Day 1 in Coimbra
Welcome to Coimbra! Upon arrival, you will go through customs and immigration. Should you opt to purchase a transfer to your hotel; a representative will be waiting for you as you exit immigration. Make your way to Coimbra and arrive at your hotel. Check in and do not give in to jet lag! There is so much for you to see and do!
Start your sightseeing at the Praca do Comercio, the epicenter of all things retail and social in Coimbra. Visit the thirteenth-century Romanesque Igreja de Sao Tiago, and afterwards, take a walk through the Porta de Almedina and enter the medieval city limits of Coimbra (once called Aeminium by the Romans). Check out the nearby Torre de Anto, once part of the city walls, if you are interested in learning more about these relics as they stood in their Middle Ages heyday. Stroll the winding, hilly streets until you get to A Capella, where you can experience the art form that is Coimbra-style fado music. (Different from Lisbon`s!)
Day 2 in Coimbra
Start your sightseeing today at the Igreja da Graca, owned by the University of Coimbra. The Igreja de Santa Cruz is nationally significant as one of the three buildings that make up `Portugal`s National Pantheon`: Kings Afonso I and Sancho I are buried here. Outside is the Jardim da Manga, the garden, cloister and fountains that were designed with Jan van Eyck`s `Fons Vitae` in mind. Coimbra`s two cathedrals, `Old` (Se Velha) and `New` (Se Nova), are nearby; they are built in the Romanesque and Mannerist styles, respectively, and the architectural styles are unique when compared to the building facades in the rest of the city.
Make your way to the University of Coimbra campus and learn about the local ecosystem at the Museu da Ciencia. In the University`s main square, there are a number of sights to see that prove its worth as one of the Iberian Peninsula`s most esteemed universities: the Baroque Joanine Library and the Via Latina (which once served as the Portuguese royal palace). End your day strolling through the pavilions at the 32-acre Jardim Botanico, also owned by the University of Coimbra.
Day 3 in Coimbra
Begin your day by viewing artifacts from Coimbra`s rich religious history at the Museu Nacional Machado de Castro, named after Coimbra`s famous sculptor Joaquim Machado de Castro. Experience life in miniature -- not just in Portugal, but across all of the Lusophone nations -- at the theme park Portugal dos Pequenitos. The strong currents of the River Mondego were no match for the Mosteiro de Santa-Clara-a-Velha, which was long abandoned before it was renovated and opened to the public as a museum. Take a look around the old monastery and the `new` one, Mosteiro de Santa-Clara-a-Nova, which opened shortly after the first monastery`s demise and has served the community ever since 1696. Finally, take the time to visit the old manor estate called Quinta das Lagrimas and the spring Fonte dos Amores, both colored by tales of lost love and a crime of passion.
Additional Days in Coimbra
Just ten miles outside of Coimbra lie the remains of the Roman settlement of Conimbriga. Conimbriga, a walled settlement encircled by a nearly mile-long stretch of fortifications, included a forum, a basilica, aqueducts, shops, and homes of various sizes. It was built between the second century before the Common Era and the first century of said era. Excavations uncovering the settlement`s buildings began in 1899 and have continued since then. It is the most-preserved Roman settlement in Portugal today.
Approximately 25 miles west of Coimbra is the beach town of Figueira da Foz. It`s the second-largest city in this specific region of Portugal, outdone only by Coimbra itself. If you`re looking for lots of fun without trekking too far, Figueira (as the locals call it) offers plenty of options, from B&Bs to luxury hotels, from beach getaways to gambling all night in the luxury Casino Figueira. Attractions in town include the Sotto Mayor Palace and the Relogio (Clock) Tower, the latter located right near the main tourist beach.
For those of you who love the mountains, you will adore the Serra da Estrela mountain range. Located just 75 miles east of Coimbra, the Serra da Estrela is the highest mountain range in the country. There you can see Torre, Portugal`s highest point at over 6,500 feet above sea level. The rugged, independent traveler among us will love the diverse scenery, crystal clear lakes, beautiful snow-capped hilltops and Portugal`s only luxury ski resort (Vodafone Ski Resort, in Seia).
Your Last Day in Coimbra
Depart your hotel and head to the airport for your return home. We recommend that you purchase a private transfer; if so, a representative will meet you at the hotel in time to take you to the airport for your flight out.