Coimbra Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Coimbra

The old capital of Portugal, Coimbra is a riverfront city rich in history and architecture. Home to the historic University of Coimbra, many of the local landmarks are in one way or another associated with it. To see these and other prominent sights of Coimbra, follow this orientation walk and enjoy!
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Coimbra Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Coimbra Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: Portugal » Coimbra (See other walking tours in Coimbra)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 14
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Author: Caroline
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Largo da Portagem
  • Rua Ferreira Borges
  • Arco de Almedina
  • Praça do Comercio
  • Santa Cruz Monastery
  • Jardim da Manga
  • Mercado D. Pedro V
  • Torre d'Anto
  • Old Cathedral of Coimbra
  • University of Coimbra
  • National Museum Machado de Castro
  • New Cathedral of Coimbra
  • King Dinis Statue
  • Botanical Garden
Largo da Portagem

1) Largo da Portagem (must see)

Largo da Portagem is a square that faces the Santa Clara Bridge. Portagem means the entrance or gate to the city. It is a small square with a garden. There are many shops, cafes and beautiful Baroque buildings around this square. You will see a statue in honour of Joaquim António de Aguiar that stands in the middle of the square on a high pedestal. This person was an outstanding Portuguese politician.
Rua Ferreira Borges

2) Rua Ferreira Borges (must see)

Rua Ferreira Borges is a shopping street in Coimbra. It is lined with many shops that are attractive for tourists as it is the main tourist area of Coimbra, located near the Old Cathedral. You can buy gifts and souvenirs in these shops. There is also a large book shop there that sells postcards, old and new, as well as rare books. It is a pedestrian street, lined with cafes and restaurants.
Arco de Almedina

3) Arco de Almedina (must see)

The Arch Almedina or Arco de Almedina is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Coimbra. Almedina Arch in the historic downtown of Coimbra is the remnant of the defensive wall that once surrounded the city. This ancient city wall dates back to the sixth century. The arch was built in the twelfth century. The Arco Almedina has an old bell that used to ring in the morning and evening to open and close the city gates, and sounded the alarm at disastrous events. Now the arch and the tower are national historic monuments.
Praça do Comercio

4) Praça do Comercio (must see)

Praça do Comercio is famous for its square of shops in Coimbra. It is considered the heart of shopping in Coimbra. Tourists are attracted here by a wide range of goods; you can buy local traditional crafts. In the evenings and on weekends, the square becomes a very busy place. There are many cafes with delicious local cakes where you can have a rest while shopping.
Santa Cruz Monastery

5) Santa Cruz Monastery (must see)

The Santa Cruz Monastery is a National Monument in Coimbra. Because the first two kings of Portugal are buried in the church it was granted the status of National Pantheon. Founded in 1131 outside the protecting walls of Coimbra, the Santa Cruz Monastery was the most important monastic house during the early days of the Portuguese monarchy. St. Theotonius founded this community of canons regular and served as their first prior. The monastery and church were erected between 1132 and 1223. The monastery was granted numerous papal privileges and royal grants, which allowed the accumulation of considerable wealth, at the same time as it consolidated its position on the politico-institutional and cultural scene. Its school, with its vast library, was highly respected in medieval times and was a meeting point for the intellectual and power elites. Its scriptorium was used for the consolidation of royal power by King Afonso Henriques, thus it was not considered strange that he decided to be buried there.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Jardim da Manga

6) Jardim da Manga (must see)

Jardim da Manga or Garden Manga is a Portuguese public area found behind the church of Santa Cruz, in the central historic part of Coimbra. There is a domed fountain decorated with sculptures in the garden. It symbolizes the fountain of life. This small XVI century garden is a national historic monument.
Mercado D. Pedro V

7) Mercado D. Pedro V

Mercado D. Pedro V. is the main market in Coimbra that dates back to 1867. It is located near the main tourist attractions of the city. Here you will find fresh local products such as fruits and vegetables that grow in Portugal, fresh fish and drinks. The market is open every day of the week. There is a funicular at the Mercado that can take you up to the upper town.
Torre d'Anto

8) Torre d'Anto

Torre d'Anto is a Medieval tower built in the Medieval defensive wall of Coimbra and is one of the most popular tourist attractions. It remained as a mark of the military past of the old town. In the 19th century the poet Antonio Nobre lived there and the tower bears his name. The tower is square-shaped. You will see the intact stone exterior of the tower, narrow spiral staircase, the arched entrance door and windows of the facades. The Torre de Anto now houses the art gallery. You can see important artifacts and antique pieces which have been collected over the years.
Old Cathedral of Coimbra

9) Old Cathedral of Coimbra (must see)

The Old Cathedral of Coimbra (Portuguese: Sé Velha de Coimbra) is one of the most important Romanesque Roman Catholic buildings in Portugal. Construction of the Sé Velha began some time after the Battle of Ourique (1139), when Count Afonso Henriques declared himself King of Portugal and chose Coimbra as capital. The first Count of Coimbra, the mozarab Sisnando Davides, is buried in the cathedral.

