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Coimbra Things to See and Do

There is much to see and do in Coimbra. The university, and in particular the library, are must-sees. This ancient city is packed to the gills with historical buildings and sites: be sure to check out the Old Cathedral, the Santa Cruz Monastery, the 16th century Anto Tower (it is home to an art gallery now) and the Botanical Gardens.

Besides the university, the other don’t-miss in the city is the Machado de Castro National Museum, which is a world-class art museum set in an old bishop’s palace. 

On the other side of the river, the Gothic ruins of the Convent of Santa Clara-a-Velha are worth a visit, as is the newer one, the Convent of Santa Clara-a-Nova. The new convent had to be built in 1649, as the old one was flooding too often. Nearby, the Portugal dos Pequeninos theme park offers miniature versions of many of Portugal’s most important buildings. Those following the tragic love story of Pedro and Inés will want to see the Quinta das Lágrimas, where Inés de Castro was cut down by assassins sent by the King of Portugal.

The Roman ruins of Conímbriga are not in Coimbra itself, but are not far away. If you’re staying in Coimbra, you may also want to day trip out to the town of Luso and the Palace of Buçaco there.

If you want to shop, just head down to the Baixa area, which is full of souvenir shops, cafes and restaurants.

By Christopher Minster
I am a writer and editor at V!VA Travel guides here in Quito, where I specialize in adding quality content to the site and also in spooky things like...
28 Sep 2007

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