Fodor's Expert Review Universidade de Coimbra

Coimbra Educational Institution Fodor's Choice

Portugal's oldest university—one of the most august academic institutions in Europe—was founded in Lisbon in 1290. It dominates the city both physically (taking up most of the center of the old town) and in terms of numbers (with well over 20,000 students). Built in 1634 as a triumphal arch, the Porta Férrea marks the entrance to the main courtyard and is adorned with statues of Kings Dinis and João III. Walk to the far end of the courtyard for breathtaking panoramic views of the Mondego River. The 18th-century clock-and-bell tower, rising above the courtyard, is one of Coimbra's most famous landmarks. The bell, which summons students to class and in centuries past signaled a dusk-to-dawn curfew, is derisively called the cabra (she-goat; an insulting term used to express the students' dismay at being confined to quarters).

In the courtyard's southwestern corner is a building with four huge columns framing massive wooden doors. Behind them is one of the world's most... READ MORE

Portugal's oldest university—one of the most august academic institutions in Europe—was founded in Lisbon in 1290. It dominates the city both physically (taking up most of the center of the old town) and in terms of numbers (with well over 20,000 students). Built in 1634 as a triumphal arch, the Porta Férrea marks the entrance to the main courtyard and is adorned with statues of Kings Dinis and João III. Walk to the far end of the courtyard for breathtaking panoramic views of the Mondego River. The 18th-century clock-and-bell tower, rising above the courtyard, is one of Coimbra's most famous landmarks. The bell, which summons students to class and in centuries past signaled a dusk-to-dawn curfew, is derisively called the cabra (she-goat; an insulting term used to express the students' dismay at being confined to quarters).

In the courtyard's southwestern corner is a building with four huge columns framing massive wooden doors. Behind them is one of the world's most beautiful libraries, the baroque Biblioteca Joanina. Constructed in the early 18th century, it has three dazzling book-lined halls and stunning trompe-l'oeil decorative features. Knock to gain entrance to the nearby Capela de São Miguel, where you'll discover the chapel's glorious tiled interior, baroque organ, and rococo side altars in hues of gold and duck-egg blue. There are a set number of daily tickets for the Biblioteca Joanina, so collect your combined ticket early to avoid missing the jewel in the university's crown.

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Educational Institution Fodor's Choice

Quick Facts

Largo da Porta Férrea
Coimbra, Coimbra  3000-373, Portugal

-239 242 744

visit.uc.pt/turismo

Sight Details:
Rate Includes: €12.50 (includes all university buildings)

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