Coimbra Cathedral is the only one of the Portuguese Romanesque cathedrals from the Reconquista times to have survived relatively intact up to the present. From the Gothic era (13th-14th centuries) there are several tombs with laying statues along the lateral aisles, some very much eroded. The most remarkable is that of Lady Vataça Lascaris (or Betaça), a Byzantine that came to Portugal in the beginning of the 14th century together with Elizabeth of Aragon, who was to marry King Dinis I. Her tomb carries the symbol of the Byzantine Empire: a two-headed eagle.
Sight description based on wikipedia
University of Coimbra

10) University of Coimbra (must see)

The University of Coimbra (UC) is a Portuguese public university in Coimbra. Established in 1290, it is one of the oldest universities in continuous operation in the world, the oldest university of Portugal, and one of its largest higher education and research institutions. It is organized into eight different faculties according to a wide range of fields, granting academic bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees in arts, engineerings, humanities, mathematics, natural sciences, social sciences, sports and technologies. It is a founding member of the Coimbra Group, a group of leading European research universities, whose inaugural meeting it hosted. The University of Coimbra has approximately 20,000 students, and hosts one of the largest communities of international students in Portugal, being the most cosmopolitan Portuguese university.
Sight description based on wikipedia
National Museum Machado de Castro

11) National Museum Machado de Castro (must see)

The National Museum Machado de Castro (Museu Nacional de Machado de Castro) is an art museum in Coimbra, named after the renowned Portuguese sculptor Joaquim Machado de Castro. It is one of the most important art museums in Portugal, and is housed in the former Palace of the Bishops. During the Middle Ages, the Palace of the Bishops was built over the Roman forum of Aeminium (Roman name of Coimbra) and nowadays its remains can be visited through the museum, under the palace turned into the Machado de Castro Museum.
Sight description based on wikipedia
New Cathedral of Coimbra

12) New Cathedral of Coimbra (must see)

The New Cathedral of Coimbra (Portuguese: Sé Nova de Coimbra) is the current bishopric seat of the city of Coimbra. It is located near the historical University of Coimbra in the upper part of the town (Alta de Coimbra). The New Cathedral was, originally, the church of the Jesuit Formation house of Coimbra, established in the city in 1543. In 1759, the Jesuit Order was banned from Portugal by the Marquis of Pombal, Prime-Minister of King José I. In 1772, the bishopric seat was transferred from the old Romanesque Cathedral of the city to the vacant, spacious and more modern Jesuit church.

The church architecture was influential in the Portuguese colonial world. The niches of the façade of the New Cathedral carry statues of four Jesuit saints. The Baroque decoration of the upper part of the façade, finished in the beginning of the 18th century, contrasts with the lower part, which follows a rigid Mannerist style. The church has two bell towers located just behind the main façade and a dome over the crossing. The interior, covered with barrel vaulting, has one nave with several lateral chapels and a transept with a dome and cupola. Both transept arms and the main chapel of the apse are decorated with huge, magnificent gilt wood altarpieces built between the 17th and 18th centuries which are fine examples of the so-called "national" Portuguese artarpiece style. The lateral chapels of the nave have altarpieces in Mannerist and Baroque styles.
Sight description based on wikipedia
King Dinis Statue

13) King Dinis Statue

King Dinis Statue stands on the Largo Dom Dinis (square of Dinis). Dinis is known to have strengthened the kingdom by improving the economy and reducing the power of Catholicism. The son of Afonso III, Dinis received a good education and was a poet. He was the one who established the first university in his country in 1290. The statue represents Dinis standing in royal apparel on a high pedestal.
Botanical Garden

14) Botanical Garden (must see)

The Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra (Jardim Botânico da Universidade de Coimbra) was founded in 1772-1774 and it was integrated in the Natural History Museum established by the Marquis of Pombal. The place for the Hortus Botanicus was chosen by the vice-chancellor of the University of Coimbra (Francisco de Lemos) and it was part of the farm of S. Bento's College, located at the Ursulinas Valley. The area of the Garden, which has been enlarged, reaches the 13 hectares it occupies at present. The Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra, considered one of the most beautiful of Europe, can be divided in two parts.

The first part, located at the highest level of the Garden and at the top of the valley, constitutes the most formal area and it is divided in terraces. The lower terrace, known as the Quadrado Central (The Central Square) is the most primitive part of the garden and is decorated as other European Gardens of the 18th Century. In this terrace, adorned with a fountain from the 1940s, some trees planted during the time of Brotero can still be seen, such as: Cryptomeria japonica, Cunninghamia sinensis and Erythrina crista-galli.

The second part of the Garden, including the valley where once a small stream flowed, is the Arboretum, usually known as Mata of the Botanical Garden. Here we can observe, alongside with the Monocotyledoneae collection, a splendid forest of bamboos and a dense vegetation with exotic trees. In the Arboretum holds an excellent collection of Eucalyptus, about 51 species.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Coimbra, Portugal

Create Your Own Walk in Coimbra

Create Your Own Walk in Coimbra

Creating your own self-guided walk in Coimbra is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Historical Churches Walking Tour

Historical Churches Walking Tour

There are many magnificent and old churches in Coimbra. The buildings of the cathedrals and churches represent the most splendid architecture of Europe: Baroque, Renaissance, Rococo. The interior of these churches are very richly ornate by the works of art: paintings of the greatest European artists, sculptures and other art. This self-guided tour will lead you to the beautiful churches and...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.5 Km or 2.8 Miles
North of Coimbra Walking Tour

North of Coimbra Walking Tour

A walk through the northern part of Coimbra offers diverse attractions such as architectural sights, a unique cafe, art gallery and a great shopping experience. You can see some old, beautiful churches and palaces. This self-guided tour will lead you to the attractions found in the north of Coimbra.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Museums Walking Tour

Museums Walking Tour

Coimbra is a very old city with a rich past and history. The oldest university in Europe was established here and that is why there are several museums in the city that are related to science. The scientific museums are of great importance there and display rare collections. Take this self-guided tour to visit the most popular museums in Coimbra.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 Km or 1.1 Miles