Coimbra travel guide
Coimbra, University City of culture, history and beauty, its story goes back to pre-Roman times. Once the capital of the Kingdom of Portugal, it was the setting for a most dramatic love story: a forbidden love between a future King, Pedro I, and a lady in waiting, Inês de Castro. Now, however, it is better known for its broad avenues, fine architecture and wonderful regional cuisine.
Overlooking Coimbra, houses seem to be suspended on the hillside climbing towards the ancient Royal Palace - the building that holds the city’s acclaimed University. The Mondego River reflects Coimbra’s magnificence in its calm waters. The riverbank is delineated by a wide avenue, perfect for a calm walk in the company of the green trees that provide shade for the sunny hours. The clock tower at the top of the hill marks the hours of everyday, the most special one being during sunset when a copper light illuminates the city’s walls.
Coimbra is a city where memories are left behind by every student that has passed through the doors of the city’s fascinating University. Long black capes, worn by the more traditional University students, bustle through the cobbled streets; rushing to the closest cosy restaurant or to their next lecture. Coimbra combines tradition with a multi-cultural environment. Unity and empathy is felt here with the student’s customs. It won’t be rare for you to come across large groups of young students, trying to make the best out of their university years through songs and music. The most famous are the “Tunas”, or Academic singers, which gather together to sing. Coimbra, though, is noted for its particular form of Fado, sung by male current students and alumni that reminisce about their academic experiences. The most famous and revolutionary fadista from Coimbra was Zeca Afonso, remembered for his poems and lyrics against the Portuguese dictatorship.
Coimbra offers one of Europe’s most enriching experiences. This is a place where history, tradition and culture are visible in people’s lives and smiles. Your visit to Coimbra will certainly leave a print in the city’s story. “Coimbra is more charming at the time of farewell...” is the way the most well-known Fado song of Coimbra describes the most unforgettable moment of this city, when all memories and feelings shared and lived here culminate into that single moment when you are leaving a place that is extraordinary for its unique existence: It will surely leave its impression on you!
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