Things to-do in the old university city of Coimbra

On our way to Lisbon, we made a three day stop in Coimbra and explored the old university city. Before getting there, we only knew that the university was super old and that the city was quite sleepy. But walking through the city centre really feels like travelling in time. During our time in Coimbra, we stayed at an Airbnb in the city centre which we can highly recommend – we will link it down below.

We made a list of the best things to do in Coimbra – where to get the best pastries and which places to explore. If you know any other cool place in Coimbra, let us know in the comments below!

Have a pastry at Café Santa Cruz

Café Santa Cruz is the oldest café we have ever been to. It was originally founded in 1530 – almost 500 years ago! The one pastry you have to try there is made out of almonds. We can highly recommend it! It looks somehow similar to Pasteis de Nata but it tastes totally different.

Visit the Church of Santa Cruz

The old monastery dates back to the year 1100. From the outside, it doesn’t even look that impressive but once you enter the courtyard, you are transported back in time. Especially since there aren’t many people, you can really feel the calmness of the place.

Explore the University Campus

The old university is what Coimbra is known for. It is one of the oldest universities in Europe – founded in 1290. You can either get into the university by paying an entrance fee or if you only want to visit the university square – Paco das Escolas – you can enter for free. But you still need to get a ticket at the ticket office a few blocks away from the university square.

Afternoon coffee at O Croisant

If you are looking for an afternoon snack or even breakfast, you should check out this café. O Croisant is located at the same square as Café Santa Cruz. They have super delicious juices, croissants, and bagels.

Wonder around the botanical garden

The Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra is an oasis in the city. Especially on hot days, you can come to the garden and enjoy a cool breeze. When you go there, make sure to search for the bamboo forest – it is our absolute favourite place!

Get lost in the small streets

Coimbra has so many small streets to get lost in. You can find many old fountains and churches all around the city. If you are lucky, you will pass by some university students wearing the traditional clothing that looks like in Harry Potter!

Our Accommodation in Coimbra

The Airbnb we stayed in is located in the center of Coimbra just a 10-minute walk away from the train station. We can highly recommend staying there! Click here to get to Airbnb.

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