"Coimbra" Top 5 Page for this destination Coimbra by acemj

Coimbra Travel Guide: 305 reviews and 732 photos

Rustic Charm

I cannot lie. Coimbra was a slight disappointment, but not because it wasn't a charming place. The sight of the city rising above the Rio Mondego is worth going out of your way for all by itself. Charming streets wind up toward the Old University, which tops the hill like a worn and rusted crown. Amazing azulejos cover the walls and elderly people stroll deliberately, smiling as they walk as if each step were adding to their wisdom.

I was disappointed because I wasn't expecting charm. I wasn't looking for quaint lanes and hearty food. My friend Andrew and I came to Coimbra looking for some youthful energy. Intentionally arriving on a Saturday, we expected to go out late and find a sleepless city full of students dancing, debating world affairs and drinking late into the night, but we hardly saw any students at all. Instead, Coimbra extended her hand and welcomed us with a courteous smile. She treated us well, offered up a silent night and left us well rested when we left. Thank you Coimbra, but next time turn the music up, fill up the bar and tell us we can sleep when we go home!!

  • Last visit to Coimbra: Feb 2003
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (37)

Comments (25)

  • ajrsoaresdemello's Profile Photo
    May 16, 2014 at 10:59 AM

    Sorry, acejm you have been misinformed going to Coimbra expecting excitement and high life.

    Coimbra is exactly as you described it. That how we all love Coimbra and want it to be like that forever.

    The greatest excitement you'll get there is the silly and funny hoaxes older students play on new ones. No really glamourous night life with modern music and dancing galore. Gossip can also be on occasion very daring...Warn you friends. Place for cultivated, kind, corteous life not high jinx.

  • Vulindlela's Profile Photo
    Mar 26, 2007 at 6:34 PM

    Well written! Thank you for the great tips.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jul 14, 2005 at 12:07 AM

    This was over 2 years ago, so by now I'm sure you've gotten reconciled to digital photography (the best invention since crunchy peanut butter in my opinion). My visit to Coimbra was on a bicycle tour of Spain and Portugal, quite a few years ago.

  • bambino36's Profile Photo
    Sep 9, 2004 at 9:31 AM

    you must go during the student festivities in May "Queima das Fitas"... this year they beat a world record... more beer drank in the less period of time... Cheers

  • Nelson1979's Profile Photo
    Jun 10, 2004 at 7:35 AM

    Did u go in summer ? I studies there (erasmus) from september to februari and nightlife was great, especially Via Latina. Maybe you went on a day that they had holidays because it's a vibrant city !

  • Henrik_rrb's Profile Photo
    May 13, 2004 at 5:20 PM

    Great page, Mark! Now I know more about Coimbra for the Euro2004-trip! Hopefully the students aren't sent home for the summer though... ;-) Did you have trouble to enter the old library? I've heard you might have to stand in the line for hours...?

  • Procaccini's Profile Photo
    Dec 6, 2003 at 5:06 AM

    Thanks Mark! Fatima is an undefinible place for me: the Virgin Mary always helps me to understand everything!!!!! ciao from Italy! :-)))))))))

  • ncfg's Profile Photo
    Dec 5, 2003 at 3:39 PM

    At the weekends students usually returns to their homes, so the student nights are during the week. Bad luck you had, I am sure you would love that student environment. Great page!

  • Leipzig's Profile Photo
    Sep 28, 2003 at 2:37 AM

    Coimbra looks like a charming old town. I think I would like this town more than you - I do not need to party on my holidays. Great page, anyway!

  • tessy's Profile Photo
    Sep 27, 2003 at 3:36 PM

    Wow, great page, great differences: the student's places, the old women, the clean birds, the narrow streets, ....


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