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The city is a major student hub, known for its vibrant cultural scene and nightlife. Accor invites you to dive into this lively destination steeped in time-honoured customs by booking a hotel in Coimbra or elsewhere in Portugal at all.com.
The monuments of Coimbra University
At the summit of the Alta da Cidade (upper city), the University of Coimbra is the natural starting point for beginning your first day of discovery. This extensive site is a town within a town, and it's home to several monuments you shouldn't miss when visiting Coimbra. Separate entry tickets for each monument and combined tickets are sold at the ticket office opposite the Science Museum, or you can also buy tickets online.
Pátio das Escolas
The Paço das Escolas (schools palace) and the Torre da Universidade (university tower) surround the Patio das Escolas, a monumental square that looks over the old town and the river. The former royal palace has long been the centre of Coimbra's academic life and still welcomes students in its sumptuous interior. From the top of the adjoining clock tower, you can admire one of the most beautiful panoramic views of Coimbra. The Machado de Castro art museumalsostands on the square.
Museu da Ciênça
The Science Museum bears witness to a long tradition of research and innovation that has put Coimbra at the heart of knowledge and learning in Portugal. Discover the lab tools that scientists once used, dive into the story of astronomy, and marvel at the museum's mineral and zoological collections.
The Botanic Garden of Coimbra is the ideal spot to finish your visit to the university. Wander its paths lined with exotic plants and adorned with sculptures and fountains. Entry to the park is free, with only a small charge to visit the tropical greenhouse.
Coimbra's other monuments
Beyond its university, Coimbra stands out for its religious heritage, with the churches of São Tiago and Santa Cruz, and, above all, the Sé Velha de Coimbra, a magnificent, fortress-like Romanesque cathedral. At the foot of the hill where the medieval district lies, stroll over the Pedro e Inês footbridge, which links two splendid riverside parks and offers a wonderful view over the River Mondego and the old town. On the other side of the river, visit the Mosteiro de Santa Clara-a-Velha, a 14th-century convent, and Portugal dos Pequenitos theme park. The latter is made up of many miniature reproductions of monuments in Portugal and the Portuguese-speaking world – a great chance to mix learning and fun that the whole family can enjoy.
Coimbra's cuisine, cultural scene and nightlife
Coimbra has been a student city since the Middle Ages, and it's kept its traditions alive, the most famous being the Festas académicas. The students are easy to spot in their uniforms during the Queima das Fitas in late May: eight days of celebrations that include parades, concerts and other open-air performances to mark the end of the academic year.
Coimbra is one of Portugal's major cultural and artistic hubs, and it's renowned for its vibrant nightlife. The city's performance venues, theatres and concert bars provide a rich, varied cultural programme all year round. Local night owls often meet up on the Praça da República square or the Largo da Sé cathedral forecourt, and you'll find lots of bars and restaurants nearby. Partying continues on the steps that lead to the upper city – these morph into terraces and open-air venues come nightfall. During your stay, make sure you savour Coimbra's local sweet delights like pastéis de Santa Clara, arrufadas, pudim das Clarissas or *biscoitos académicos.*The city's restaurants and taverns also serve typically Portuguese snacks and dishes like the traditional chanfana – a lamb stew.
Enjoying the nightlife and tasting local cuisine
Coimbra is close to beautiful landscapes for you to explore. The Palheiros e Zorro river beach invites you to unwind beside the River Mondego. And you can enjoy woodland walks in the city's natural surroundings, the Vale de Canas and Choupal national forests. In the Serra do Buçaco, an area of wooded hills just a 40-minute drive away, you can visit the peaceful Santa Cruz do Buçaco monastery. Prefer to relax by the sea? A one-hour train ride will take you to the splendid beaches of Figueira da Foz or the charming port of Aveiro.
Coimbra has two train stations: Coimbra and Coimbra-B. From them, you can travel by rail to Lisbon in less than two hours and Porto in around one hour and 30 minutes. By bus, the journey from Lisbon is around two hours and 30 minutes from the Oriente or Sete Rios bus stations, and one hour and 30 minutes from the Campo 24 de Agosto bus station in Porto.
Once you're in Coimbra, the new rail station and the adjoining bus station are less than a 15-minute walk from the old town. The old Coimbra-B train station is slightly further away from the centre, but you can reach the new station from there in just a few minutes via a regular travel link. You can plan your route on the website of the SMTUC, Coimbra's public transport network. But for discovering the old town's alleys and steps, your best option is to explore on foot.
Getting to and around Coimbra
Pick an affordable hotel in central Coimbra. You'll then enjoy all you need for a smooth stay and you'll be just a stone's throw from the city's most beautiful monuments and its many bars and restaurants. Coimbra is easily reached from Lisbon and Porto, so many travellers visit the city's historic heart in a single day before returning to their hotel. Accor offers a wide range of accommodation options in Portugal's two biggest cities, from the most affordable havens to luxurious spa hotels and boutique hotels.
Getting to Coimbra from Lisbon and Porto
Getting around Coimbra
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