Culture

History and towns

History

The nearby Roman ruins and amphitheatre of Bobadela are worth a visit. They date from 13th  century A.D.. There is a big Roman settlement near Conimbriga, 16 kilometres south-west of Coimbra. It is without question the most important Roman site in Portugal..

Towns worth visiting:

The towns of Viseu en Coimbra

Viseu, sometimes called ‘the town of the green pine-trees’, is a  picturesque medieval  town high up on a plateau between Caramulo and the Serra da Estrella. Widely praised as the gastronomic capital of the area and also renowned for its Dão wine.

The Sé  (cathedral) from the 13th century lies on top of the Roman ramparts. Like in many Portuguese medieval towns, the historic centre is a maze of small streets including houses of the former nobility and branching out from the cathedral square, the highest point in town.

 

The university town Coimbra 

At present, Coimbra is the 4th  town in Portugal. It is built on terraces on the east bank of the river Rio Mondego The university is an important sight and students dominate often wearing a black cape (gowns). The university is located in the old  Moorish stronghold.
After the Reconquista, the recapturing of Spain and Portugal from the Moors, it became a royal palace. The double entrance gate, Porta Ferrea, leads to a rectangular court yard, the Pátio das Esculas, where the initiations of freshmen used to take place.  On the right is the clock tower, the Torre da Cabra (cabra means ‘goat’). When chimed, the sound resembles that of a goat. It awakens students at  7 a.m.   The Biblioteca Velha, is a marvellous building, with beautiful, painted ceilings and impressive bookcases The walls are decorated with gold leaf and the floors are marble. The library still has thousands of books and scripts dating from the Middle Ages, for example a parchment Bible from the 13th century.
There are various shopping options to choose from. At the Forum and Dolce Vita are a number of modern shopping chains and the town has ample free parking places.

On the website Visit Portugal, you can find out more about Coimbra and its places of interests.

Markets and regional products

Markets are an experience in Portugal. They have an important social function as meeting place, and of course food and drink are an integral part of it! Huge spits with chicken piri piri are ready, so that everyone can sit at the table and enjoy a meal with family and friends! The cheese from the Serra da Estrela  is well-known and delicious.

We have a list of local markets. Various religious festivities are also worth a visit.

Museums

Museums worth visiting: :

The Bread Museum in Seia, gives a nice, interactive overview of the history and production of bread. It also hosts a good restaurant. (text only in Portugese, but it’s an nice interactive site).

In the Gräo Vasco museum in Viseu works from Renaissance painters are on display.