Discover 13 unique things to do in Coimbra

Discover 13 unique things to do in Coimbra

Discover 13 unique things to do in Coimbra

So you’ve been to Lisbon and Porto, but don’t by pass Portugal’s Previous Capital and discover 13 unique things to do in Coimbra.

Nestled halfway between the two largest cities in Portugal, Lisbon and Porto, Coimbra in all it’s glory. Coimbra is actually Portugal’s third largest city on the banks of the Mondego River. This hip University town is well known in Portugal and has the oldest University in the country, dating back to 1290.  The river bank, cool cafes, funky restaurants and medieval University all set the tone for 13 cool things to do in Coimbra. The once capital of Portugal is steeped in history, with many of it’s historic buildings holding the accolade of a World Heritage Sight.

Through our 13 cool things to do in Coimbra you will get an insight into a lot of it’s history, and cultural traditions that are still just as prevalent to this day.

1. Take a bike tour with ByBike Coimbra

Explore Coimbra’s World Heritage Sights with ByBike Coimbra. This bike tour lasting 4 hours will take you through historical Coimbra, give you an insight into the past and present and will also help you keep fit at the same time… win win.

2. Kayak on Mondego River

Kayak on the Mondego River with Caminhos d’aqua. Get out of the city and experience another side to Coimbra. Take in the gorgeous scenery, meet new friends and explore the Portuguese Countryside from a fun perspective. The tour lasts approx 4 hours with a traditional Portuguese lunch too! 

3. SUP on the Mondego River

Work on your arm muscles with Stand Up Paddle Coimbra. The best thing about SUP’ing on the Mondego River are the views. While SUP’ing, admire the city from afar in the peaceful and tranquil setting of the river, just try not to fall in. You can also take a picnic & relax in Parque do Choupalinho after.

4. See a Fado Show

Coimbra Fado is a must see while in Coimbra. It was adapted by the students of the University of Coimbra so you’ll only find students or former students singing their hearts out. The Guitar de Coimbra is used (a kind of Portuguese guitar originated in Coimbra) and it’s is a modified version of Lisbons fado. So whats the difference between Lisbon Fado and Coimbra Fado? The women of Lisbon have the opportunity to sing Fado, but in Coimbra it’s only for the men. Sexist!? The roots of Fado in Coimbra go way back and despite Women attempting it, they have stuck to their roots. For the best Fado in Coimbra, check out Fado ao Centro.

13 unique things to do in Coimbra

Guitar of Coimbra


Discover 13 unique things to do in Coimbra

Fado Show at Fado ao Centro

5. Visit the University of Coimbra

The University of Coimbra was ironically built in Lisbon in 1290 and was permanently moved to Coimbra in 1537, it’s the oldest University in Portugal and one of the oldest Universities in the world thats still in use today! The University is pretty cool actually, it’s located in what used to be a Medieval Palace! There are a few attractions within the University that you must see. The stunning 18th library – Biblioteca Joanina is a must for bookworms. It holds almost 300,000 medieval books and manuscripts from all over this gorgeous country. Capela de Sao Miguel is a stunning chapel that dates back from 1517. The best for us was the Bell tower, climb the tower early (to avoid the crowds) and take in the amazing views of the city.

We got up super early to see the University of Coimbra without lots of people and i'm so glad we did! We had the whole place to ourselves & got this cool shot. If you're travelling Coimbra, make sure and go up to the top of the Bell Tower for beautiful views of the city 🙂 Also check out our latest post on 13 unique things to do in Coimbra. On a side note, we are preparing for our next trip and are looking out for new luggage. What luggage do you use or can recommend for minimalists like us!?!? . . . . . . . . . #visitportugal #portugal #travel #travelmore #traveloften #travelgram #wanderlust #coimbra #visitcoimbra #bloggers #travelbloggers #university #travelphotography #picoftheday #photooftheday #wearetravelgirls #girlslovetravel #travelwithus #citybreaks #europe #instapassport #wanderlustwednesday #wearetravelgays #culture #portugal_lovers

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6. Chill out at Praca da Comercio

People watch in this busy courtyard full of cafes, small boutiques, and local restaurants. The church of Sao Tiago is especially beautiful at night when it is light up. There are also regular festivals on in this busy square. Try local Portuguese food in the local taverns and if your lucky you’ll catch a free performance too in the square.

