city of Coimbra, Portugal. It is the largest river in the Centro region of Portugal and is an important part of the local landscape and culture. The river is named after the city of Mondego, which is located near its mouth. It is a popular spot for outdoor activities such as walking, running, and biking, and there are a number of trails along the river that are perfect for these activities.

The river is also a popular spot for fishing, and there are many species of fish that can be found in its waters, including trout, bass, and catfish. It is also home to a number of bird species, including herons, kingfishers, and egrets.

The Mondego River is an important economic resource for the region, and is used for irrigation, hydroelectric power, and as a source of drinking water. It is also an important transportation route, with a number of bridges crossing it in Coimbra. Overall, the Mondego River is an integral part of life in Coimbra and the surrounding area, and is a beautiful and important natural feature of the region.

8. Go shopping

Coimbra, Portugal is a great place to go shopping, with a variety of local and international products on offer. Here are a few of the top shopping districts in the city:

  1. Rua Ferreira Borges: This street is located in the heart of the city and is home to a number of boutique shops, department stores, and international chain stores. It is a popular spot for shopping and is a great place to find a wide variety of products.
  2. Rua Fernandes Tomas: Located in the center of the city, this street is known for its independent boutiques and specialty stores. It is a great place to find unique and locally made products, and is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike.
  3. Mercado Municipal de Coimbra: Located in the center of the city, the Mercado Municipal de Coimbra is a large covered market that is home to a number of stalls selling a variety of products, including fresh produce, clothing, and accessories. It is a great place to find local and handmade goods, and is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike.
  4. Shopping centers: Coimbra has a number of large shopping centers that are home to a variety of stores, including international chain stores and local boutiques. Some of the top shopping centers in the city include the Dolce Vita Coimbra and the Forum Coimbra.

Overall, Coimbra has something for everyone when it comes to shopping, with a variety of local and international products on offer. Whether you’re looking for unique handmade goods or international brands, you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for in the city.


In conclusion, a day trip to Coimbra is a great way to experience all that this beautiful and historic city has to offer. There are so many things to see and do, and with a little planning, you can make the most of your time. Some of the must-see attractions in Coimbra include the Jardim da Sereia, the University of Coimbra, and the Museu Nacional de Machado de Castro. These are just a few of the many sights and activities that the city has to offer, and there is something for everyone to enjoy. Be sure to also take some time to explore the local cuisine, as Coimbra is known for its delicious food. Overall, a day trip to Coimbra is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture and history of Portugal, and is an experience you won’t soon forget.

LIKE THIS ARTICLE ABOUT THE TOP THINGS TO DO IN COIMBRA? PIN IT!

If you’ve found this article about what to do in Coimbra interesting, please consider sharing it with your friends. It will mean the world to us. 😀

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest