This short English version has been translated by Cody Hanson*
Coimbra is a beautiful city and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has a great architectural heritage. Perhaps for this reason Coimbra is not as modern or accessible as some visitors would expect. The city’s relative isolation is part of its charm.
These page will help you navigate the city. Once you arrive you will also find several Tourist Information Centers, such as the one found in the University’s General Library. In Portugal many people understand and speak English.
There are several museums in the city, with two of them located on campus. The National Museum Machado de Castro (Museu Nacional Machado de Castro, image to the left) is worth visiting simply because of its architecture and ancient construction, including the cryptoportico from the Roman Period. We also recommend visiting the small Museum of Science.
Coimbra is a city full of old and important religious buildings. You may enter most free of charge, such as the Santa Cruz Church (image to the right). San Batolomé Church (image to the left) and Santiago Church are also worth visiting.
A few of the churches and cathedrals charge a small entrance fee of one or two Euros, such as the Shé Velha (the Old Cathedral, image to the right). We recommend visiting the old Santa Clara The Oldest monastery (Mosteiro de Santa Clara-a-Velha).
The Joanina Library (Biblioteca Joanina) dates from the 18th Century and is one of the jewels of the city. It is known the world over and is popular because at night bats roam the library feeding on insects. You may request to see specific volumes in the library’s collection, but must submit a request 24 hours beforehand (image to the left).
Coimbra also has many important historical gardens. The Botanical Garden (Jardím Botánico) and the Sereira Garden (Jardím da Sereia) have no entrance fee. The Manga Garden (Jardím da Manga) is behind the Santa Cruz Church.
The Inquisition Patio (Patio da Inquisição) is also an interesting place to visit near the center of the city and is rarely explored by tourists.
The Quinta das Lágrimas is a beautiful place to visit, though it is further away. The Portugal dos Pequenitos, is also interesting to visit, especially with children.
THE COLLEGE OF ARTS (FACULDADE DE LETRAS)
Buses 3, 28 and 34 arrive at the University campus. Ask your hotel which bus is best for you. In any case, Coimbra is a small city and so it is easy and enjoyable to walk. At times walking is faster than the bus.
These buses arrive next to the College of Arts (Facultade de Letras, mage to the left). The floors of the building are strangely numbered. The ground-level floor is the fourth floor since the numbering begins with the lowest floor, which in this case is in the basement. There are three floors below ground and so the ground-level floor is the fourth floor.
Photocopies and printing can be done on the 2nd floor for 3 cents a page. There are computers with Internet on the 6th floor and you may print for 5 cents a page.
The University campus is plenty of historical buildings, as Museum of Sciences (image to the left) or the New Cathedral (image to the right).
* This Short English Version had been traslated by Cody Hanson, based on Leonor Zozaya’s Spanish version of the texts. Cody Hanson (Ph.D) is Assistant Professor of Spanish, Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics at Indiana State University.