Discover 13 unique things to do in Coimbra

Sao Tiago Church

Discover 13 unique things to do in Coimbra

7. Wander in the Jardims da Quinta das Lagrimas

There is a lot more to this picturesque, quaint hotel set in beautiful gardens. Portugal’s version of Romeo & Juliet took place on the grounds. The tragic story dates back to 1355, where the mistress of King Pedro l was murdered while waiting on her lover. The gardens are open to the public for only 2.50 and opens 10am-7pm, just don’t get too close to the fountain – Fonte dos Amores as this is where it all took place!

Discover 13 unique things to do in Coimbra

Jardims da Quinta das Lagrimas

8. Compare the Se Velha (Old Cathedral) and the Se Nova (New Cathedral)

Decide and compare the two huge Cathedrals in the city of Coimbra. Both designs and architechure   are very different. The old cathedral goes back as far as 1184 and make sure and check out the inside and not just the exterior.

Not quite as consrvative as the old Cathedral lies the Se Nova. This cathedral was built in 1598 and the outside is not the only exuberant aspect of the Cathedral, check out the main feature of the altar inside.

Discover 13 unique things to do in Coimbra

Se Velha (Old Cathedral)


Discover 13 unique things to do in Coimbra

Se Nova (New Cathedral)

9. Drink Tea at the Tiny Tea House Coimbra

The Tiny Tea House Coimbra just so happens to be located in the quirkiest and most up and coming street in Coimbra – Rua de Fernandes Thomas. The Tiny Tea House may be tiny, but the Tea’s certainly aren’t! Get adventurous and select from the many tantalising Teas. Oh and ask Anouk for daily cake too, you won’t be disappointed!

Discover 13 unique things to do in Coimbra

Tea, Tea & more Tea @ the Tiny Tea House, Coimbra

9. Visit Arco de Amedina

Ok so this one is not an attraction as such as you simply walk through it but of course there’s a story to be told. The Almedina Arch is the oldest structure remaining from Coimbra’s Moorish town walls that goes way back to the 9th century! The accommodation we stayed in actually had the city wall run right through the house, pretty cool!

Discover 13 unique things to do in Coimbra

Arco de Amedina

Discover 13 unique things to do in Coimbra

10. Feel big at Portugal dos Pequenitos

This miniature park literally translates as “the little ones of Portugal”. The miniature buildings all represent different parts of Portugal through their national monuments, can you guess what represents Coimbra? It’s essentially a kids educational park but of course adults can have fun here too!

Discover 13 unique things to do in Coimbra

Portugal dos Pequenitos

11. Drink Port & be Merry

Being so close to Porto and the Douro Wine region, it would be rude not to drink and sample some Port wines when in Coimbra! Sit back, relax, listen to some fado, eat delicious Portuguese food and sample some of the finest Tawny’s they have on offer.

Discover 13 unique things to do in Coimbra

Mmmmm Port!

12. Take a boat cruise on the Mondego River

Get to know Coimbra and the Mondego River on the waterway. Relax on the slow boat and take in the views of the city. Check it out here.

13. Hop onboard for a TukTuk Tour

Discover all the culture and sights of Coimbra on a tuk tuk of course! This unique way to travel will save you from all the hills. The tuk tuk tour will take you to the most famous attractions in Coimbra, you will learn the history, culture and see the city from a different angle. The tour lasts for approx 1.5 hours and you can check it out here.

Need a place to stay in Coimbra – Check out the best deals here. Or search for your own place to stay in Coimbra below.   Coimbra is definitely an up and coming city in Portugal and if you are passing through or visiting, we hope our 13 unique things to do in Coimbra will keep you busy and will showcase the best the city has to offer.

Check out reviews for all the above tours on Trip Advisor here.

Have you ever been to Coimbra? Where has been the best place in Portugal you have been? We would love to hear your recommendations.

Discover 13 unique things to do in Coimbra

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  1. Hi Janice, you had visited a lot during those few days in Coimbra. I hope you enjoyed. Congratulations by your very nice presentation. Regards, Antonio

    • Hi Antonio,

      Great to hear from you! Yes we really enjoyed Coimbra, it’s such a beautiful city and I’m sure we will be back in the near future. Still lots to see & do 🙂 Take care, J & J

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