Home to Portugal’s oldest university, and one of the oldest in Europe, Coimbra still preserves its age-old academic traditions in the black gowns worn by the students.
Standing on the hill overlooking the city is the university with its famous library known as the Biblioteca Joanina. Commissioned by the King Dom João V (1706-50), it shows just how much importance that royalty gave to knowledge. Next to the library is the Capela de São Miguel, with its impressive baroque organ, which is also well worth a visit.
But the works commissioned by Dom João V also enriched other monuments that should not be missed, such as the Sé Nova (the so-called ‘new cathedral’), the Igreja de Santa Cruz (the church where you will find the tomb of the first king of Portugal, Dom Afonso Henriques) and the Convento de Santa Clara-a-Nova.
As the day draws to a close, we suggest that you visit the bar called ‘àCapella’ which is housed in an old 14th-century chapel. Take a seat and listen to people singing the Fado of Coimbra, while enjoying a view of the night-life in downtown Coimbra.