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Coimbra is a city  with a population of around 430,000 and held the status of capital city of Portugal from 1139 to around 1260. The University of Coimbra sits at it's cultural centre and was founded in 1290. The university is one of the cities main attractions as one of the oldest institutions of its kind in Europe, attracting tourists from around the world.

Coimbra University Tower

University of Coimbra


Coimbra is located in central Portugal approximately 120 km south of Porto and 195 km north of Lisbon. Coimbra is conveniently located near the A1, one of the main motorways running north to south through Portugal. Situated on the banks of the Mondego River, which flows 40 km west to the Atlantic Ocean and the coastal city of Figueira da Foz.

As a previous capital of Portugal and now the central region, Coimbra has high cultural importance and is famous for its monuments, churches, museums, healthcare and shopping facilities.

History and landmarks

Coimbra was occupied by the Moors around the year 711 and turned into Portugal's capital during the 12th century by the first Portuguese King, Afonso Henriques, a status the city would keep until 1255. Many of the important monuments seen today date from this early period, including the Old Cathedral, Church of St. James, Santa Cruz Monastery and the University of Coimbra, which was founded by King Dinis I and transferred to the premises of Coimbra Castle in 1537.


Positioned by the A1 from Porto in the north and Lisbon in the south, Coimbra is conveniently positioned with white sandy beaches and costal facilities only 40km to the west. Rail links come into the city and serve it's two main rail stations. Coimbra-B is situated on the main line between Porto and Lisbon, where a small spur links to Coimbra-A, in the city centre. There is also an extensive bus network, the SMTUC and taxicabs can also be a relatively cheap alternative.


There is a wide variety of accommodation available, ranging from the camping and hostels to the charming B&B's and downtown hotels.


Temperatures range from 7.2 C (45 F) to 27.95 C (82 F).

Coimbra street market

Shopping and antique markets in Coimbra

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