On our way to Coimbra from Porto, we had to change trains half way in Aveiro. Instead of just hopping on the next train, we walked into town.
We weren’t there very long, so we didn’t see much, but at least we got to see the canals for which Aveiro is famous.
We are glad we stopped, but didn’t feel we needed to stay more than an hour or two.
From Aveiro, for €5.35 we boarded a train for the hour long ride to Coimbra. Here are the things we enjoyed most.
University of Coimbra
Part of the university is the former Royal Palace so you know it has to be cool.
12€ admission for a tour that includes the Biblioteca Joanina.
Some parts are free like the grounds and what is inside door number 3.
Coimbra Botanical Gardens and the Aqueduct
For relaxing away from the crowds, head to the Botanical Garden. Bring some food; find a bench; and have a picnic.
Barbican Gate and Almendina Arch
Located one after the other, these make up the original entrance in the medieval wall of Coimbra, located off Rue Ferriera Borges, the main pedestrian shopping district:
Old Cathedral (Se’ Velha)
The orignal old cathedral is located at Largo Se’ Velha.
And if you are in for a bit of macabre, head through a door on the left of the nave to see the collection of reliquaries housing things like bones and teeth of saints.
Church of Santa Cruz
This church is free and in my opinion more impressive than either of the cathedrals. I especially liked all the tile work along the walls.
For an additional €3 you can get into the Santa Cruz Monastery and Cloisters. It also houses the remains of the first two kings of Portugal.
Head next door for a cup of coffee at Cafe Santa Cruz
Largo de Portagem
Riverfront plaza with some nice outdoor cafes.
Coimbra Municipal Market
To get a local feel, and to get some cheap food for a picnic (in the Botanical Garden for example) visit the Coimbra Municipal Market
Rua Olímpio Nicolau Rui Fernandes. Monday – Saturday from 7 am to 7 pm.
It is a block from:
Jardim da Manga
And There is This Place
You can see this from near the aqueduct. It looks like some kind of palace, and that is a medieval wall in front of it. However, it wasn’t on either map I had. When I checked on Google maps, there was nothing there.
Even though it appears to be as elusive as Bigfoot, I did get a picture.
The following things I did not have time for but were on my todo list.
Santa Clara-a-Velha Monestary
Cross the river via the Pedro e Ines footbridge to visit Santa Clara-a-Velha Monestary. From the other side you will also get a great view of Coimbra.
Santa Clara-a-Nova Monestary
After the Santa Clara-Velha Monestary flooded, the Santa Clara-a-Nova Monestary was built on higher ground.
Pet & Tea Cat Cafe’
Finally, if you like cats and are looking for something quirky, for €5 you get admission, a drink, and you get to play with cute kittens.