A Short Stop In Coimbra

Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

Travelling to Coimbra

We had enjoyed a few days in the Douro River Valley. This was our country escape. On our way back to Lisbon, we had two stops planned. The first was a short stop in Coimbra. We then visited Obidos.

It was a grey transit day to Coimbra. We headed up into the mountains before coming back down to the sea. We opted to take the highway most of the way. The road tolls were adding up on this 4 week Portugal trip. But we avoided the small towns and delays from weather. When we saw the “fog” and “snow” signs, it was a sure sign that we were climbing high. We were happy to not be travelling in the winter.

Travelling to Coimbra - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

Travelling to Coimbra - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

Travelling to Coimbra - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

Travelling to Coimbra - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

University Town

Hotel Oslo was located close the river and the train station. We had originally planned to travel by train. It would have been a quick transit to the hotel.

Train Station - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

Train Station - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

Coimbra is known for its university. The campus sat high on the hill over Coimbra. Everywhere we walked in Coimbra, the university was always visible. Narrow streets ran up to the university.

Coimbra University on the Hill - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

Coimbra University on the Hill - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

Coimbra University on the Hill - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

Coimbra University on the Hill - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

When we sat on our rooftop patio, we could look out at the university as dusk turned to night.

Coimbra University on the Hill at Night - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

Coimbra University on the Hill at Night - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

We arrived in Coimbra unknowingly on graduation weekend. The town was full of proud parents and grads dressed in their black gowns. This would not be the visit for us to walk around the university.

Coimbra University Grad - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

Wandering Around the Old Town

From the hotel, it was a short walk to the downtown area. Small narrow cobblestone streets led to an open court. On the last Saturday of the month there was a large flea market in the square. Every manner of used goods was on display.

Walk in Old Town - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

Walk in Old Town - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

In the square we found pastry shops, gelato and great seafood for lunch. There were stores selling products made of cork. It was amazing what could be made from cork. There were stores that looked like only locals might visit and a large number of souvenir shops.

Walk in Old Town - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

Eat in Old Town - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

Pastelaria Briosa Eat in Old Town - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

Pastelaria Briosa Eat in Old Town - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

Pastelaria Briosa Eat in Old Town - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

There were a lot of interesting buildings to see as we walked about the old town. It was quite an eclectic mix of artistic styles. But after the artistic buildings we saw when we explored Porto, nothing quite was as grand or interesting.

Artist Buildings in Old Town - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

Artist Buildings in Old Town - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

Artist Buildings in Old Town - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

We like to get different perspectives of new cities. In Lisbon, we found several way to get high for a great view. We headed high in Coimbra to get good panoramic views.

River Views From High - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

River Views From High - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

We strolled along the riverfront and got good views of Coimbra and Santa Clara on the other side of the river. From the bridge we could see the fountain and the suspension bridge in the distance. When we looked back, we could see the colourful downtown area.

River Views From Bridge - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

City Views From Bridge - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

We caught the artistic Hotel Astoria and the Bank of Portugal from multiple angles as we walked in town or crossed the river. The main town square provided the a green space with benches, statues and the roosting pigeons.

Hotel Astoria and Portugal Bank - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

Hotel Astoria and Portugal Bank - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

Hotel Astoria and Portugal Bank Town Square - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

Statue in Town Square - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

Statue in Town Square - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

Statue in Town Square - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

Dinner And A View

We had dinner one night in a small restaurant high up the narrow streets. There was a great view out over the river.

Governo Civil Restaurant - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

Governo Civil Restaurant View - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

We ordered our standard dinner – octopus for me and seafood risotto for David. We were not disappointed. Dinner was delicious. I ate so much octopus in Portugal that I was concerned that I would start growing additional arms!

Governo Civil Restaurant Octopus - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

Old and New Churches

When we asked our hotel concierge what we should see in Coimbra, he circled a number of churches on the map. Some were old and some were new. We saw the outside of quite a few on our short stop in Coimbra. But we had seen so many awesome churches in Porto, that we really were not up to exploring more in detail in Coimbra.

There was the old gothic looking Sao Tiago Church in the main square. We went past this church several times but never did find it open. David also found a very old church decorated on the outside with amazing detailed sculptures when he went wandering one morning in search of pastries.

S. Tiago Church - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

Old Church - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

When we walked across the river, we could see the Rainha Santa Isabel Church high on the hill.

Rainha Santa Isabel Church - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

Rainha Santa Isabel Church - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

The Santa Clara Monastery was also across the river. This monastery was abandoned when the river encroached on it. But it has been dug out and was being restored.

Santa Clara Monastery - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

Santa Clara Monastery - A Short Stop In Coimbra.jpg

Seeing the History of Portugal in Miniature

Located across the river we found Portugal do Pequenitos. We thought the concierge called this the place to see miniature statues of Portugal. But the name really means “Portugal For Little Ones”. It was designed to entertain and educate children about the history of Portuguese exploration and the cities and monuments in the country. But we found this miniature view of Portugal to be a great place to spend a few hours.

Tiny Buildings - Portugal Dos Pequenitos - Short Stay in Coimbra.jpg

Regional Buildings - Portugal Dos Pequenitos - Short Stay in Coimbra.jpg

Town Replicas - Portugal Dos Pequenitos - Short Stay in Coimbra.jpg

Town Replicas - Portugal Dos Pequenitos - Short Stay in Coimbra.jpg

As we explored Portugal do Pequenitos, we found a section that was a miniature view of Coimbra. We quickly realized that there was so much more to see in Coimbra.

Coimbra Replica - Portugal Dos Pequenitos - Short Stay in Coimbra.jpg

A Short Stop In Coimbra

We enjoyed our short stop in Coimbra. It was meant as a waypoint on our travel from the Douro River Valley down to Lisbon. But it was nice to walk the small streets of this town. There was great food wherever we ate. We would have liked to have wandered around the university. It is one of the main universities in Portugal and was supposed to be beautiful. I would have liked to see the library. But it was a reminder that we were often not very good at looking at what is happening in a town when we plan our itinerary.

We were off to our next stop in Obidos. We had 3 days to enjoy this walled city. David had been waiting for this visit since we arrived in Portugal. Obidos was known for the cherry liqueur Ginja served in chocolate cups. We did however miss the chocolate festival in Obidos!

Have you done a short stop in Coimbra? What did you find was your most interesting discovery?

About TravelAtWill 353 Articles

Travel blogger and photographer! Scuba diving, luxury cruising, chocoholic, sea and sunshine addicts, camera attached and just generally curious! Join us on our adventures!

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