|Private tours in Lisbon & surroundings||
Travel northwards and stop at Conimbriga. This was a Roman city which gave the name to Coimbra. They are
among the best roman ruins in the Iberian Peninsula and in its remains you can trace the life of the Romans.
The city's walls are largely intact, and the mosaic floors and foundations of many houses and public buildings
remain. In the baths you can view the network of stone heating ducts beneath the now-missing floors. There
are ruins of temples, a forum, patrician houses, water conduits, and drains.
Before we reach Coimbra, we stop in the south bank of Mondego river, near Saint Clara convent, at the top
of the Hill, for a marvellous view of the city.
Famous for its university, ceramics and fado music, Coimbra is a quaint town offering winding cobblestone
alleys, commercial plazas and hilltop views overlooking the Rio Mondego. Coimbra, a wonderful mix of centuries
of culture, is one of Portugal's major historic capitals and is divided in the upper part – the Episcopal and
University section - and lower part near the river - the shopping district. From the more modern lower town on
the right bank of the Mondego steep lanes climb to the upper town, with the extensive buildings of the
University, on a hill 100m above the river. This University, rich in history and said to be the oldest seat of
learning in Portugal, was founded in the XIII century. Among the most visited places are the Pátio das Escolas
(the main courtyard), the Biblioteca Joanina (library built in the XVIII century, housing books from the 16th to
the 18th century), the Sala dos Capelos (The Grand Hall), the University’s Chapel and the Botanic Garden. We
must take a look at the library, known as one of the most sumptuous university libraries of Europe and a
masterpiece of the Baroque period. The terrace near the Patio das Escolas overlooks the river Mondego and an
Among many other historic buildings worth a visit we have:
- the two cathedrals - namely the Romanesque Sé Velha (imposing, castle-like structure, one of the most important Romanesque Roman
Catholic buildings in Portugal) and the new cathedral (Se Nova from the XVI century).
- the 12th-century Almedina Arch (just off of Rua Ferreira Borges, the gateway to the Upper town).
- the historic Church of Santa Cruz (where the two first Portuguese kings are buried, being the most important monastic house during the
first times of the Portuguese monarchy).
- the Museu Nacional Machado de Castro (across from Sé Nova, housing sculptures from the 14th and 16th centuries, tapestries, Roman
artifacts and other treasures).
Cafes on Largo da Portagem near Avenida Emídio Navarro overlook a grassy area with flowerbeds and offer a place to watch locals. Or,
feel the rapture as you sip your coffee beneath the solemn looking Igreja Santiago on Praça do Comercio. Many of the restaurants along
the main plazas also offer outdoor seating as well as full menus.
You may wish to stop for lunch and your tour guide will point out a good restaurant. Coimbra is known for its love of pork. Some of its
most regional dishes include 'leitao' (roast suckling pig), 'feijoada' (a bean stew including chouriço, sausage and paprika), and pork knuckle.
In Coimbra the 'Chanfana', is popular throughout the university town. This is a casserole of kid or lamb mean stewed in red wine. The local
cakes, called Santa Claras (delicious cream-filled pastries) are also a local delicacy. Coimbra is centred between the famous Dao and Bairrada
wine regions in Portugal. The Bairrada region had been the home to Portugal's best red table wines.
Coimbra's historic center is full of ancient alleyways. But to feel the atmosphere, the best route is to stroll along the Rua Ferreira Borges/Rua
Visconde da Luz, Coimbra's main shopping street. Shops, galleries, and cafes line Coimbra's streets, including an assortment of bars and wine
taverns catering to the student population of the city. The Arco de Almedina just off of Rua Ferreira Borges is the gateway to the Upper
Once you pass through Almedina arch the cobblestones rise to meet you on a consistent upward stretch. About half way up the hill you’ll
meet up with the Quebra Costas (Backbreaker) stairs. Stop a moment to rest before you puff your way onward and upward. The city is best
known for its hand painted ceramics replicating styles from 15th-18th centuries. The best selection is on Rua da Velha, between the Arco de
Almedina and the top of the Backbreaker Stairs.
On the way back to Lisbon, you may wish to halt at Fatima for a comfort stop.
|...This city holds a special place in the hearts of all the Portuguese. Rich in its history and is the oldest seat|
of learning in Portugal with a University founded in 1290 by King Dinis, one of the oldest in the world. Six of
Portugal’s Kings were born here and between 1139 and 1256 it was the chosen capital of the country. Old
Coimbra sits on a hill on the right bank of the River Mondego, with the university crowding its summit.
Centuries of history lie under a fine mantle of huddled white washed houses, intersected by endless winding
streets, steps, arches and lanes which decorate this beautiful, centuries-old Upper Coimbra.The city has a few
archeological remains of ruins dating from the time it was a Roman town called Aeminium. With a dense urban
grid the city of Coimbra is famous for its monuments, churches, libraries, museums, numerous parks, gardens,
nightlife, health-care and shopping facilities, but above all for its University, which made Coimbra develop into
an important cultural centre and has notable monuments from that era and beyond. Due to its monumental
buildings and history, attracts tourists from around the world...