When in Portugal, visit Coimbra, one of the most important cities in Europe due to its rich history. Known as the Academic City, Coimbra is always a flower ready to bloom and to be admired. This year make sure you visit Coimbra with someone special.
First, here’s what you need to know:
For the Portuguese, the first thing that comes to our minds when we talk about Coimbra is only one story: the love story between King Pedro I and Inês de Castro, who was the lover of the King. Inês was a Galician noblewoman who fell in love with the King, who at that time had a wife. However, and as times were different, the father of Pedro I, King Afonso IV, did not really appreciate this extramarital affair and ordered his henchmen to kill Inês in front of her child.
In Quinta das Lágrimas it’s possible to see red stones that represent her blood in “Fonte dos Amores”, and Lágrimas (tears) represent the tears of those who cried for her. Inês de Castro was declared Queen after her death.
This tragic story has originated great pieces of art, such as paintings, music, literature and sculpture.
Quinta das Lágrimas
Quinta das Lágrimas was in time the witness of the love between Prince Pedro and Inês de Castro and it’s still possible to really feel the love in the air. Probably the most romantic place in Portugal and where all the Portuguese couples have been at least once, Quinta das Lágrimas has a story behind. At first, it was constructed for the royalty and wealthy members of society but today is a vast park of dense trees and trails with enough spots to enjoy Nature at its best.
The Old University
This University is not only the oldest in Portugal as it is also the oldest in the world. Built in 1290, this same University started to work in Lisbon, but in 1308 was transferred to Coimbra, being only settled in the city in 1537. The University is highly connected to intellectuals devoted to all kinds of sciences, it’s part of the Portuguese culture and it’s also important in politics. If you study here, you’ll be recognised.
Monastery of Santa Cruz
Situated in the heart of Coimbra, this church is a National Monument built between 1132 and 1223. The first time you see this Monastery its portal might amaze you, because it is so impressive and magnificent. Those who love History are definitely going to be absorbed by this monument with its Manueline renaissance ornaments. Beautiful and grandiose are two words that immediately define the Monastery of Santa Cruz. It is also curious to say that our first king - King Afonso Henriques - is buried here.
Mondego River Cruise
Coimbra is full of fantastic monuments, but taking a cruise in the river is also worthwhile to make your stay even more complete and enjoyable. This boat trip will allow you to see some of the most interesting spots of Coimbra, such as the Santa Clara and Rainha Santa Isabel bridges, the Açude Bridge, the Concert Park, Lapa dos Esteios, which is a nice garden near the river, and Quinta das Varandas.
Monastery of Santa-Clara-a-Velha
Proceeding with our visit to this medieval city, don’t forget this wonderful church. Directly linked to Queen Santa Isabel, this monument was replaced by another Monastery by King João IV due to the floods from the waters of Mondego river, which made living in this Monastery no longer possible. Today it is possible to visit the interior of the monument after 17 long and intense years of reconstruction.
The Botanical Garden
It doesn’t matter how much you know about flora and fauna, but this garden is worth a visit, especially with kids. This garden of more than 13 ha belongs to the University of Coimbra and it includes varied vegetation from the four corners of the world. When you come to this Garden make sure you have enough space either in your phone or camera because a thousand pictures will taken. Besides, this Garden promotes cultural and civic activities so that people can learn more about the preservation of Nature and how to appreciate it.
Portugal for the Little Ones
Or Portugal dos Pequenitos, as we say here, is probably that place where we have all already been, which was a project started in 1940 by doctor Byssaia Barreto – a Professor at the Faculty of Medicine in Coimbra. Full of fantasies, this place is quite interesting for those who want to have their children having fun while they learn about the History of the country at the same time. And how do kids learn here? This place has houses that were built to their own size, which means they can get in and out as much as they like and we promise you they’ve never seen anything similar.
Coimbra is different, monumental and medieval and these are all good reasons for you to plan your next trip to Coimbra, a famed place in Portugal with different meanings and full of enchantments. You can discover this marvellous city with our group tour, or you can have a private experience, discover the most incredible treasures of this charming land.