Most visitors to Portugal will visit Lisbon, the country’s capital. But if you want to visit the first capital of Portugal and the birthplace of its first two kings, then you’ll have to take a scenic 2 hour drive north of Lisbon to the enchanting city of Coimbra.
A day trip to Coimbra is a perfect way to learn about the history of the country’s founding and to explore a beautifully preserved medieval city that has played a significant role in the country’s history. Portugal’s fourth largest city has deep historical and cultural roots that date back to Roman times. It is also well known for its university, which was established in 1290 and is one of the oldest universities in the world. The University of Coimbra sits on a hilltop in the old town, and it is here that you will find the historic buildings of the university, along with a number of churches and cathedrals that date back to the 12th C.
Your guide/driver will pick you up at your hotel to begin your 8 hour private tour. In Coimbra you will explore the historic old town of Coimbra, located in the upper part of town, and the lower “Baixa” area located alongside the river, which is the commercial hub of this vibrant city.
If you are traveling with children you may want to include a visit to Portugal dos Pequenitos (Portugal of the Little Ones), a popular theme park for children. Built in 1940, the park recreates in miniatures Portugal’s most important national monuments, along with typical houses and buildings from former colonies. There is a dress museum that features miniature outfits from Portuguese everyday life throughout the centuries, as well as a Barbie museum with over 300 dolls.
On the way back to Lisbon you can stop to visit the ancient Roman city of Conímbriga. The ruins at this archaeological site are the best preserved Roman ruins in Portugal, with city walls, mosaic floors and building foundations that are still intact.
A suggested itinerary for the tour in Coimbra includes the following stops/visits:
- The historic buildings of the university, including the Chapel of São Miguel and the incomparable Baroque library, Biblioteca Joanina, with over 200,000 volumes dating from the 15th to 18th centuries
- The 12th C. Sé Velha (Old Cathedral) and the 17th C. Sé Nova (New Cathedral)
- The Monastery of Santa Cruz, which houses the tombs of Portugal’s first two kings
- Explore the ruins of the 13th C. Convent of Santa Clara-a-Velha
- Visit Portugal dos Pequenitos (Portugal of the Little Ones) theme park (optional)
- Visit the Roman ruins of Conímbriga, located about 20 minutes south of Coimbra (optional)
The tour can be customized to meet your specific interests. You will have time during the day to stop for lunch.
2018 Prices and other info:
Tour price for 1-3 People in a Sedan
- US $605 – Daily (start time from 9:30am to 3:00pm)
Tour price for 4-7 People in a Minivan
- US $855 – Daily (start time from 9:30am to 3:00pm)
- Price includes a tour with a licensed guide/driver with transportation for 8 hours
- Price does not include meals or entrance fees (if any), which are extra
- Vehicles are insured, as required by Portuguese law
- Common languages available: English, Spanish, French, Italian and German
- Gratuities are not included and are at the discretion of the client
- Prices are subject to change
Note: Guide/driver is not authorized to conduct tours inside of monuments or museums.
For more information and reservations, contact us.
Photo credit: © Christopher Pappas · All rights reserved. Photo of University of Coimbra.
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