"Coimbra is the Oxford or Cambridge of Portugal — the home of its most venerable university. It's also the country's easiest-to-enjoy city — a mini-Lisbon, with everything good about urban Portugal without the intensity of a big metropolis." —Rick Steves
Coimbra impressed as much as the larger, more well-known cities. The cream-colored buildings with red-tile roofs, all piled on a hill overlooking the Mondego River, compose an unforgettable scene.
It's a university town and therefore full of life. Our group enjoyed a tour of parts of the university and surrounding areas of the old city.
My strongest memories of Coimbra are these:
- Group meal with traditional Portuguese-style grilled chicken
- Post-dinner stroll through city with Pokéman Go–playing travel mates
- Steep hills and cobbled streets through a lovely pedestrian zone
- Spectacular views of city from University of Coimbra, the oldest university in Portugal
- The absolutely stunning tile work and painting in the Capela de São Miguel at the University of Coimbra
- The breathtaking interior of Igreja de Santa Cruz
- The history of Coimbra told in tile panels along Rua Olímpio Nicolau Rui Fernandes
- Optional tour of the Estrela de Conimbriga ceramics factory just outside Coimbra, where we got to learn about the process of making pottery, observe artists painting the pieces, and try our own hand at painting a tile
- Powerful fado performance at Fado ao Centro
Artists at the Estrela de Conimbriga ceramics factory need a steady hand. It was a treat to watch them at work and see the impressive results.
Click photos to enlarge.